How is low testosterone diagnosed?
Low testosterone is diagnosed by a blood test. In order to treat a man for low testosterone, he should also have the signs and symptoms of low testosterone. Physicians will also likely check a PSA (a screening test for prostate cancer) and a hematocrit (a measurement of red blood cells in your body). A PSA is checked to make sure that the patient does not have prostate cancer and a hematocrit is checked because men receiving testosterone may experience an increase in their red blood cell count.
What important safety information do you need to understand when using testosterone?
Testosterone should not be used in men with known breast cancer or known or suspected prostate cancer.
Men treated with testosterone may be at an increased risk for the development or worsening of urinary (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) symptoms.
Patients with kidney, liver, or heart problems may be at an increased risk of developing edema, or water retention. Testosterone replacement may result in worsening of sleep apnea. Finally, long-term treatment with testosterone may impair a man's fertility.
What about the relationship between testosterone and prostate cancer?
A common question among patients has been does testosterone replacement therapy cause prostate cancer or more rapid prostate cancer growth.
All studies thus far have found no greater prostate cancer risk among men who receive testosterone compared to men who receive placebo or no testosterone at all. However, this remains an issue that warrants further research.
Information provided by the American Urological Association.