Vitalism Signs

By Rebecca Koch

WARNING: The following information is real. I am not making it up. My commentary is in bold.

“Start your day with AXIRON—the only underarm testosterone treatment.” (Yes, you read that correctly; it’s verbatim from the ad. I had no idea it was possible for underarms to suffer from a testosterone deficiency. Live and learn.)

“INDICATION: AXIRON is used to treat adult males who have low or no testosterone. AXIRON is not intended for use in women (Oh yeah, like at my age I need testosterone to help me grow more facial hair) or anyone under 18 years of age (Good thing, too, because testosterone is a controlled substance, after all, and teenaged boys already have alarmingly unrestricted access to their own internal supply of it). It is not known if AXIRON is safe and effective in children younger than 18 years old (not even if you think your young son isn’t sufficiently manly, or your young daughter wants to be a Viking for Halloween).”

“IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR AXIRON:

What is the most important information I should know about AXIRON?

AXIRON can transfer from your body to others … if other people come into contact with the area where the AXIRON was applied (Don’t cradle your kids or grandkids; keep reading to find out why). Signs of puberty that are not expected (for example, pubic hair) have happened in young children who were accidentally exposed to testosterone through skin-to-skin contact with men using topical testosterone products like AXIRON. Women and children should avoid contact with the unwashed or unclothed area where AXIRON has been applied (or have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do at the Brazilian wax center).”

OK, then. Let's say you’re a guy who’s worried you might have low testosterone, but have read on the WebMD website that “it’s normal for testosterone levels to drop as men age.” How do you know you need it?

“Low testosterone is defined as less than 300 nanograms per deciliter of blood (OK, good. There’s a number attached; that makes it all scientific-y). The symptoms of low testosterone include low sex drive (Yes, heaven knows society needs more 50 to 80-year-olds with the sex drive of teenagers), erectile dysfunction (since there are so few options available for THAT, as we know from all those Viagra, Cialis and Levitra commercials on television), mood problems (for real, since we know that only “hormonal” women have problems with mood; if a guy’s a real crab, it must be low T), fatigue (Lord, it’s been a long day—break me off a piece of that testosterone!), and sleep disturbances (including sleep apnea; oh, wait … the irony alert just went to red: Axiron can cause one of the symptoms it’s meant to treat). Of all men with below-normal testosterone levels, about one-half to two-thirds report symptoms (not after this drug hits TV advertising; it’s guaranteed that’ll increase along with the number of men being tested for low T).”

Here’s the good news, though: Axiron instructions call for users to “prime the pump (like that phrase won’t cause some snickering) by discharging it three times into the sink or toilet (And then, of course, you must immediately wash everything down with soap and water because this stuff has staying power).” And here’s that good news: We’ll eventually have a bunch of pharmaceutical testosterone in our drinking water to counteract all the estrogen-mimicking chemicals in the environment and yet another ingredient in the contaminant soup our drinking water is turning into. The makers of Axiron are instructing users to dispose of meds in a way we know to be polluting our formerly pure drinking water.

And, here’s more good news! You know how testosterone is a controlled substance that has been shown to cause rage reactions (it is, after all, an anabolic steroid, right)? And how men who take too much of it for too long have irreversible “significant shrinkage” effects? Here’s a summary of the dosage instructions: One swipe under one arm equals 30mg, two swipes under each arm equals 60mg … and, well, you get the picture. Talk about precision in delivery systems! No chance for the “if a little’s good, a lot must be better” mentality to lead to abuse with that kind of accuracy, is there? 

The rest of the good news is that the era of gender discrimination against men as hormone replacement guinea pigs is now over. Even though the medical community admittedly knows little to nothing about the long-term effects of either the “condition” of normal age-related low testosterone OR the long-term effects of replacing it, the drug companies have the nod to go full steam ahead with low T therapies. There may be evidence to show that diabetes, obesity and heart disease are associated with low testosterone, but there’s nothing to show whether low T results in any of those conditions, and there’s reason to suspect those conditions don’t cause low T. But, it doesn’t matter; the appearance of a relationship is enough to market hormone treatments for men. Just as women were sold for five decades on the idea that natural aging was a condition that required hormone therapy, men will make a great target for the next 50 years of mass experimentation.

You’ve come a long way, fellows.