The role of testosterone in joint repair | The role of opioids in low testosterone syndrome
Can low testosterone levels cause chronic joint and pain? If so how? Research has shown that Testosterone has a direct effect on cartilage growth. If the testosterone levels are low, so is the body’s ability to regrow damaged cartilage.
What about opioids, do they impact testosterone levels? In this article we will see how opioids not only cause joint destruction, they also cause a vicious cycle of non-healing and erectile dysfunction by impacting testosterone levels.
Testosterone is an anabolic hormone. An anabolic hormone is a “builder upper,” its characteristics are well known as a hormone that promotes repair and growth of soft tissue, including muscle and cartilage growth.
Many people believe that testosterone is only a male hormone, research over the years shows testosterone also plays a pivotal role in the female body chemistry. Male or female, if one has a low testosterone level, then he/she will likely experience more difficulty healing.
In 2014, a paper with the long descriptive title: ” Long-term testosterone treatment in elderly men with hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction reduces obesity parameters and improves metabolic syndrome and health-related quality of life”, was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.(1)
It is a long title because the paper has a lot to say:
- This is what low-testosterone can cause in the aging male:
- erectile dysfunction (ED),
- reduced bone density and muscle strength,
- increased visceral obesity. (Belly fat)
- problems associated with insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome.
- Low levels of testosterone can also cause joint pain
It is not what many men want to hear but painkillers cause erectile dysfunction
Men do not like to go to the doctor, this is well documented. Men will finally go to the doctor when erectile dysfunction is involved. This was documented by researchers at Brown University who wrote in the Asian Journal of Andrology:
“Erectile dysfunction is estimated to affect more than 30% of men between the ages of 40 and 70. As a result of an improved understanding of the disorder and improved treatment options, an increasing number of men are going to the doctor with Erectile dysfunction concerns. In fact, many of these men are visiting their health care professional for the first time with ED as their primary complaint.”(2)
But what is causing their erectile dysfunction? While there are many causes of erectile dysfunction, this article we will concentrate on the relationship between low testosterone, joint pain, and opioid or painkiller use.
A recent study from Tegore Medical College in India begins with this statement: “The relationship between opioid use and sexual problems among males is a complex one, as some are using opioids to increase their sexual performance while others are suffering from sexual problems due to its use.”
Men are using painkillers to help them have joint or back pain-free sex. But the painkillers are causing Erectile Dysfunction. Now the men are taking medicine for their pain and for their erectile dysfunction
The problem is that this research from Tegore Medical College is suggesting that 53.3% to 81.7% of patients who were opioid dependent (addicted) had problems of sexual dysfunction.(3)
Listen to what researches in the Journal of Sex Medicine had to say. “Long-term opioid therapy has been found to have a strong impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis that can be manifested clinically by sexual dysfunction. This event is rarely reported and thus unnoticed and undertreated.”(4)
- So a man goes into the doctor’s office. He has chronic joint or back pain but desires to have the ability to be able to sexually perform. He is given painkillers.
- A man goes back to the doctor and says, his problem now is that he cannot perform sexually NOT because of pain, he cannot perform sexually because he is on painkillers. Now he gets a prescription for erectile dysfunction.
- The man and his doctor are not aware of this usually unnoticed connection between painkillers and erectile dysfunction.
The management of patients with pain should include a review of their sexual health history
In a second study, published in February 2017 by the same team of researchers, this time appearing in the journal Clinical Medicine, made these findings:
- Erectile dysfunction was observed in 27.6% of patients on opioids.
- Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction:
- After 6 months, 42% of those patients showed a significant improvement after being treated with iPDE5 – Viagra (48.5%) and/or testosterone gel (81.8%).
- Erectile function and quality of sexual life, as well as anxiety, improved in patients treated chronically with opioids after administering andrological (testosterone) treatment. The management of patients with pain should include a review of their sexual health history given the significant emotional impact posed to the patient, the impact on their overall quality of life and its good clinical response to an interdisciplinary treatment.(5)
The use of testosterone gel should be discussed with your health care provider.
Testosterone does repair joint damage. Low levels of testosterone make joint repair more challenging
- An Australian study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, examined the role of low circulating testosterone in men facing total knee replacement found that low testosterone impacted cartilage tissue loss and bone loss.(7)
- In one landmark study from St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College in London, doctors showed how testosterone reversed cartilage damage and reduced proteoglycan (the stuff of connective tissue) loss. It was suggested that testosterone replacement therapy in patients with low testosterone levels may help prevent joint damage and disability.(8)
- Doctors of the Research Program in Men’s Health: Aging and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston University School of Public Health, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that men with androgen deficiency (low testosterone) brought on by overuse of painkillers and other pain medications, showed improvements in pain, sexual desire, body composition, and aspects of quality of life when put on a testosterone replacement program.(9)
The answer is not a balance of painkillers and erectile dysfunction medications: the answer is to fix the joint and get rid of the painkillers and the need for Viagra
Your journey to alleviate your joint pain and the need for “enhancement” formulas begins with an email. Let’s discuss your case:
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