Modern lifestyle has had all in its grip and came with it a lot of “side effects”, literally. The lifestyle that people have been leading has led them to get solutions to problems rather than taking a precaution. Some modern problems do require modern solutions and some of these have helped people to find their identity and allowed them to express more freely. One such solution is call anti-androgen or testosterone blockers.
In this article, we will learn about the function and working of testosterone blockers and how they help our bodies to cope up with conditions that are unfavorable.
What Are Testosterone Blockers?
You might have heard about testosterone boosters, but is it weird that there exist compounds which are called testosterone blockers? The compounds are commonly called anti-androgens. These compounds are mostly used by the people who are transitioning from male to female or choose to become non-binary.
How Do These Testosterone Blockers Work?
Androgens bind to their receptors inside the body and this allows them to work the way they are supposed to. These anti-androgens bind to these receptors and prevent the androgens from working. There are several types of anti-androgens and they all have their specific purposes.
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What Is The Purpose Of Using Testosterone Blockers?
From treating prostate cancer to removing unwanted hair, testosterone blockers have their own purpose. Let’s look at what their use is.
Studies say that androgens are the source of energy and growth for cancer cells in their early stages. So if traces of cancer cells are found, then these testosterone blockers are administrated to the ones who are detected with these cells. Also, these blockers help in shrinking the size of existing tumors.
These compounds are also used in combination with chemicals for a purpose called chemical castration.
Women also produce a small amount of androgen as compared to men. This level is about 20 times lower than men and performs some functions similar to that in males.
Although, it is seen that if the level of testosterone increases in their bodies, then they also face several problems.
This testosterone level can also be greater than it’s meant to be if the person is suffering from a condition. Some of these conditions include:
- Tumors in the ovary
- Adrenal hyperplasia
- Adrenal tumors
Administering testosterone blockers in their body can help them overcome certain setting such as:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
For Transgender And Nonbinary People
For the people who are in the phase of transition, anti-androgens are given in combination with estrogen. This makes sure that the production and utilization of testosterone are greatly reduced and its functions are lowered to a bare minimum. Taking this anti-androgens help a great deal in reducing masculine characteristics.
Some of these traits include:
- Facial hair growth
- Morning erections
- Male pattern baldness
Adding anti-androgens to the body can help these people to transition into females faster as this also promotes the growth of feminine characters like breast growth.
Side Effects Of Using Testosterone Blockers
Depending upon the dose and the type administered, these anti-androgens can cause a range of side effects. These side effects include:
- Low libido and sex drive
- Irregular menstrual period
- Hot flashes
- Skin rashes
- Erectile dysfunction
- Breast tenderness
- Reduced body and facial hair
- An increased probability of mental illness, especially depression
- Liver injury
- Increase in liver enzyme production
- Birth defect risk if taken at the time of pregnancy
- Anti-androgenic effect i.e. total dysfunction of the testosterone-blocking compound itself.
The best way to choose your anti-androgen is to approach a doctor, who will then prescribe you appropriate medication with the least side effects.
Some Common Testosterone Blockers
Some of the most common anti-androgens include:
This is one of the most common testosterone blockers used to treat PCOS. This anti-androgen has shown to decrease the level of testosterone as well as acne-causing substances in the skin. This compound is also used to treat masculine characters in transgender women but has had several side effects and is only recommended rarely today.
This testosterone blocker is used mostly to stabilize and counter prostate cancer. It binds to the androgen receptors in the prostate and doesn’t allow it to enhance cell growth.
This is a type of anti-androgen that has been used commonly for treating acne and excessive body hair. It is also helpful with female pattern baldness and transitioning from male to female.
There are also other anti-androgens that are available include apalutamide, enzalutamide, nilutamide, and bicalutamide. These anti-androgens pretty much work in the same manner but have some different anabolic effects. Hence, they are prescribed to the patient by a licensed professional according to the condition of the patient themselves.
In an ideal world, testosterone blockers should exist. But due to our hectic lifestyles and schedules, we resort to solutions like these to keep ourselves ahead of the competition. You can learn from the experiences of others and make better choices about your daily habits and lifestyle conditions. The best way to make sure that your levels of this mind-altering androgen are adequate is to work out and test the level regularly.
Have foods that do not promote the secretion of these enzymes naturally to make sure that you do not accidentally increase its level more than the one desirable.