Men who experience low testosterone levels have been known to turn to testosterone replacement therapy. However, research shows that testosterone replacement therapy can cause men to be more prone to blood clots, which can lead to far greater medical problems.
Why Men Seek Out Testosterone Replacement Therapy
As men age—especially after 40—their testosterone levels being to decline. This leads to symptoms such as low energy, loss of muscle mass, decreased sex drive and low sperm count. Obviously, these present concerns regarding the quality of their life. For men who are worried about these issues, testosterone replacement therapy can address the problem. However, those benefits come at great risk.
Blood Clots and Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Blood clots form when blood platelets begin to stick together. When they reach a critical mass in a vein they obstruct the flow of blood. For example, when a clot develops in the leg—also called deep vein thrombosis—the leg begins to swell. If part of the clot breaks off, it can travel to the heart or lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. It is estimated that over 180,000 Americans die every year from a pulmonary embolism.
When Are Men Most at Risk?
Research indicates that if men take testosterone replacement therapy, they are most at risk during the first six months of treatment. In fact, the risk increases by 63 percent for men during this time period. Consequently, men who choose to undergo testosterone replacement therapy need to understand the risks before undergoing treatment.
Signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis
The best way for men to understand the dangers of testosterone replacement therapy is to be aware of what the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis are, which primarily include swelling and pain in the leg. In some cases it can also come to palpitations and fever.
If men notice any of these symptoms, especially during the first six months of treatment, they should see their doctor.
Other Risk Factors Associated with Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Because clots can occur during testosterone replacement therapy, men need to consult with their physician and review their medical history before undergoing treatment. Other risk factors that could put men in danger of clots with testosterone replacement therapy include:
- Being overweight or obese
- History of clots
- Lack of mobility
How Can Men Reduce the Risk of Clots?
If men choose to undergo testosterone replacement therapy, they should have regular check-ups with their physician to ensure that there are no complications and to catch a problem before it comes worse. In between doctor visits, patients should be aware of any changes in their health and report them to their physician.
For many men, receiving testosterone replacement therapy is an important quality-of-life issue. While they want to stay physically active and have a healthy sex life, the benefits of replacement therapy come with real risks, especially blood clots that can cause a heart attack or stroke. That’s why men need to do their homework, check with their doctor and ask themselves if the risks outweigh the rewards.