The Facts About Testosterone, Therapy, and Aging

by Jay Motola, M.D. Health Professional

Aging is inevitable. As is the fact that testosterone levels fall with age. Peak testosterone levels are seen in early adolescence and early adulthood. Afterwards, there is a gradual decline in the production of testosterone, although men continue to produce quantities of this throughout their lives. The symptoms of aging and low testosterone can often be confused with one another, but here we outline the facts about testosterone levels, aging, and therapy.

What does the research show?

The Massachusetts Male Aging Study found that there is a decrease in total testosterone levels by 5% per decade of life from the thirties to the seventies in men. Additionally, it is more pronounced in obese or chronically ill individuals.

What is the Androgen Deficiency in Aging Male Questionnaire?

St. Louis University developed this questionnaire to assess low testosterone levels in men, specifically male hypogandism, a condition characterized by the inability to produce enough testosterone. Test yourself, here, then talk to your doctor about it.

What are some aging effects declining testosterone can have on the body?

Although decreasing levels of testosterone don’t necessarily cause the signs of aging, some signs can be changes in sexual function, trouble sleeping, increased body fat with reduced muscle, less energy and emotional changes.

What are some benefits of testosterone therapy in older men?

Testosterone therapy has shown to have potential benefits in elderly men by increasing muscle and reducing fat. However, there is mixed research on whether or not strength is increased or not. Other benefits include increased sexual function, better mood and small positive effect on insulin resistance for men with type 2 diabetes.

What are some risks of testosterone therapy in older men?

There may be some risks associated with testosterone therapy in older men. Some research has shown that there may be a higher risk of prostate events like prostate cancer. The heart may also be affected.

Consult your doctor

Risk versus benefits of treatment in the elderly must be assessed. The decision to treat with testosterone replacement should not be a function of what the testosterone value is, but rather how the low testosterone is affecting the individual. This is a conversation that each patient needs to have with their doctor prior to beginning any therapy.

Jay Motola, M.D.
Meet Our Writer
Jay Motola, M.D.

Jay Motola, MD, is a board-certified urologist and attending physician, Department of Urology, Mount Sinai West, and Assistant Professor of Urology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Motola is a summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Boston University, and earned his medical degree at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.