Testosterone gel is a popular treatment for men struggling with testosterone deficiency (or hypogonadism).
This type of medication is supposed to increase your testosterone levels to make you feel stronger, more sexually active, and more energized – but there is a lot of misinformation about testosterone gel.
You see, this product has caused quite a bit of controversy due to the potential testosterone gel side effects. So that’s why I’ll explain all you need to know about testosterone gel, its benefits, and the potential risks to think about before getting the gel.
You might want to read this before you try testosterone gel.
What is testosterone gel?
Testosterone gel is a specific form of testosterone medication that can be used to help treat certain issues related to testosterone. The most popular brand of gel is Androgel.
As the name suggests, testosterone gel is a gel that contains the male hormone testosterone. This topical medication is administered by rubbing it directly onto your skin. It is most commonly applied to your shoulders, upper arms, or abdomen.
The gel is often considered a safer and more convenient alternative to other testosterone/hormone replacement therapies such as injections or patches.
Suggested read: What are testosterone injections?
Some people use testosterone gel to help enhance the effects of testosterone despite already having healthy amounts of the hormone present in the body. However, most often it’s used to help manage conditions related to a testosterone deficiency called male hypogonadism.
As you grow older your t-levels decrease. This is natural and normal. Male hypogonadism, on the other hand, is an exceptionally low testosterone level caused by more than just this age-related decline.
Hypogonadism occurs when your gonads (testes), hypothalamus, or pituitary gland fail to produce sufficient amounts of testosterone.
The gel was developed to help men who suffer from hypogonadism. This testosterone deficiency can cause a number of serious side effects, and testosterone gel aims to counter those by giving your body more of the hormone.
As ideal as that might sound, there are quite some testosterone gel side effects to bear in mind. But before I’ll explain more about those, let’s have a look at what specific benefits this product offers.
Benefits of testosterone gel
Testosterone gel is considered a milder form of testosterone therapy, and as such, the benefits of the stuff will be less significant than they would be from, say, an injection.
Fortunately, this also means that the testosterone gel side effects are likely to be less severe (although still present; more on that in a bit).
Related article: We love testosterone and so should you!
Those who experience the most benefits from testosterone gel will be men who suffer from hypogonadism. This means that if you already have a relatively normal, healthy balance of testosterone in your body, you might not experience such profound changes by using testosterone gel.
Regardless, these are some of the most prominent benefits associated with testosterone gel and t-level increase in general.
- Improved heart health
Testosterone is highly involved in the maintenance of the health of your heart and helps to ensure that your body produces enough red blood cells. Men who don’t produce enough are more likely to develop heart problems.
Some studies have proven that men who were able to restore their levels to a healthy amount were significantly less likely to have cardiovascular issues like heart attacks or strokes.
- Losing fat & building muscle
This is generally the most common reason that people are interested in testosterone gels and similar therapies. Athletic men, especially bodybuilders, are often interested in maximizing their muscle growth while minimizing their body’s retention of fat.
Men who don’t produce enough testosterone naturally will have a hard time producing enough muscle. Studies have shown that men who don’t make enough testosterone can see a significant improvement to the ratio of muscle mass to body fat from using the gel, though not everyone reports a significant increase in strength.
- Improved bone health
If you don’t produce enough testosterone chances are your bones won’t be as healthy as they could be. This is particularly true for older men. The hormone helps regulate the mineral density in our bones, and as men naturally lose it as they age, so too does their bone density decrease.
Some studies have proven that testosterone therapy can help to increase the strength and durability of bones, as well as decrease the chances of developing issues like osteoporosis.
- Boosts cognitive health
Men who don’t produce enough testosterone may have trouble with their cognitive abilities, and there is some evidence that men with higher t-levels are less likely to develop conditions like Alzheimer’s.
- Improved sexual health
There’s little doubt that men who have more testosterone are usually more sexually active. There is a close link between sexual activity, arousal, and testosterone production.
Older men tend to have decreased levels of the hormone, and as such may have a harder time maintaining an erection or sexual desire. It is known that using testosterone can help to improve sexual desire and performance in men.
- Better emotional stability
Testosterone influences your mood, and many people who struggle with low T are more likely to be depressed, irritable, angry, and tired. These issues don’t tend to happen as severely with the natural age-related decline of testosterone and are mostly associated with hypogonadism.
Fortunately, using testosterone gel can help to restore balance to your emotions and improve your mood. Testosterone therapy has been shown to help many males struggling with hypogonadism.
Now although all these benefits listed above sound amazing, that is only half of the story.
When it comes to hormone replacement therapies like this, for every benefit you can also expect a side effect…
Testosterone gel side effects
While testosterone gels like Androgel might be known for causing some pretty impressive benefits, it’s important to be aware of any potential testosterone gel side effects.
You see, testosterone gel is actually known to cause a relatively high number of side effects, similar to those that are caused by other testosterone-enhancing substances.
