Conceivable

Too Much of a Good Thing: Why Testosterone Replacement Therapy is Dangerous to Fertility

More energy. Less fat. More muscle mass. Better libido.

These are all purported results from Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), a medical treatment that supplements a man’s testosterone through hormonal skin patches, gels, mouth patches, or injections and implants.

Image Credit:  Brian Hoskis  via  Stock.XCHNG

Image Credit: Brian Hoskis via Stock.XCHNG

Sounds great, right? Sign me up! Well, not so fast.

Side Effects of TRT

Despite its compelling benefits, there are just as many—if not more—substantial risks with TRT. This treatment increases the risk of heart attack not only in older men, but also in younger men with a history of heart disease.

TRT can also make benign prostatic hypertrophy worse and can even stimulate prostate cancer to grow. Other issues TRT can worsen include sleep apnea and erythrocytosis (high blood count), making blood thicker and more prone to clotting.

TRT and Infertility

Infertility is an often under-represented risk of TRT. In fact, supplemental testosterone from outside the body is so effective at stopping sperm production that it was once considered as a potential method of birth control.

A recent study published in Fertility and Sterility found that while testosterone use among fertility patients was actually relatively low, its effects were nonetheless devastating. Even after six months of discontinued use of testosterone, more than a third of men studied did not regain the ability to produce sperm.

The Future of Testosterone Use

While testosterone use in patients struggling to conceive is relatively low, statistics say it’s likely to rise. Between 2000 and 2011, the prescription of supplemental testosterone increased by more than 850 percent in the U.S., according to new research. The study authors believe that new, easy-to-use forms of testosterone along with television marketing are primarily responsible for the rise in prescription rates.

Over the same period, global pharmaceutical sales of testosterone increased from about 150 million to 1.8 billion dollars. Obviously someone is benefitting from this substantial increase in the use of supplemental testosterone. Unfortunately, it’s usually not the patient taking the testosterone.

Before you or your partner pursue TRT, be sure to weigh the risks of the treatment—especially if you’re thinking of trying to conceive.

Try natural ways of increasing testosterone instead. Losing weight, increasing your exercise, reducing stress, eating healthier, and getting more sleep can all have a positive impact on your testosterone levels. And guess what? None of these lifestyle improvements will increase your risk of heart attack or make you infertile. Quite the contrary!

 

Double Your Chances By Checking Your Discharge

Cervical fluid gets a lot of credit for helping women get pregnant. Even though you probably disregarded cervical fluid as bothersome discharge when you were younger, it’s actually incredibly important to pay attention to as you try to conceive.

But why, exactly, do we care so much about this slimy mucus?

Read more to learn how and why you should be checking your cervical fluid to improve your chances of getting pregnant.

The Importance of the Male Biological Clock

Unlike women who are constantly reminded of their ticking biological clocks, men often get a free pass to become a father at any age. A woman trying to conceive in her upper 30s may feel like her fertility is constantly under scrutiny, while her older husband’s potential fertility issues can get brushed under the rug. But just because the world isn't paying attention to men's biological clocks, doesn't mean they're not important...

BBT Patterns That Indicate Fertility Issues

BBT Patterns That Indicate Fertility Issues

In my 15+ years of practice, I’ve seen tens of thousands of BBT charts. I quickly started recognizing distinct relationships between the waves of a woman’s BBT chart and her ovulation patterns, quality and quantity of cervical discharge, estrogen and progesterone levels, FSH, egg quality, and likelihood to present with PMS. In fact, with one look at a BBT chart, I can usually pinpoint the major reasons a woman is struggling to get pregnant. 

While many women keep BBT charts as a way to predict ovulation, there's actually SOOOOOO much more a BBT chart can tell you — and when ovulation is occurring is usually the least important. 

Here are are a few things I immediately look for as warning signs of fertility issues...

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I’ve written before about some common fertility beliefs that are totally wrong (Check out our blog post 7 Common Fertility Beliefs That Are Totally Wrong), but this recent CNN article reminded me that there is even more bad information out there to dispel!

Here are four more super-common fertility myths that need to be put to rest...