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The dangers of testosterone abuse

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the testicles. Testosterone helps maintain men’s Bone density, Fat distribution, Muscle strength and mass, Facial and body hair, Red blood cell production, Sex drive, Sperm production.

Dr. Raman Tanwar, MCH Urology, senior Andrologist and secretary general of the Men’s Health Society of India when asked about the problem, told BFH, “A recent trend that I have observed is that patients are being given testosterone by their doctors if they are suffering from erectile dysfunction and demand quick results. Patients are given these injections because they show low testosterone levels but a major reason for this is that patients are not able to take testosterone level test in the morning due to a busy schedule and thus they take it in the evening and because of this their levels show up low on the test.”

Risk of taking testosterone externally

Testosterone therapy has various risks, including: worsening sleep apnea – a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts causing acne or other skin reactions. Stimulating noncancerous growth of the prostate and growth of existing prostate cancer.

“When a person with normal testosterone levels is given an injection, luteinizing hormone signals the brain of the surplus amount of testosterone in the body as a result the luteinizing hormone (which is responsible for making the leydig cells in the testes produce testosterone) stops producing it. With prolonged exposure to external testosterone the luteinizing hormone stops producing testosterone completely and the testes shrink and patients may develop Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism ” Dr. Tanwar told BFH.

When is it safe to take testosterone

“The most important indication of taking testosterone boosting injections or medication is when a patient is suffering from Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, a condition in which the male testes produce little to no testosterone. Even patients suffering from this condition are made aware that they will not be able to reproduce and that they are being given this testosterone for their body to function normally as testosterone is needed to help make bones stronger and maintain their sexual power.” said Dr. Tanwar,

He further said, “Patients who have already produced children or who don’t plan to as well as senior patients can be given testosterone injection, even with these conditions the patients have to go through several tests to make sure there is no risk of prostate cancer or heart problems.”

Reasons for low testosterone

Erectile dysfunction, fatigue, reduced muscle mass, Increased body fat, feeling irritable, or even depressed, changes in sleep habits, being overweight or have certain underlying health conditions, like diabetes and sleep apnea all are reasons for low testosterone.

4 ways to boost testosterone naturally

Even though taking testosterone externally is not worth the risk you need not despair because there are several ways to boost your testosterone levels naturally without putting your health at risk. By making a few changes to your day to day life, you can significantly increase your testosterone levels naturally.

  1. Healthy diet, healthy life What we eat directly affects the growth of our body. A balanced diet is the key to a healthy life. A healthy diet incorporates plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain carbohydrates (brown rice, hulled barley and oats), appropriate amounts of healthy fats (olives, peanuts and dry fruits) and lean proteins (white-fleshed fish, tofu and beans). You should also avoid consuming simple carbohydrates like those found in chips and other such junk food as they can spike your blood sugar and decrease your testosterone levels.

2. Cardio and strength go hand in hand These days if a person aims to exercise, going to the gym is their first choice and they directly hit the weights. Lifting weights increases muscle size and strength as well as your neurovascular control (balance and coordination) however, cardio is equally if not more important as it improves your endurance, oxygen utilisation efficiency and your respiratory functions. The combination of cardio and strength training improves the quality and efficiency of your workout and significantly increases the probability of boosting your testosterone levels.

3. Just sleep on it Rest is the best way to energise your body for another day of hard work. Benefits of sleep are too many to count. Proper amounts of sleeping hours helps you build immunity so you get sick less often, maintain a healthy weight, lowers the risk of severe health problems (diabetes and heart diseases), reduces stress and as well as improves your mood. Majority of testosterone release happens while sleeping so insufficient sleeping hours can significantly reduce your testosterone levels.

4. No stress, no loss There is no need to explain why stress is bad for mental as well as physical health. But did you know that stress also affects your testosterone levels? Yes, when a person is stressed the body releases a hormone called cortisol which responds to this stress and your body returns to normal. Chronic stress can lead to prolonged exposure to cortisol which can reduce the levels of free testosterone in the body. So by practising meditation and yoga or doing activities which you love you can effectively counter stress and avoid a decrease in your testosterone levels.

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