A better life, from bathroom to bedroom

I love writing about testosterone — and here’s why. It’s actually something men will pay attention to, for the most part. And getting men to engage in one aspect of their health means they’re more likely to be proactive about other critical aspects of their health as well.

Yes, I realize this makes men sound like idiots — but obviously, that’s not at all what I mean. Generally speaking, men need to pay more attention to their health. (As evidenced by the fact that women make the vast majority of all health care decisions in this country.)

Talk of testosterone can at least make men prick up their ears. And I’m really glad they’re listening.

That’s because testosterone replacement has gotten quite a bit of flak in recent years. And as usual, I’ve often felt like the sole voice of reason in this groundswell of misguided hysteria.

So whenever new research comes along to help me make the vital case for treating low T, you’d better believe I’m going to report on it. And new research published in the Journal of Urology just delivered the goods.

The decade-long study looked at more than 650 older men — all in their 50s and 60s, and all with diagnosed hypogonadism, or the failure to produce enough testosterone. The goal was to assess the effect of long-term testosterone therapy on urinary health, sexual health, and quality of life.

And the results? Well, they simply prove a point I’ve been making since I started practicing medicine.

For one thing, the men who took testosterone suffered fewer urinary symptoms than those who didn’t — less frequent urination, more complete bladder emptying, a stronger stream, and fewer nighttime trips to the bathroom. (All this, despite increased prostate size — which normally would be associated with an uptick in all of these symptoms.)

But that’s not all.

Testosterone replacement also boosted subjects’ erectile function and sexual health. In fact, the percentage of men without any erectile problems jumped from just over 17 percent to nearly 75 percent with long-term treatment — while untreated men experienced a decline in this department.

Not surprisingly, overall quality of life improved with treatment, too. And maybe most importantly, there was NO increase in adverse events — and that includes no change in PSA levels, or heart-related events — with testosterone therapy.

The untreated group, by comparison, suffered five deaths, eight strokes, and eight heart attacks. So this study doesn’t just debunk any supposed connection between testosterone therapy and cardiovascular risk. It also lends a little extra credibility to the numerous studies that have demonstrated a protective effect with testosterone replacement.

It’s like I’ve been saying for years. If high T levels were a risk for prostate cancer or heart disease, then wouldn’t young men — not older ones — have the highest rates of those illnesses?

It’s time people came to their senses on this issue. And hopefully, this new study will help.

Will it be enough to get mainstream doctors back on board with testosterone replacement? Probably not. After all, there was never a good case for jumping ship on testosterone therapy in the first place. Which is why I’ve never wavered on this issue, despite all the ridiculous scare tactics.

In fact, I think both men and women can benefit from addressing low T, provided they’re under the care of someone who knows what they’re doing.

I’ve addressed this topic quite a few times, both here and in my monthly newsletter Logical Health Alternatives. Subscribers can access all of this material with a quick search in the archives. (Not a subscriber? Now’s a great time to sign up.) My most detailed recommendations appeared back in the November 2012 issue — so that’s a great place to start.