Testosterone gel to help recovery

Health Watch

Doctors are using testosterone gel to help women recover from a hip fracture and come back even better than before.

Joan Mowery hits the gym twice a week. It’s all part of her recovery from a broken hip.

Joan Mowery said, “I might be 79 physically, but mentally, I’m not, and you know, no, this ain’t gonna stop me.”

Each year, 300 thousand Americans break a hip. Seventy-five percent never get back to the function they had before the fracture.

Mowery said, “When I saw the statistics, I was horrified. I really was. 75%? That’s outrageous.”

But that’s not the only grim statistic.

Ellen Binder, MD, Geriatrician, Washington university in St. Louis said, “A significant number of patients do not survive after the hip fracture. There’s about a 25% mortality rate within the first year.”

Doctor Ellen Binder is testing a testosterone supplement with an extended weight-lifting program to improve those odds for women.

Doctor Binder said, “They are getting better. And they are getting stronger.”

Testosterone increases muscle and bone mass. Women use the gel once a day and lift weights twice a week for six months. A pilot study shows this approach improves mobility, lean body mass and strength.

“The functional aspect of this is really the muscles getting stronger; the walking getting better; the balance getting better,” said Doctor Binder.

Joan has already seen the benefit. “Not only am I improving on the side that was fractured. I’m improving all the way around,” said Mowery.

She plans to join her own gym when the study is over. There’s no chance she’ll let herself become a statistic.

“I got too much to do. I’m not done,” said Mowery.

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