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Testosterone Replacement Therapy Is NOT Cheating

Beyond Stereotypes: TRT Truths Every Man Should Know.

Mia West
January 26, 2024
Medically-reviewed and fact checked by Ryan Lester, PA-C

Clinical studies reveal that more than 40% of men over 45 and 20% of males aged 15-39 in the U.S. suffer from testosterone deficiency, impacting aspects such as libido, lean muscle mass, strength, energy, sleep, motivation, and mood. Surprisingly, only 10% of those affected seek hormone optimization. So, what hinders men from seeking help?

Beyond the misconceptions surrounding testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), perceived as a performance enhancer for high level athletes and bodybuilders, inadequate health education may contribute to untreated testosterone deficiency. A Wellcore survey of 1,000 men aged 40-55 found that 42% were unprepared for age-related hormonal changes, and over a quarter lacked knowledge about the signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency, reflecting a broader issue in health awareness.

In recent years, the discourse around TRT has undergone a gradual transformation, challenging stereotypes and dispelling misconceptions linked to men pursuing hormonal optimization. To delve deeper into this shift and debunk TRT myths, we spoke with Ryan Lester, Wellcore Physician Assistant, who sheds light on the importance of changing attitudes towards hormone therapy.

Misconception 1: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Causes Aggression

One prevalent stereotype linked to TRT is the belief that individuals taking exogenous testosterone are more prone to aggression, which is simply not true when improving testosterone levels to the upper limit of normal . When men move into the territory of non bioidentical anabolic steroid use and take excessive amounts of testosterone it can lead to increased aggression. However, it's crucial to separate this from the natural effects of testosterone used in hormone optimization which is regulated through appropriate blood testing and guidance from a hormone specialist .

Misconception 2: Once Started, a Man Can Never Stop TRT

Another misconception is the belief that once a man begins TRT, he can never discontinue the treatment as his testes will lose the ability to produce testosterone. 

Lester clarifies that while there may be some truth to this idea in certain men, it is essential to understand the nuances. The type and duration of treatment play an important role in how long it will take a male to return to their age appropriate baseline testicular functions.  A male who is only on testosterone for several years will take longer to return to their baseline function compared to a man who is on testosterone for 6 months. However, if medications like hCG or clomiphene are included alongside testosterone, the return to baseline is typically much quicker. This insight challenges the misconception that TRT is an irreversible commitment.

Misconception 3: TRT Causes Blood Clots, Heart Attacks, and Strokes

One of the most concerning misconceptions surrounding TRT is its alleged association with severe cardiovascular issues such as blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. Lester addresses this concern by referencing the TRAVERSE trial results and 30 years of randomized trials and observational studies. The study supports the majority of clinical trials conducted throughout the past three decades that demonstrate TRT at physiologic doses does not increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke, blood clots, or prostate cancer. In fact, a majority of the studies demonstrate low testosterone increases risk of a cardiovascular event and developing prostate cancer. It is crucial to convey this evidence-based information to the public to dispel unfounded fears and ensure informed decision-making.

Legitimate Medical Reasons vs. Performance Enhancement

Differentiating between individuals seeking testosterone replacement for legitimate medical reasons and those pursuing it for perceived performance enhancement is a critical aspect of responsible hormone therapy. Lester suggests assessing candidates based on bloodwork and the presence of testosterone deficiency symptoms. A trial period can help determine if the symptoms improve with TRT, indicating a genuine medical need. This approach ensures that hormonal optimization is tailored to address specific health concerns rather than being pursued for performance enhancement.

Optimizing Testosterone Levels Responsibly

When on testosterone, serum testosterone levels are not a reliable indicator of what is optimal for each individual. Genetic differences mean that some men may require more or less testosterone to alleviate deficiency symptoms. This personalized approach ensures that patients receive the optimal amount of testosterone without exceeding medically necessary levels.

It is crucial to rely on evidence-based information and medical expertise to guide discussions around hormonal optimization, fostering a healthier and more accepting dialogue about men's health. Embracing the truths about TRT dispels myths, encourages informed decisions, and empowers men to prioritize their well-being without the burden of unwarranted stigma.


Join millions of men and women who are improving their health by ordering the Wellcore At-Home Assessment Kit today.

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About the Author

Mia West

A former journalist, Mia brings a high energy approach to communications rooted in insights, culture and brand DNA. She is driven by helping brands crystalize their story and foster meaningful, emotional connections with audiences. Over the years she has collaborated with prominent brands such as Petco, Keurig Dr Pepper, Jaguar Land Rover, Revlon, and Procter & Gamble Beauty, as well as many others in the retail, health & wellness, beauty, lifestyle, and sustainability realms. A California native, she lives in San Diego with her family at the beach.

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