Overcoming the Stigma: Young Men Embarrassed to Receive Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Why would an adolescent need testosterone therapy?
Testosterone therapy is the foundation in treatment used for the management of hypogonadism in adolescents. Hypogonadism in young males manifests itself as a lack of secondary sexual development or a lack of normal pubertal progression. The body doesn’t produce enough testosterone, the hormone needed for masculine growth during puberty. Male hypogonadism can affect the development of muscle mass, the deepening of the voice, the growth of body and facial hair, and the growth of the penis and the testes. Hypogonadism in young males can also cause development of breast tissue and excessive growth of the arms and legs in relationship to the body. A health care professional should be seen if puberty doesn’t seem to be beginning in young males in order to determine why testosterone levels are too low to produce the changes the body should be going through during adolescence.
Are there complications for an adolescent when this condition is left untreated?
Untreated hypogonadism can have serious consequences for an adolescent if left untreated. The consequences associated with untreated hypogonadism at this time of a young male’s life can seriously affect his future well-being. Some of the physical effects of hypogonadism are the growth of abnormal genitalia and enlarged male breasts. Down the line, a young male may suffer with infertility, erectile disfunction, and osteoporosis. Adolescence is a difficult time in the best of situations as most adolescents deal with self-doubt and a variety of self-esteem issues. However, those boys who are not going through the normal stages of puberty truly suffer because many of their physical difference are blatantly obvious to others. They may become withdrawn and depressed. During adolescence and young adulthood, the suicide rate for young males is 1 to 4 times higher than the suicide rate in females of the same age which makes addressing suspected hypogonadism in young males so important.
When does puberty begin for males?
For those who are male at birth, puberty usually begins around age eleven but may start as early as age nine or as late as age fourteen. There will be a progression of obvious physical changes such as acracking in the voice as it begins deepening. Changes in physical hygiene become apparent as male adolescents start to sweat more and develop body odor. Hormonal changes will cause more oil on the skin, especially on the face, and they may become prone to acne breakouts. Generally, they will go through some sort of growth spurt along with a widening of their shoulders and a defining of their muscles. The development of additional hair on the body, especially on the face and under the arms will accompany growth of hair in the pubic area.
When is it time to ask for help?
If you have a young adolescent male that you care about, and you notice that the development stages ofpuberty are not appearing, then you should seek medical advice and testing.
Why are many people and young tweens of teens reluctant to look for help?
The idea of seeking hormone of testosterone therapy for young men seems to be a somewhat complex or embarrassing topic. There is a negative stigma that is attached to asking for help if you are a male of any age. Men or males are supposed to “suck it up” and deal with life as it comes to them and not admit to any sort of weakness. Some people may view testosterone therapy as “cheating” or “taking ashortcut” to manhood or masculinity. Some people view all testosterone therapy as bad because they equate testosterone use with the synthetic testosterones responsible for “roid rage’ and the excessive muscle growth of body builders in the past. Modern testosterone therapy uses bioidentical testosterone that comes from plants, like yams, and is administered by prescription by a medical professional who has been trained in its use.
How can I help someone overcome “the stigma” of looking for help?
Anyone needing help with a medical condition needs to be assured that identifying physical problems and working with science to overcome medical problems is the normal course to take to resolve physical problems. A medical professional will be able to explain why something is happening or not happening and will be able to explain why a treatment is necessary. Then it becomes obvious how a treatment plan can improve how they feel about themselves and, subsequently, they will see how their life will improve. Having knowledge about why puberty is delayed will allow them to see that their condition is not a sign of personal weakness any more than catching a cold is. Becoming educated about their condition and realizing that they can’t control what is happening with their bodies will allow them to gain self-esteem and avoid feelings of destructive self-judgement.
How can Androgenix help?
If you wonder whether testosterone therapy might be right for your tween or teen boys or young men, talk with our staff and doctor about the risks and benefits. If they are suffering from any of the above symptoms, or you have any other concerns about their health, please contact our office and make an appointment with our staff and visit our office to get complete blood work and a physical examination. They will be monitored by our team for treatment effectiveness and side effects on a regular basis.
The team at Androgenix are here to support you and those you love in the journey for a better, healthier life. Our staff of caring healthcare practitioners will help diagnose and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Every person who enters our doors is treated as an individual deserving of care and respect. We can help you and those you love feel and look better. Give us a call today.
- Gender norms and the mental health of boys and young men – The Lancet Public Health
- Mental health: Overcoming the stigma of mental illness – Mayo ClinicHow Mental Health Stigma Affects Men (healthline.com)
- New Testosterone Treatment Guidelines: What to Know (healthline.com)
- Online Testosterone Companies May Be Sacrificing Patient Safety for Convenience (businessinsider.com)
- Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT): Benefits and Cost (getopt.com)
- Testosterone Use in Adolescent Males: Current Practice and Unmet Needs | Journal of the Endocrine Society | Oxford Academic (oup.com)
*Unless otherwise stated, individual results may vary depending on many factors not all patients “feel” or achieve the same results.