When talking about men, castration means the deactivation or removal of the testes. Castrations are performed on men to treat some cancers and hormone related issues. Testes produce androgen hormones like testosterone that are responsible for sexual desire and male characteristics. They also happen to feed some cancers and often, removal is the only way to rid your body of the disease. Testicular cancer is the main reason for castration but it is also used as treatment for testicular torsions, straddle injury, gender reassignment, prostate cancer and controlling the urges of serial sex offenders. By removing the testes you are taking away the source of the disease. Castration and testosterone therapy have a close relationship so you will likely need to undergo testosterone replacement therapy once you have recovered from your illness.
There are two type of castration, one of them lasts forever and the other is reversible. They are known as surgical castrations and chemical castrations. You may be given a choice depending on your circumstance.
Surgical castration, also known as an orchiectomy, means that one or both testes are surgically removed. It’s permanent and many men ask to be fitted with prosthetic testicles, in the same way a women who has a mastectomy might have breast reconstruction. Surgical castration is normally only used on patients with testicular cancer, testicular torsions and those where there is no other choice. The good thing about this is that the chances of the cancer reoccurring are limited due to the removal of the source. (click here to learn about pros and cons of surgical castration)
Chemical castration means that the testes (or ovaries) remain but their function is halted. The level of chemical castration is maintained by injecting anti-androgens every few months. The procedure is not permanent and in recent years it has replaced surgical castration as a preferred treatment. Once the cancer treatment is finished, your testes can start producing hormones again. It’s preferred by many people as the man’s appearance stays the same and there is no need for prosthetics. There’s also no need to undergo surgery. (click here to learn about pros and cons of surgical castration)
Both forms of castration can have a profound effect on a man’s life. Without functioning testes the body cannot produce Androgen hormones like testosterone. This means leading a life of infertility and limited sexual activity. After such a sudden change in hormone production it’s very normal to experience depression and mood swings. Other side effects can include weight gain, loss of body and muscle strength, bone density changes, osteoporosis and hair loss. Using testosterone replacement therapy is an essential part of castration recovery and with the right amount of testosterone therapy a man can lead a normal sexual life, all be it a sterile one. Hormone replacement therapy will also generally ease the depression and mood swings and take care of the other side effects of castration.
To find out more on castration procedures, side effects and the role of testosterone in men please download this free booklet. If you have any further questions feel free to contact Saul directly at [email protected]
NOTE: Depression can be caused by low testosterone levels but it can also be a psychological consequence. This is especially true when talking about men who have suffered surgical castration. Please speak to your doctor if you are worried about depression.