The Side Effects of Too Much Testosterone – A Patient’s Perspective
If you’ve listened to the radio, picked up a fitness magazine, or simply talked to some guys at the gym, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Testosterone Replacement Therapy. It’s out in the public eye, and with good reason! More energy, better libido, fewer aches and pains, less body fat, more muscle… who doesn’t want that?
As with any medical treatment, however, there’s a risk/reward factor to consider. Almost any medicine can bring some ‘bad’ with the ‘good,’ and TRT is no exception. The potential benefits need to be weighed against the potential adverse effects, and the recipient needs to be well aware of what the side effects of too much testosterone can entail.
First, let’s make this clear – carefully supervised Testosterone Replacement Therapy is night and day different from some guy injecting himself with copious amounts of questionable steroids. Testosterone Replacement Therapy is a medical treatment that includes careful monitoring and intense focus on maintaining proper dosage, done by medical professionals specialized in exactly that. Finding that proper dosage is key—while low testosterone can have a number of disagreeable symptoms, too much testosterone can also have side effects.
So What Are the Side Effects of Too Much Testosterone?
Testosterone, when administered correctly, has few side effects for the majority of men. However, too much testosterone can create some issues.
Yes, one of the side effects of too much testosterone is too much estrogen. Too much free testosterone in the body can lead to the over abundant hormone being converted into estrogen. While some estrogen is a necessary and natural part of a man’s hormone balance, more than the normal amount can lead to all sorts of unwanted side effects, like mood swings, water retention, high blood pressure, breast sensitivity or even growth!
Thankfully, administering proper levels by skilled professionals limits the chance of such effects, and there are highly effective estrogen inhibitors that can be taken under their supervision should this problem arise.
Oily Skin and Acne
Oily skin and acne are indeed not uncommon side effects of TRT, to varying degrees. While not everyone experiences these effects and they are often mild, they can be brought on or aggravated by the elevated levels of DHT associated with increased testosterone.
Again, careful dosage and proper monitoring can go a long way towards preventing or limiting these side effects of too much testosterone, and there are a number of treatment options for both oily skin and acne as well.
Another side effect many associate with too much testosterone is hair loss, or male pattern balding. While there are ties to hair loss and levels of DHT, it is a common misconception that increased levels of testosterone are a direct cause of hair loss (read our article about testosterone and balding here).
The link between the prostate and testosterone is a highly debated subject in the medical world. Years and years of the widely-accepted but incorrect belief that a direct link between prostate growth, prostate cancer, and high levels of testosterone exists have left many with the misconception that too much testosterone can lead to prostate cancer.
In truth, the vast majority of studies following PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) show that it does not increase significantly with testosterone therapy. All the recent short-term studies show no negative effects on prostate size, urination flow rates, or prostate symptom scores, and it appears that TRT has little short-term effect on the prostate. Long-term data is limited, however, and if you have a history of prostate cancer in your family this is certainly a side effect to consider (read more about testosterone and prostate cancer here).
Simply put, when the brain senses high levels of testosterone in the body, it will assume the testosterone is coming from the testicles. The brain then shuts off production of LH (luteinizing hormone), the hormone that tells the testicles to produce testosterone, and the testicles may then experience a change in testicular firmness or volume as a result.
Increased Red Blood Cell Production
Another one of the side effects of too much testosterone, and possibly the most important one to consider, is the increase in red blood cell mass and hemoglobin levels. Particularly in older men, increased red blood cell counts may increase the chance of heart attacks, strokes, or clotting if they are negligently ignored.
Increased hematocrit (the volume % of red blood cells in the blood) can be be reduced by either decreased testosterone replacement dosage or regular blood donation to decrease blood thickness. Careful monitoring of hematocrit levels and staying ahead of any problematic levels is a major focus of good TRT.
A Good TRT Professional Will Keep You From Experiencing the Side Effects of Too Much Testosterone
Too much testosterone can have side effects, certainly. But if a desire for increased libido, energy levels, decreased body fat, and overall improved quality of life have prompted you to look into Testosterone Replacement Therapy, it’s important to note that TRT that is done right —the way Testosterone Centers of Texas does it for me—is focused on reducing or even eliminating the chances of those side effects and effectively treating them should they arise. TCT helped me find the perfect level of testosterone, and I know they can do the same for you.