History of testosterone therapy through the ages

Mary Rostom, Ranjith Ramasamy, Taylor P. Kohn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The symptoms of testosterone deficiency have been known throughout history with evidence dating back to the twenty-first century BCE when men were castrated to be docile and obedient servants. Experimentation ingesting mammalian testicles began during the reign of the Roman empire and continued through the nineteenth century with claims that the substance found within these testicles could improve energy, erectile function, and urination. In the twentieth century, studies transplanting animal testes onto other castrated animals suggested that a substance produced in the testicle was responsible for systemic effects. Then in 1929, Adolf Butendant was the first to isolate testosterone and shortly after synthetic formulations of testosterone were created. While testosterone therapy is an important treatment for testosterone deficiency, the history of testosterone therapy has not been without abuse from doping scandals in the twentieth century and the use of testosterone therapy for conversion therapy and treatment of psychiatric disease. Today, there are clear and appropriate clinical uses of testosterone set by the American Urological Association to treat clinically significant testosterone deficiency. Still, even with such guidelines, the potential for misuse and abuse remains high in physicians and athletes. There is a long history that has led to the development of testosterone therapy and when used appropriately can significantly improve the quality of life for men with testosterone deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Impotence Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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