Q & A's on Testosterone: More tales from the MD



Jun 3, 2003
Will taking more testosterone make me sexier?
Answer: Testosterone is needed to maintain a man’s sexual desire and also allow him to have a fully rigid erection when he is sexually aroused._ Both functions can be sustained as long as a man’s serum testosterone level is normal-between 300 and 1000 ng/dl._ A man with a serum testosterone of 1000 ng/dl is no sexier than a man with a testosterone of 300 ng/dl.___
3._ Will taking more testosterone make me stronger?
Answer: Yes, but only if you take large amounts of testosterone, more than is generally available from a doctor’s prescription. Athletes and body builders have known this for years but doctors have been skeptical._ Here’s what puzzled doctors: athletes who become stronger after anabolic steroid use also train furiously._ Was the training or the steroid use responsible for their improved performance?__

To find out the answers found athletes and untrained men “couch potatoes” and gave them either massive doses of testosterone-roughly 15 times what a normal man’s testicle churns out each week and evaluated their weight and weight lifting capacity before and after treatment.

a.__ Those in the placebo injection group had no improvement in body weight or in their weight lifting capacity._

b.__ With massive doses of testosterone trained athletes did best increasing body weight and muscle mass as well as their weight lifting capacity.

c.__ Even those untrained men in the “couch potato” group improved muscle mass and weight lifting capacity._

d.__ The muscle and strength-promoting effect was only seen when treatment increased blood testosterone levels to 3000ng/dl more than any man could hope to accompllsh on his own.
4. How do I know if I have enough testosterone in my body?
Answer: See your doctor and ask for a blood testosterone measurement._ If the results indicate that you have a low testosterone level he/she may prescribe testosterone- boosting medication._ But don’t expect to get a testosterone prescription if the blood test results come back indicating that your testosterone levels are normal or “within the normal range”
5. But what if my testosterone value is at the lower end of normal?_ Wouldn’t I feel better with a higher blood testosterone count?
Answer: You may, but we do now know for sure and we do not yet know with certainty whether raising a man’s testosterone level is completely risk-free._A group of middle aged men with borderline low testosterone levels were given either placebo or testosterone impregnated skin patches and followed for 3 years. Health declined in placebo treated men but from month 6 to 36 testosterone- treated men reported a progressive and sustained improvement in their overall health during the same time interval. Prostate cancer developed in one testosterone treated and in no placebo treated man in this study.
6. _What is the best way to increase my own blood testosterone level?
Answer: Despite claims to the contrary, there are no diets or over the counter medications that can reliably increase a man’s blood testosterone level._ Testosterone and all other testosterone-like pills favored by athletes and body builders though available have serious side effects damaging the liver occasionally causing liver cancer. Table 1 lists the currently approved treatments a man can use to increase his own testosterone level. All require a doctor’s prescription

Table 1._ Currently Available Testosterone Treatments_



Testosterone pill


Liver toxicity

Testosterone injection



Patch 1


Wear on scrotum

Patch 2



Patch 3

Testoderm TTS

Adherence when wet




Speak to your doctor to decide if you need testosterone supplements and if so which of the treatments listed above is best for you.
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