The sexual revolution began 50 years ago in August with the first sales of The Pill, which placed the contraceptive burden on women. We can remove that burden from women with safe, effective male medical contraceptives. Is this a move for equality between the sexes? Or are there greater health benefits for the whole nation if men assume responsibility for contraception?
Get the answers in highlights of my radio interview with Michael Applebaum, a medical doctor who specializes in infertility and pregnancy in his Chicago practice.
Why did Dr. Applebaum side with women in the contraceptive battle between the sexes?
It wasn’t a decision to achieve sexual equality. It was because male hormonal contraceptives have enormous health benefits for men and women which could improve the overall national health.
What are some of the health benefits of using male contraceptives?
When men use androgens like testosterone and testosterone derivatives (popularly known as anabolic steroids used by athletes) which are contained in the new male contraceptive, Dr. Applebaum said they experience these benefits:
increasing muscle mass and lean tissue
decreasing body fat percentage
increasing your strength and endurance
improving your blood sugar tolerance
increasing your bone density
helping you think more clearly
having positive affects on the immune system, mood and libido
Boosting libido (sexual desire) is a plus or minus, depending if you have a willing, enthusiastic sexual partner. If not, extra sexual desire becomes a down side.
Using testosterone as a male contraceptive would tilt the balance in favor of NOT developing type II diabetes, not being overweight or obese because of its important effects on body composition in reproductive-aged men.
These positive effects of testosterone supplementation continue as men age. Women would experience similar benefits (if they were given much lower doses than men).
These androgens are the only good substance for re-growing bone in women suffering from osteoporosis. Yet these substances are rarely being made available to women.
Do men take a Pill for their testosterone supplementation?
Men need large doses of testosterone to stop the formation of sperm, a process which takes a couple months. During that induction period, the best way to supply enough testosterone is through injections, administered either by yourself, your partner or a health care practitioner.
Do you recommend that men begin testosterone shots that stop sperm production when they become sexually active?
Dr. Applebaum does not make any such recommendation; he presents the facts and advises men to make their own decisions. The obvious answer of when to begin contraception is when a man becomes sexually active, meaning with a partner, not puberty, and he would like to avoid conception.
The nature of The Anabolic Clinic sm is such that we do not generally see men younger than 26. Dr. Applebaum would not get involved with providing anabolic substances to a young person just reaching puberty.
After the 2-month induction period, how often must men receive shots to maintain the effects?
The anabolic substances available in the USA for contraception are administered weekly. The “induction period” is around 72 days. The number is not fixed as there is some variation among men.
When a man decides he’s ready to father children, what’s the process to start producing sperm again? How long does the process take?
The process is simple – stop the shots. Wait. Fertility generally returns in a few months. If it takes longer, there are a couple options. One can wait a bit more or administer some common medications which can stimulate sperm production. Though nothing is 100 percent, Dr. Applebaum said the data indicate that male contraception is safe and reversible.
Are there any known risks of a young man using this process for decades if he doesn’t want to father children?
The party line is that the long-term effects of testosterone administration are unknown. That is the position Dr. Applebaum will articulate.
It is important to consider for this question and the following that much of the data on anabolic substances are from persons who use them in an uncontrolled setting and in doses far in excess of those used therapeutically. For example, the effects of taking one 325 mg tab of Tylenol are different from taking one pound of 325 mg Tylenols.
Any risks for a man who begins taking these shots in mid-to late life to maintain healthy testosterone levels?
Once again, Dr. Applebaum expresses the party line position that the long-term effects of testosterone administration are unknown. In the shorter term, there are some known effects in older men that need to be watched-out for.
For example, testosterone has been used successfully to treat anemia. It is unlikely for it to cause “too much blood” to form, a condition known as polycythemia, but it can happen. A simple monitoring of the blood count is performed to diagnose this.
The usual remedy is to lower the dose.
With the newer non-injectable preparations, side/adverse effects are generally less.
What is the cost of testosterone shots? Does insurance cover it?
Cost varies as would be expected with dose. (The dose for contraception is pretty standard.)
Testosterone is significantly less expensive than many other medications. Pharmacies vary as to pricing and cost savings can be realized from “shopping around,” self-administration or having another (e.g., significant other, as in “not in the doc’s office”) do the injecting.
For contraception, it is fair to say, that women are ahead when it comes to insurance reimbursement.
Any other insights you’d like to add?
Just want to re-emphasize that in my opinion, anabolic substances can do good for men and women. In addition to male contraception, they have a role to play in keeping people well/independent, in helping persons with catabolic illnesses recover more fully, in matters of body composition and in mood and cognitive disorders.
How would testosterone supplementation improve the overall national health?
We could reverse our current illness epidemic caused by being so unfit as a nation, and we could experience these many health benefits we’ve described.
I’ve read that bio-identical hormone supplementation can protect men and women from cancer and postpone signs of aging like the fountain of youth. Did Dr. Applebaum agree?
He doesn’t subscribe to that theory. He said, “There are no bio-identical hormones because a yam or soybean are not a woman. All hormones are synthetically made.”
He said that the use of hormone supplementation for anti-aging is unproven hype. We didn’t start aging until 200 years ago when humans first started living past the thirties. Only in the last hundred years do we routinely live past the fifties.
Since our experience with aging is remarkably limited, we don’t really know what normal aging is or how to postpone it yet. We don’t know whether giving X hormone or Y hormone is preventing some stuff from progressing but causing other things to progress more quickly. Since it’s all unproven, Dr. Applebaum thinks these anti-aging products are just a marketing scam.
He said that the anti-aging hype diminishes the real value of taking these anabolic androgenic substances, which should be part of a national care program instead of reducing them fashion or to a whimsical substance that only rich people can afford.
Now that we are aware of the health benefits and potential risks of taking anabolic substances, what’s the next step?
Dr. Applebaum advises women to encourage their mate to talk to their physicians about using either the hormonal male contraceptive or testosterone supplementation (if birth control isn’t an issue in your stage of life). What better way is there to show your love than to get someone to try to be healthy?
For your good health, happiness and love,