The Testosterone Side Effects You Should Know About
Although attitudes towards testosterone supplementing have improved during the last 10 years, many people are still hesitant to use testosterone shots, supplements, gels, or patches.
To some extent, this hesitancy is well-founded as these methods of putting synthetic (i.e. man-made in a laboratory) testosterone into the body have the potential to cause side effects, say medical experts from the Mayo Clinic and WebMD.
Then again, side effects may not be a concern at all. “All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor side effects,” explains an article on Drugs.com; speaking about testosterone side effects
The fact is–even after talking to a doctor–you won’t know how your body will respond to a synthetic testosterone product until you try it. But before you try, here are some testosterone side effects you should know about:
Unpleasant/Mild Side Effects
While some side effects aren’t necessarily life threatening or painful, they are still unpleasant in that they can change your appearance and overall body function. Here are just a couple side effects that aren’t dangerous; but are still unsightly, unpleasant and sometimes unavoidable.
Infertility: The body naturally produces testosterone through the testes, but when outside testosterone is put into the body, the testes may stop producing testosterone naturally in order to maintain balance. This stoppage of natural testosterone production can lead to infertility; especially if the testosterone supplement is taken over long periods of time. The best way to avoid this is to take a supplement in cycles.
Acne: When you receive a large, unexpected intake of a testosterone, it throws your body into a hormonal imbalance which leads to increased oil production. And acne is often the result, just like it was during puberty.
Male Pattern Baldness: Testosterone in and of itself does not cause male pattern baldness. Instead, your body naturally converts testosterone in a secondary hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT then causes hair follicles to grow shorter, thin out and eventually lead to male pattern baldness.
Gynecomastia: When individuals increase their testosterone levels, the male body attempts to create a hormonal balance by producing an equal amount of estrogen. Excess estrogen in men can cause fat to build up in the abdomen and pectoral areas giving a woman-like appearance. This is called gynecomastia.
Additional mild side effects reported by the Cleveland Clinic are…
• Mild fluid retention
• Worsening of sleep apnea
• Decreased testicular size and sperm production
Dangerous Side Effects
Along with some of the unsightly testosterone side effects, synthetic products also pose the risk of potentially dangerous effects. Most of these effects aren’t always avoidable and may seem relatively rare, but should still be taken into account.
Liver Damage: Testosterone products, especially ones you consume orally, pose the risk of serious liver problems.
Enlarged Prostate: While the cause is still relatively unknown, some researchers claim that estrogen and DHT may be a factor in prostate enlargement. DHT and estrogen can be increased with higher testosterone levels.
Higher Red Blood Cell Count: According to the Mayo Clinic, testosterone may cause your body to make too many red blood cells (polycythemia), which might increase your risk for heart disease.
How to Avoid Testosterone Side Effects
In order to avoid these common side effects associated with synthetic testosterone products, there are a few steps you can follow.
1. Go Natural: Look for natural testosterone boosters that contain ingredients like magnesium and zinc. Extracts from plants–such as fenugreek, eurycoma longifolia, and tribulus terrestris–can also be helpful. If Mother Nature did not intend for it to be in your body, stay away from it!
2. Follow Directions: Some testosterone boosters require a cycle period where you go on the supplement for a number of weeks followed by an “off period.” There is a reason manufacturers suggest this, so follow those recommendations.
3. Do Some Research: Many companies claim to use safe and effective ingredients, but the testing behind those ingredients may be faulty. When researching an ingredient, ask yourself a few questions: “Was the study in vitro, in rats, or in humans?” “What was the dosage used and does the product contain the effective amount?” “What was the average age of participants?”
The truth is, some products–synthetic and natural–give the entire market a bad name, but not all products cause testosterone side effects. With a little research, you can find a product that effectively increases testosterone levels without causing risky and unpleasant side effects.