Important questions to ask when considering testosterone therapy

What risks and benefits should be considered

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As men age, the reduction in testosterone levels can impact health. Some turn to artificial testosterone treatment to counter the effects of aging. However, there can be some side effects.

"One of the key things to keep in mind is whether you really need it," Dr. Ali Kasraeian said. "It really depends on what your testosterone at the start is, married with symptoms associated with low testosterone."

Some of the symptoms include lack of energy, low libido, irritability and increase in abdominal girth.

"Many studies have shown that if you have a low testosterone level and are supplemented appropriately, it's actually safe," Kasraeian said.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that showed decreased cardiac events (heart attacks, strokes, unstable angina, and sudden cardiac death) in patients on testosterone supplementation compared to those not on testosterone supplementation when studying people with low testosterone levels.

"First, talk to your doctor about why it's low," Kasraeian said. "The other thing is, talk to them about risk-benefits of testosterone therapy based on your whole medical history."

For men considering supplementing testosterone levels, be wary of going it alone. Going through your doctor for a prescription can add a layer that should increase safety and effectiveness of the treatment, Kasreaien said.