Health Tip: Understanding Testosterone Treatment

The hormone testosterone is responsible for male characteristics such as facial and body hair, muscle development, regulating sex drive, sperm production and bone health.

Low testosterone can result in loss of hair and muscle, mood changes, less energy and smaller testes, the Endocrine Society says.

If your doctor detects low testosterone, he or she may prescribe hormone replacement therapy. Common ways to supplement the body's production include injection, gel, skin patch or tablet.

Use of testosterone therapy over the long term does have its risks, the Endocrine Society says, among them:

  • Prostate enlargement.
  • High red blood cell count
  • Acne
  • Sleep apnea -- brief pauses in breathing during sleep.
  • Fluid buildup in the ankles, feet and legs.

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