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Exploring the Ways to Manage Testosterone Gel Side Effects

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Written by- Julian Carter

Testosterone gel is a topical medicine used to treat the symptoms of low testosterone in adult males with Hypogonadism.

Hypogonadism is a health condition where the body does not produce enough testosterone naturally.

In such cases, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) products can be used to increase testosterone production in the body.

Although testosterone gel is an effective TRT method to treat symptoms of low testosterone, it can also have some potential side effects.

This article will explore testosterone gel side effects and ways to prevent them.

Testosterone gel side effects

Testosterone gel is a topical gel used as Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). 

It is applied on the skin to treat low testosterone levels. 

Testosterone is the crucial male sex hormone that regulates secondary sexual characteristics.

Low testosterone levels cause Osteoporosis, Erectile Dysfunction , and low libido.

Osteoporosis- It is defined as the weakening of bones.

It can also lead to weariness and energy loss, Depression, regressive secondary sexual characteristics, and weakened bones.

Testosterone gel and other testosterone replacement supplements can aid in treating the symptoms of low testosterone levels.

This can be done by replacing the natural production of testosterone in the body.

However, testosterone gel might have side effects, some of which are mild, and some are severe.

The side effects of this medication may vary among individuals.

Recommended read: Can Low Testosterone Cause ED?

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Mild side effects of testosterone gel

skin itchingSource: kali9_from_Getty_Images
skin itching(side effect)

At least 1% of people using this medication have reported experiencing at least one of the  side effects listed below. 

  • Skin rashes, itching, or redness where applied
  • Upset stomach
  • Breast pain or enlargement
  • Reduced sexual desire
  • Acne
  • Headache 
  • Baldness, hair thinning, or hair loss

Some of these side effects might go away on their own over time, and many of them are manageable. 

Reach out to your doctor if any of these side effects persist for a long time.

Severe side effects of testosterone gel

Some side effects of testosterone gel can be quite harmful.

Even though most of the adverse effects described below don’t occur frequently, they might have serious implications if you don’t get medical help.

Consult your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following side effects:

  • Reduction in testicle size 
  • Hypertension
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Slow or difficult speaking
  • Chest discomfort
  • Difficulty in urination, frequent urination, poor urine flow, and an urgent desire to urinate immediately
  • Low sperm count

According to a journal published by NIH, elderly people with pre-existing chronic health conditions are more prone to side effects.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a drug safety notification to the manufacturers of testosterone products

It obligates them to include a warning on the product’s labels regarding the increased probability of heart attacks and stroke in older men.

Recommended read: How Is Testosterone Related To Men’s Growth?

Testosterone gel may interact with health conditions like heart problems. Hence, heart patients should use the medication cautiously only after consulting a doctor.

Testosterone gel interactions

doctor holding bladder and kidney diagram hologramSource: oleksandranaumenko
Kidney disease(side effect)

Testosterone gel may interact with certain diseases and medications, thus making your condition worse.

Following medications may interact with testosterone gel:

  • Insulin
  • Warfarin
  • Anticoagulants such as Dexamethasone, Methylprednisolone, and Prednisone

Testosterone gel may also interact with specific health conditions.

These include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lung problems
  • High blood calcium levels
  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Sleep Apnea (momentarily stoppage of breathing during sleep)
  • Diabetes

Blood sugar levels may be influenced by this medication

If you have Diabetes, your doctor might advise you to closely monitor your blood sugar levels while using testosterone gel

How to prevent side effects of testosterone gel

Before trying testosterone gel the following precautions need to be considered to prevent the side effects associated with testosterone gel:

  • Inform your doctor of any allergies to testosterone, other medications, or any of the chemicals in topical testosterone gel
  • Inform your doctor of all prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products that you take or intend to use
  • Inform your doctor if you are suffering from or have any history of prostate or breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer may rise with prolonged testosterone usage
  • Women should avoid using testosterone gel, especially if they are pregnant or breastfeeding It could harm a child’s development, such as making female offspring more masculine
  • Testosterone administered by testosterone gel can increase blood pressure and possible fluid retention in the body

Both disorders can make you more prone to some kind of heart problems

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): It is a health condition in men characterized by the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.


Testosterone gel is a prescribed medication topically used to manage symptoms of low testosterone in males with Hypogonadism.

Besides being an effective Testosterone Replacement Therapy, testosterone gel can lead to a few side effects.

Some of the mild testosterone gel side effects include dizziness, headache, acne, upset stomach, etc.

However, in some rare cases, the use of testosterone gel can lead to serious side effects, such as irregular heartbeat, chest pain, high blood pressure, reduced size of testicles, painful urination, etc.

One can prevent these side effects by adopting some safety measures while taking the medication.

Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking or any underlying health conditions.

To minimize the risk of side effects associated with testosterone gel or any other testosterone products, always consult your doctor before considering them.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can testosterone gel hurt you?

Testosterone gel can lead to side effects, including headache, dizziness, fatigue, acne, hair loss, mood swings, low sexual desire, etc.

What happens if you discontinue using testosterone gel?

When you stop using testosterone gel, your body returns to its pretreatment state.
Many patients report feeling weaker and more exhausted, gaining fat, and losing muscle mass.
Some individuals also report decreased sexual desire and hair loss.

Is testosterone gel safer?

Although testosterone gel is effective in treating symptoms of low testosterone, it can lead to side effects like headache, dizziness, indigestion, and acne.
In extreme cases, it can lead to an irregular heartbeat and painful urination.

Is testosterone gel hard on your liver?

No. Testosterone gel does not affect the liver the way other testosterone products do.

Can testosterone gel be transferred to the wife?

Testosterone gel may spread to women and children after external skin contact with the application site of male users.

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