Sexual Health Q&A
Testosterone is an important hormone for men. It is responsible for many male features, like muscle mass and facial hair. It also drives a man’s libido. But sometimes, the body does not produce adequate amounts of testosterone. This can happen when there are problems with the testes, the glands that make testosterone. Low testosterone can also result from problems with the hypothalamus or pituitary gland, parts of the brain responsible for triggering testosterone production. In such cases, doctors may prescribe testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
In addition, aging men might consider TRT if they have symptoms of low testosterone, like fatigue, moodiness, weakness, or low sex drive. Such therapy should always be prescribed by a healthcare provider.
See Slide 4 for links the cover the basics of low testosterone along with the benefits and risks of TRT.
Using a testosterone gel is one of the easiest methods for administering TRT. A man can apply the gel to his skin at home as part of his daily routine. After application, the testosterone is absorbed through the skin for the next few hours.
Testosterone gel preparations can come in many forms, including individual packets, pumps, and tubes. You should find clear instructions in the product packaging. Be sure to take the medication exactly as your doctor prescribes it. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Most men apply the gel to their skin once a day, usually in the morning, to their shoulder, upper arm, abdomen, or other area as directed. Here are some guidelines:
- Wash and dry the treatment area first. Many men apply testosterone after they take a bath or shower.
- Apply testosterone to intact skin. Do not use it on skin with cuts, scrapes, or sores.
- Use the exact amount that has been prescribed – no more and no less.
- Allow the gel to dry before getting dressed. This ensures that the gel stays in the application area and does not rub off on your clothes.
- Do not shower or swim for several hours after application. The gel instructions should tell you how long to wait. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Men who use a testosterone gel should keep these precautions in mind:
- Keep the gel in a safe place. Testosterone should be handled by the patient only. Make sure the gel is kept out of reach of children.
- Keep the treated area covered. Other people, especially women and children, should not come into contact with testosterone gel. Wear clothing that completely covers the area.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after using the gel. It is also important to carefully handle fabrics that may have touched the gel, including clothing and bed linens.
Testosterone gel should be used only under the guidance of a doctor. Do not purchase it over the counter or online.
Men who have questions about testosterone gel should talk to their doctor, especially if they feel the therapy is not helping. Sometimes, another method, like injections, is more appropriate.
For more information on testosterone and TRT, please see these links:
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