Low T: Frequently Asked Questions
The current recommendation is to treat if you have Low T AND the symptoms of Hypogonadism (see glossary), exceptions might be if you are trying to treat anemia or poor bone density.
No! Oral testosterone can lead to liver damage and is simply not available in the US.
Both can achieve normal levels of testosterone in most men. Short acting shots are less convenient (many trips to the office), but they are inexpensive. Shots may cause higher than normal levels in the first few days, then lower than normal levels towards the end (right before the next shot is due). Short acting intramuscular shots may have a slightly higher risk of developing a high blood count (erythrocytosis – see Glossary). Gels and creams are much more “natural.” They are taken daily and simulate the natural daily cycle of testosterone without the “highs and lows” that may be seen with shots. Not everyone can absorb the gels and get a therapeutic level of testosterone.
Studies are inconsistent about this. Many men report that they have an easier time getting erections, more nighttime erections, and harder erections; however, not everyone sees this improvement.
Taking too much testosterone can cause a rise in your red blood cell count, a risk for stroke or heart attacks. Your doctor will measure your blood count before and after starting therapy. A few men taking testosterone develop breast tenderness or enlargement. The prostate may enlarge and cause urinary symptoms. There is no evidence that testosterone supplements cause prostate cancer. To be safe, your doctor will monitor your prostate exam and PSA blood test before and after treatment. It’s not advised to take testosterone if you have active prostate or breast cancer.
The FDA has issued warnings about the cardiovascular risks associated with testosterone replacement. On the other hand, the guidelines of the American Urological Association state there is no strong evidence that testosterone replacement for Low T will cause clots in legs or change your cardiovascular risk. Stay tuned for more data on this subject.
Risks are higher if you take testosterone without knowing your starting level. To be safe, if you are taking testosterone and experience chest pain, shortness of breath, slurred speech, or weakness on one side of your body, you should call your doctor.
YES! Wash your hands after applying these products. Wait until the gel or cream is fully absorbed through the skin before you contact your wife or children.
Men who have Low T and desire children should NOT receive testosterone products. It can shut down the production of sperm. These men need different medications that stimulate the body to make more of its own natural testosterone. A urologist or endocrinologist can review your options.