Testosterone gels and creams are used to treat symptoms of androgen deficiency and low testosterone in men, which may lead to characteristic decreases in energy, metabolism, and sex drive. Like other forms of testosterone injections, testosterone gel can cause side effects in some men. Similar to testosterone patches, these side effects can spread to others through contact with the medication. Understanding the risks can help protect you and your loved ones from the dangers of testosterone gel. The gel is applied topically each day.
Testosterone gels have been associated with a number of side effects, including headaches, dry skin or acne, hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety or depression, muscle pain and weakness, and reduced sperm count. Other, more serious, side effects could include breast pain or enlargement, difficulty or frequently urinating, prolonged or frequent erections, and yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice). Like with all drugs, notify your AAI Rejuvenation Clinic physician immediately if any of these side effects occur. Allergic reactions to testosterone therapy can increase your risk for similar reactions to testosterone gel.
Although testosterone gels do not pose the same risks to the liver as other forms of testosterone therapy, it still may increase your risk for prostate cancer. Therefore, your doctor will assess your prostate cancer risk, which may include a prostate examination and a blood test to measure prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.
Other factors that may prevent you from being a good candidate for the gel include:
• Sleep apnea
• Heart disease
• Breast cancer
• High levels of red blood cells
Similar to testosterone patches, children and women must avoid all contact with the gel. Signs of exposure include increased acne and unusual hair growth. In children, accidental exposure can cause, anxiety and aggression, early puberty, increased sex drive, frequent erections in males, an enlarged clitoris in females, and stunted growth. To avoid exposing your loved ones to these side effects, you should always apply the gel before getting dressed and make sure it is completely dry to avoid transfer to clothing. Once applied, wash your hands thoroughly, and clean the application area if you expect any skin-to-skin contact. If you suspect accidental product contact with a woman or child, make sure that they wash their skin immediately and call your physician.