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Posted by: Scott Stewart, LAc., Dipl.
It’s quite ironic how it’s illegal to sell drugs on the street corner, but yet completely legal to do so via the mass media. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to escape these annoying pharmaceutical adverts on the tele which invade your home, what seems like every 5 minutes. Ten seconds is devoted to the name of the drug and what it’s designed for, while the remaining 20 seconds is focused on the never ending list of side-effects; which are often worse than the condition the drug is supposed to treat. Not only are these commercials for drugs annoying and unethical, but they prey on the ignorance and fear of people who can easily identify with the set of extremely generalized signs and symptoms that they describe.
Yes, I get very irritated with these mass campaigns that mislead the public into thinking they have some condition, when in fact they don’t. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical companies are now in the business of creating diseases and conditions, so they can sell billions of dollars more of unsafe and unnecessary drugs. This Low Testosterone or Low – T as they have so poignantly coined it, is exactly this - a fictional condition which pharmaceutical companies have created and marketed to a large targeted segment of the population.
What exactly is Low Testosterone?
Low testosterone is NOT a disease / syndrome or condition of any sort. In fact, from both a Western and Eastern medicine perspective adults, after they pass the 40 year mark, loose up to 40% of their Yin (which translates into sexual hormones). This is a biological fact of life for both men and women that occurs just as naturally as the sun rising in the morning and setting at dusk. In women, there is a drastic decrease in estrogen, which is a natural part of the cyclic transformation between menstruation -- to -- menopause -- to -- post-menopause. The same is true in men, who are also tied into a reproductive cycle involving hormones. For men, their levels of testosterone decrease significantly. What we’re seeing with this Low – T campaign is just some ad executive’s idea to make billions of dollars on an untapped market. We’ve already experienced this same targeted marketing on the women’s side with the mass marketing of estrogen products for the fictional disease of hormone deficiency; now they’re targeting the men.
Unlike Western medicine that likes to generalize symptoms across the board, an Eastern practitioner will tell you that this natural declination in hormones (Yin) will occur to varying degrees in both males and females, and the effects will also be diverse, because the health of each individual is different. How much this decrease of hormones really affects an individual depends more on how balanced or imbalanced other systems are within the patient’s body. It's these imbalances which can create such generalized symptoms that can be contorted into a new disease, which of course the pharmaceutical companies have a drug.
Like most drugs on the market, there are no long – term studies. You are the guinea pig!
I can only hope that patients be diligent about their health, and realize that the “magic pill” scenario is not a healthy or wise choice. You have to take control of your health, which in the majority of cases means making healthy lifestyle changes that will bring a balanced wellness back into your life. These lifestyle changes should include reducing stress, maintaining a healthy diet, both physical and mental exercise, and doing things that make you happy. If you do have any health concerns, especially male or female reproductive issues, or endocrine concerns, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a licensed Eastern physician.