The health risks of taking testosterone to gain muscle mass

The popularization of various forms of exercise is broadly speaking very positive; In the end, it is a healthy activity, done for the reasons for which it is done. However, it is true that in some cases the pressure of certain unrealistic beauty canons may be behind it, related above all to thinness in women and to the fitness in men.

Testosterone Side Effects

When the objective is not the health benefits of exercise but rather an aesthetic goal, many people may fall into using unhealthy methods to achieve it, such as the use of certain substances or therapies (off label) to increase muscle mass. An example is the use of hormone replacement therapies.

Testosterone supplementation for sports activities (because of its anabolic action) and for other reasons, when it is not prescribed and monitored by a health professional, can lead to a series of risks that must be taken into account.

Image of a woman with a set of dumbbells.

For example, it has been documented that excess testosterone stimulates erythropoiesis (formation of red blood cells), proliferation of the sebaceous glands (which can lead to the appearance or worsening of acne), thickening of the skin, hypertrophy of the larynx (which makes the voice deeper), a increased body hair in the usual male distribution, the appearance of baldness, closure of the epiphyseal plates, and more aggressive behavior.

Prostate cancer and hypogonadism

In addition to all these effects, the anabolic action becomes evident in other organs, such as the liver, kidney, heart or bone marrow, which can eventually cause their operating problems.

Also, it should be taken into account that the prostate cancer It is dependent on testosterone, so supplementation can accelerate its progression.

A man bench presses with weights in a file image.

Finally, perhaps some of the most striking complications are infertility, the loss of the ability to generate endogenous testosterone (needing, then, supplementation as replacement treatment for life) or the late hypogonadism (atrophy of the sexual organs).

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