It used to be that the stereotypical sign a man was having a mid-life crisis was buying a sports car. Now, that man may also ask for a testosterone prescription.
Women experience menopause because their ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone, while in men, there’s a gradual decline in testosterone production. This decrease is normal but it could lead to a condition called andropause, a kind of male menopause that can result in weight gain and declines in muscle mass and sex drive. The solution, according to marketers? Testosterone therapy.
The latest issue of Time explores the booming business of Low-T therapy: injections, gels, and patches that promise to pump up men who feel deflated, even though the FDA doesn’t recommend the treatment for people who don’t have a related medical condition.
But that hasn’t stopped men looking for a quick fix for their bigger bellies and lagging libido. As David von Drehle reports in “Manopause?! Aging, Insecurity and the $2 Billion Testosterone Industry,” there were nearly 10 times more testosterone prescriptions in 2011 than in 2000. Watch the video above to hear a doctor’s take on the testosterone craze.
But does testosterone therapy even work? And, more importantly, is it safe? Research has linked it to heart attack, stroke, and cancer in certain men.
If you subscribe to Time, you can read more about the risks and the research on Low-T therapy on Time.com.