So even though this gel is often seen as a safer alternative compared to injections, it still poses a lot of risks, dangers, and potentially harmful side effects.
Some of the most common testosterone gel side effects are:
- Nausea, vomiting, and other issues of digestive upset
- Premature hair loss or increased hair growth in different areas on the body
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in libido – some find that they become hyper-sexualized, others notice a significant decrease in their sexual desire
- Redness, swelling, itchiness, burning, or hardening of the skin in areas where the testosterone gel is used
- Changes to skin tone and color in areas of the skin where the gel is worn
- Changes to the breasts – studies have shown that men may find that they begin to grow larger breasts
- Changes to mood and temperament – some become more aggressive, irritable, easily upset, or depressed
These side effects from testosterone gel use tend to increase in intensity and frequency the more gel a person uses and the longer that they use it for.
It’s also important to let your doctor know and seek medical advice if you have had any negative experiences with other prescriptions or the ingredients included in these products, such as dyes. This can help to prevent any unwanted reactions.
Testosterone gel risks
Aside from the side effects listed above, there are some additional, long-term risks you need to take into consideration as well as potential risk factors.
First of all, using this gel may increase your risk of getting prostate cancer. Furthermore, other risks associated with testosterone gel may include:
- Heart disease
- Sleep apnea
- Breast cancer
- High levels of red blood cells
An additional risk that comes with the use of the gel is the risk it may pose to people close to you. Women who come into contact with the application site, or through clothing, may experience (minor) side effects. These side effects may include unusual hair growth or increased ane.
For children who accidentally come into contact with the application site or the gel, similar side effects may occur. However, they may be more severely affected and show symptoms such as:
- Premature puberty
- Increased aggression
- More anxiety
- Raised sex drive
- An abnormal amount of erections in boys
- A larger clitoris in girls
If you do plan on using the gel you should always take precautions to ensure that you do not come into contact with anyone else. If you do happen to get in contact you should straight away seek medical advice.
Testosterone gel vs testosterone injections
There are many different ways to go about hormone replacement therapy.
Even though gels are relatively popular they do offer risks (as we’ve seen) and many people still prefer depo-testosterone injections. However, these pose dangers as well.
Suggested read: What is depo-testosterone?
Below, I’ll give you a short overview of the different pros and cons when comparing testosterone gel and depo-testosterone.
Let’s start with the pros of the gel:
- It is a milder form of therapy and thus will be less likely to cause serious side effects.
- It is often easier to acquire than testosterone made for injecting.
- It does not require that you actually use a needle, which can cause issues such as infections.
On the other hand, there are cons to consider as well:
- For starters all the risks and side effects listed above
- An additional con compared to injections is the fact that the therapy is milder. This means that men with healthy levels of testosterone may not experience many benefits from it.
Now let’s compare it to testosterone injections.
First the pros:
- They are generally much stronger than gels, and can, therefore, provide significant effects in people with healthy testosterone levels.
- They are likely more effective for building muscle mass.
- Some people are able to source their injectable steroids without a prescription, thus making them more affordable than the cost of a gel such as Androgel.
And now the cons:
- Testosterone injections are much more likely to cause serious side effects (even more so than the ones listed for the gel).
- Injecting anything can lead to infections of the blood, scabbing, and scarring if not done properly.
As you can see, both have their pros, but at the end of the day, both may cause many negative side effects as well.
Natural alternative solutions
If all of the risks associated with testosterone therapy seem a bit much for you, don’t worry – there are ways to boost your testosterone naturally. Some of these methods involve simply changing your diet, others are lifestyle changes that may take some time and dedication to implement.
One easy and effective way to naturally boost your testosterone levels is by taking a testosterone booster supplement, such as TestoGen.
TestoGen is 100% natural and does not pose any risks or side effects, making it a safe and legal alternative to some of the more invasive medical procedures described above.
For example, TestoGen contains a high dose of zinc, which is one of the most important minerals for managing testosterone levels and sexual health. Aside from that, it contains ten other scientifically-backed, natural ingredients that can help raise your testosterone levels.
For more information check out the TestoGen website.
- Exercise more
While many men use testosterone therapy to enhance the effects of their workout, this works the other way, too: working out and lifting weights actually boosts testosterone.
If you are not a very active person and have low testosterone, this could be why.
- Avoid stress
Stress causes the body to produce more cortisol, a hormone that can interfere with the beneficial aspects of testosterone.
Men who live high-stress lives may have more cortisol and thus feel the need to supplement with testosterone.
Testosterone gel is one of the milder forms of hormone therapy, but it still carries with it some risks.
Men who struggle with low testosterone levels may find that testosterone gel or similar substances can help them improve their overall well-being, but at what cause?
With many potential side effects – including the risks for your loved ones – it might be better to find an alternative solution.
Luckily, there are multiple natural ways in which you can safely raise your t-levels, without having to worry about any potential side effects.
Whether it’s making healthy lifestyle changes or speeding up the process by taking dietary supplements. At the end of the day, what’s more important than your health?