AndroGel is a transdermal testosterone cream that is primarily used in male hormone replacement therapy (HRT) plans, specifically testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) plans. In recent years AndroGel has become one of the most popular forms of TRT largely due to its mode of administration. The individual simply rubs the cream/gel on their skin once a day and nothing more. Undoubtedly, this has a lot more appeal than injecting testosterone, and while it has more appeal it’s not quite as effective. AndroGel, similar testosterone creams or other transdermal applications will work for many men, but some men will need injectable testosterone. Injectable or transdermal, the hormone is the same.
AndroGel first appeared on the market in 2000 through Unimed Pharmaceuticals and for several years would dominate the transdermal TRT market. However, in 2006 generic transdermal creams were approved by the U.S. FDA most notably by Watson, and this would put a dent in the AndroGel market. However, AndroGel still remains the dominant testosterone cream today.
The effects of AndroGel are very simple and very straightforward. You suffer from low testosterone, you begin using AndroGel and you no longer suffer from low testosterone. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. Look back at the list of low testosterone symptoms; if you suffer from any of those symptoms and they are due to a low testosterone condition, AndroGel will cause those symptoms to vanish. You will see great improvements in your quality of life and all of the following are more than possible (just like using methandrostenolone):
- Improved Sexual Performance
- A Stronger Physique
- A Leaner Physique
- Increased Energy
- Improved Mental Function
- Better Sleep
- A Stronger Immune System
- An Improved Disposition
It’s not that you’ve provided your body something it’s unfamiliar with; your body is very familiar with testosterone. The reason such improvements are noted is because you have brought your testosterone levels back to where they’re supposed to be with AndroGel. In fact, many men report feeling just as good if not better than they did when they were in their twenties. Again, this is not due to the presence of a foreign substance and we only reiterate that because it’s a factor that’s hard for many to understand. AndroGel is simply testosterone, your body needs and wants testosterone and while you no longer produce enough on your own, with AndroGel you now have all you need.
AndroGel is not without possible side effects. The possible side effects of AndroGel are largely the same as any testosterone compound, transdermal or injectable. There is, however, one exception. Because this is a transdermal cream some men report skin irritations at the applied site. This is not possible with injectable testosterone, and if irritation occurs due to AndroGel use this may mean you need to switch to an injectable form.
For the HRT or TRT patient, while there are possible side effects of AndroGel the odds are highly in your favor. Remember, this is not a foreign substance your body is unfamiliar with. Further, in a TRT or HRT plan, you are merely replacing what your body is lacking. You are not introducing a level of testosterone above and beyond what is naturally possible. When it comes to testosterone related side effects, they are most common when supraphysiological doses are used. However, even then, while the risk is greater most men can tolerate high testosterone levels very well. Regardless, side effects of AndroGel are possible. In order to help you understand the possible side effects of AndroGel, we have broken them down into their separate categories along with all the information you’ll need.
Estrogenic: AndroGel does carry with it possible estrogenic related side effects. The estrogenic side effects of AndroGel are due to the testosterone hormone’s ability to convert to estrogen through its interaction with the aromatase enzyme. As estrogen levels rise, this can lead to gynecomastia and excess water retention. Excess water retention can also promote high blood pressure if it gets out of hand.
Due to the possible estrogenic side effects of AndroGel, some men will need an anti-estrogen medication. There are two types of anti-estrogens that can be suitable, Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERM’s) such as Nolvadex (Tamoxifen Citrate) and Aromatase Inhibitors (AI’s) such as Arimidex (Anastrozole). AI’s are the most effective as they inhibit the aromatase process and reduce serum estrogen levels. SERM’s do not inhibit or reduce but rather bind to the receptors preventing estrogen from binding. Unfortunately, AI’s can negatively affect cholesterol. Testosterone can also negatively affect cholesterol but neither AI’s or testosterone appears to have a strong affect in this regard alone. However, when conjoined the negative effect on cholesterol appears to be stronger, especially regarding HDL suppression. Conversely, SERM’s do not have a negative effect on cholesterol. In fact, while anti-estrogens they actually act as estrogen in the liver and have been shown to improve cholesterol levels. SERM’s should be your first choice if they can get the job done. However, some will need an AI and if so they will need to give a little more effort into controlling their cholesterol. Yes, cholesterol control is very possible.
Androgenic: The testosterone hormone is very androgenic, and as a result, the side effects of AndroGel can include those of an androgenic nature. The possible androgenic effects include acne, accelerated hair loss in those predisposed to male pattern baldness and body hair growth. These effects are strongly tied to genetic predispositions. For example, if you are not predisposed to male pattern baldness you cannot lose any of your hair. If you are predisposed the use of AndroGel may speed up your hair loss. You were going to lose the hair anyway, but it may now happen a little sooner.
The androgenic side effects of AndroGel are due to testosterone being metabolized by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. This in turn causes testosterone to reduce to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) where it affects the target tissue in the skin and scalp. For this reason, some men may find the use of a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor such as Finasteride to be useful. This will greatly reduce the androgenicity of the testosterone hormone, not completely but notably.
Cardiovascular: AndroGel can cause cardiovascular strain, practically as we discussed regarding cholesterol. However, while possible it should be very minimal in a healthy adult male, healthy excluding a low testosterone condition. It is, however, important to keep in mind the possible inclusion of an AI to combat estrogenic side effects.
Due to possible cholesterol issues, it is very important the individual lives a cholesterol friendly lifestyle. Even without AndroGel this should be a focus in your life. A healthy lifestyle means limiting saturated fats and simply sugars in your diet. It also means including plenty of omega fatty acids in your diet. Daily fish oil supplementation is recommended. The individual should also ensure he incorporates plenty of cardiovascular training and activity into his routine. Some type of cardiovascular activity daily is recommended.
Testosterone: The use of AndroGel as with most all anabolic steroids will suppress natural testosterone production. For the low testosterone patient this is relatively meaningless; after all, you’re not producing enough testosterone to begin with. For the individual who is using AndroGel for other reasons, once use is discontinued, assuming he did not suffer from a prior low testosterone condition natural testosterone production will begin again on its own. For the low testosterone patient, if use is discontinued you will once again suffer from low testosterone. In most cases, low testosterone treatment is for life. It is rarely possible to reverse a low testosterone condition. It is possible in some cases in a younger man, but most men who are over 40 will need continuous treatment. That may sound annoying but ask yourself this important question. Would you rather treat your low testosterone or would you rather suffer from low testosterone?
Hepatotoxic: AndroGel is not a hepatotoxic anabolic steroid and will present no stress or damage to the liver.
Testosterone Gel Cycles
The recommended starting dose of AndroGel is 5 g once daily to clean, dry, intact skin of the shoulders and upper arms and/or abdomen. AndroGel may interact with insulin, blood thinners, oxyphenbutazone, or corticosteroids. Tell your doctor all medications you use. AndroGel should not be used in women. Women exposed to this medication may have side effects due to testosterone gel. Tell both of your doctors immediately if you notice symptoms in a woman such as changes in body hair or a large increase in acne. Avoid contact with this medication if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. This medication may cause harm to a fetus or breast-feeding baby.