Hormone therapy lowers levels of testosterone and other male sex hormones (androgens). As a result, many men treated with hormone therapy experience side effects like impotence and a decreased desire to have sex. Many men treated with hormones also have side effects similar to those that women experience during menopause, including:
- Hot flashes with severe sweating
- Growth of breast tissue
- Weight gain
- Loss of muscle mass
- Osteopenia or osteoporosis (bone thinning), which can cause broken bones
- Anemia (an abnormally low level of red blood cells), which can make you feel tired
The risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart attacks is also higher in men treated with hormone therapy.
Your doctor can help prevent or treat many of these side effects using the following approaches:
- Antidepressants, a drug called gabapentin (Neurontin), and progesterone such as megestrol acetate (Megace, Ovaban, Pallace) may treat hot flashes.
- A small amount of radiation therapy to the breasts may prevent them from growing, although this is not usually done with standard hormone therapy.
- Medications called bisphosphonates, such as alendronate (Fosamax) and zoledronic acid (Zometa), as well as another type of treatment called denosumab (Prolia) may treat osteoporosis.
- Antidepressants and counseling may treat depression.
- Exercise may stop weight gain, prevent bone and muscle mass loss, and reduce fatigue.