Are Testosterone Gels for Men Safe Or Effective?

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Testosterone is a hormone that plays a vital role in men’s health. Over time, or through various conditions, the testicular ability to produce testosterone declines, or fails, leaving men with less than optimal levels. Testosterone gels for men, natural testosterone boosters, injections and patches are available to treat low levels. What Are Testosterone Gels? Testosterone gels are a topical treatment used to treat low testosterone, hypogonadism, male menopause or andropause, and are only available through a prescription. The gel is applied transdermally and the manufacturer’s recommendation is to apply it in the morning for maximum efficiency. It is not recommended for men who have less than optimal levels simply through the aging process. It is also not recommended for guys under the age of eighteen.

The unique aspect of testosterone gels is its ability to inadvertently spread to other people who come in contact with the medication. Women and children can experience side effects if they come in direct skin-to-skin contact with the gel itself or with someone who has applied the gel. Symptoms of elevated hormone levels in women and children include deepening of their voice, excessive hair growth, male-pattern baldness, irregular periods or cessation of the menstrual cycle, increased aggression and increased acne.

How do Testosterone Gels for Men Work?

The gel is believed to increase testosterone levels by releasing a steady dose of testosterone when applied transdermally. Gels are considered relatively new to the market, only introduced to the US market in 2000. The gel is only available as a brand name and must be prescribed by a doctor. These gels are more expensive than other available options like natural testosterone boosters, patches and injections.

While gels were developed to create a solution that is less invasive than the injection, it can be easily transferred to others if the utmost care is not exhibited. It is essential to take every precaution necessary in order to not transmit the gel to others who would come in direct contact with the gel user. It can spread to a spouse or significant other through a good morning hug, co-workers when shaking hands or to children when getting them ready for school.

Where Can You Get Testosterone Gels?

They are available through a prescription by a licensed physician. The two most commonly prescribed gels are AndroGel and Testim. AndroGel was developed by Solvay Pharmaceuticals, a Brussels-based pharmaceutical company, and approved for use by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. Abbott Laboratories purchased the drug from Solvay in 2010 and quickly pumped millions into marketing the drug to men with low testosterone levels.

However, within two years of the drug flooding the market, doctors started raising warnings about the multitude of side effects occurring with its use. It is important to understand the risk and magnitude of side effects related to using this method of treatment.

What Are the Side Effects?

One of the biggest and most egregious risks in using prescription gels is an increase in life-threatening events such as blood clots, stroke and heart attack. Abbott is facing a multitude of lawsuits relating to these events. The use of testosterone gels can also cause swelling from the buildup of bodily fluids (edema), which can cause congestive heart failure and erythrocytosis, which is a dangerous level of red blood cells. Other common side effects reported are reduced sperm count, increased or decreased libido, mood changes, hot flashes, dry skin or acne, insomnia, muscle weakness and/or muscle pain, and anxiety and depression.

More serious side effects can comprise of enlarged breasts in men, breast pain, frequent or prolonged erections and yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice). Allergic reactions also occur, symptoms of an allergic reaction are hives, shortening of breath, difficulty breathing, swelling, tightening of the throat and airways and anaphylactic shock.

Are Gels Effective?

While there are some limited studies that show gels are effective in restoring testosterone levels, anecdotal evidence tells a different story. Many who have tried the gels were disappointed in their outcome. This may be that testosterone gel, applied to the skin, is not a form of testosterone the body recognizes or metabolizes correctly.

There are other safer treatment options on the market that work with the body’s system to safely increase testosterone levels. Natural testosterone boosters are a much safer option. These natural supplements work better, have fewer side effects and are a more cost-effective option.

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