The Truth About Testosterone

By Harry Fisch, MD, Men's Health Expert Learn the myths and misunderstandings that abound about testosterone, as well as the symptoms of below-normal testosterone.

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6. Low testosterone causes depression.

True, but that’s just half the story. Most men don’t know that depression, or depressed mood, can lower their testosterone levels. Since many men don’t recognize signs of their own depression, or are reluctant to seek help treating depression, this is a significant problem for millions of men. Sometimes restoring testosterone levels can also alleviate symptoms of depression – and sometimes alleviating the depression with psychotherapy and/or antidepressant medications can raise testosterone levels.


7. Erection-enhancing medications (such as Viagra) work whether a man has normal testosterone levels or not.

Studies show that erection-enhancing medications work best in men with testosterone levels in the normal range. Testosterone provides the necessary urge to have sex that erection-enhancing drugs cannot provide.

8. Testosterone therapy is really just a form of cosmetic pharmacology – it’s just something middle-aged men try to make themselves feel young.

Wrong. Testosterone replacement for men of any age who have below-normal levels is a valid medical treatment for a condition with clear potential to degrade overall health and well-being. Failure to treat hypogonadism puts men at higher risk for frailty, osteoporosis, heart disease and, perhaps, Alzheimer’s disease.

9. Low testosterone is only a problem for old men.

False. Certainly the older you are, the more likely you are to have low testosterone, but this condition can affect any man, even teenagers. Conditions such as varicoceles, undescended testicles, and certain genetic problems can cause below-normal testosterone levels which need to be diagnosed and corrected as quickly as possible.


10. The only way to boost testosterone levels is with shots.

Several options are now available for testosterone replacement therapy, some of which work by coaxing the body to increase testosterone levels naturally rather than by dumping testosterone directly into the bloodstream one way or the other.

Harry Fisch, MD

Article written by Harry Fisch, MD
Men's Health Expert