“Do you feel abnormally fatigued these days? High levels of stress with low productivity or you’re mostly just in a terrible mood for days on end? Do you feel your libido fading away and your health deteriorating? We hate to break it to you, but most probably your T-levels are on the decline! Not to worry – we have the perfect answer for you: Testosterone Replacement Therapy!”
If this just looks like one of those ads that pop-up on your browser windows uninvited, that’s because it actually is. Testosterone Replacement Therapy has been one of the hottest topics up for discussion in recent years. When it first came into light, it gave many promises to those who’d lost hope of having a normal life. But on the other side, there have been a lot of pharmaceutical companies and marketing efforts who tried to exploit the trend to get more sales, which resulted in many misconceptions around the therapy.
So what is Androgel for Testosterone Replacement Therapy? How does it work? Does it really work, or is it too good of a price to pay when compared to its side effects? In this article, you’ll learn everything you would need to know before deciding if this therapy is right for you.
What’s Androgel for testosterone replacement therapy?
Before TRT, some serious symptoms where T-levels were abnormally low went without treatment, and those suffering had to endure a life that’s way below the normal standards. Androgel walked into the scene and got approved by the FDA in 2006 to be used as a Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) for treatment of low T-levels. For the sake of us all being on the same page, let’s explain in more detail the importance of testosterone, what the signs of low T-levels are, and how TRT can save the day.
How Androgel can treat low testosterone levels
A testosterone level normally starts declining with age. But when it comes to abnormal reduced levels, there are two reasons why testosterone can start declining. Those either happen as a result of dysfunction in the way the brain signals the testicles to produce testosterone or due to a malfunction in the testes resulting in its inability to produce enough testosterone.
After years of clinical research and trials in real-life cases, the results show how Androgel is pretty effective in treating low levels of T, otherwise known as Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). As explained on https://rupharma.com/androgel, from the results of a clinical trial performed to assess the efficacy of Androgel topical application, out of 274 men who’d undergone the trial, 82% of those who were on Androgel had their T-levels restored to normal, as opposed to 37% who were on placebo. Many other clinical trials have come to the same conclusion: Androgel promises a real solution to restore, or even raise, the testosterone levels to the normal range.
Why testosterone is really important
Testosterone is the main male sex hormone, basically, it’s the hormone that gives men all of their manly characteristics. In the earlier years of adolescence, it’s responsible for the development of the male reproductive system. During and after puberty, it’s the main hormone responsible for the strong muscle mass, deep voice, facial and bodily hair, libido and sexual performance. So as you can see, it’s pretty critical for men.
Signs & symptoms of low testosterone
You can only make sure that T-levels are low through a blood test which confirms the diagnosis, but there are some key signs and symptoms that could make you suspect that your testosterone levels are falling short. These symptoms can manifest as:
- Decreased libido
- Spontaneous ejaculation or erectile dysfunction
- Prolonged fatigue and exhaustion
- Irritability, anxiousness, and/or depression
- Decreased muscle mass
- Increased body fat
- Decreased bone density
This doesn’t mean that whenever these symptoms are present that it’s due to low T-levels, neither does it dictate that a TRT is necessary for you. The only way you can know for sure is through consulting with your primary care physician.
Misconceptions and misguided marketing
TRT got a bad reputation ever since the treatment got misused. Think of it this way; If there was a way to increase the levels of testosterone in the body, imagine all of the benefits you can have. Bodybuilders can use it as a way to increase their muscle mass and strength, basically the same concept associated with using anabolic steroids. Older men who’ve started suffering from a decline in T-levels can restore it using the therapy. Some use it to lose weight or get more energy. Although these uses are not what Androgel was approved for, misguided marketing opened the door for every other use. And along came the unguided potential for abuse, which is where it all started going downhill.
First off, Androgel is a controlled substance. That means that you need a doctor’s prescription to get your hands on it, but that doesn’t happen with every off-label use. People seeking those benefits had to find another way to get the extra boost of testosterone, and the result was using products that are neither regulated nor guaranteed. Such products can have additional amounts of the active substance or extra active ingredients that aren’t present on the label. In addition to that, they don’t have a physician closely following up on them or their use (or misuse) of the products, which is why they wouldn’t notice the detrimental side effects until it’s too late.
This off-label abuse of the product manifested as serious side effects. Under no guided or scrutinized watch, strokes, heart problems, shrunken testicles, prostate cancer, and, ironically enough, low T-levels, have all been reported as side effects. But again, that doesn’t happen if you’ve been closely following up with your doctor and doing the blood tests they order.
When your primary care physician suspects that you might be suffering from low T-levels and confirms the diagnosis using a blood test, they’ll discuss some options with you. Sometimes, there are other options available other than a TRT. But if using Androgel is your best option, your doctor will keep a very close and regular watch on your T-levels and your bodily functions to interfere with the therapy if it was proven wrong for you.
How to use Androgel?
Your doctor will also give you some instructions as to how to apply Androgel, precautions you need to take care of for the duration of treatment, and possible hazards and side effects you should keep a lookout for.
Method of application
Androgel is a gel that comes in two forms, either in packets or in a pump. Except for the first step, the following steps should be followed whenever applying Androgel:
- Priming the Pump – Before using the pump for the first time, you’ll need to prime it. You can do that through pressing the pump slowly and make sure you go all the way down. Repeat that for three times. Do not use the gel that comes out with the first three times of priming, and make sure you dispose of it properly so no one else would come into contact with it. The best thing you can do is to wash it down the sink. You don’t have to repeat the priming steps every time you use Androgel, now your pump is ready to use.
- Apply for a Clean and Dry Area – Before applying any of the gel, you need to make sure the area of application is clean and dry. Take good care of never applying the gel on an area that contains any broken skin, either.
- Where to Apply – Whether you’re using a pump or packets, you’ll first apply the gel onto your palms and then rub them on the designated area. The areas where you should rub the gel are your shoulders and upper arms. You shouldn’t apply any Androgel on your chest, armpits, stomach, penis, scrotum, knees, forearms, face, or any other area of your body. After applying the gel and leaving it to dry up, you should wear at least a short-sleeved t-shirt to avoid transferring the gel by physical contact onto anyone else’s skin.
- Dosage – Depending on your needs, your doctor may prescribe different doses and instructions for application that are different than whatever you read online. The quantity will be different depending on whether you’re using a pump or a packet, and you might come across different versions of Androgel, each containing a different concentration. To know the exact dose and quantity you need to apply whether from a packet or a pump, follow the instructions of your doctor.
- Disposing of the Packet/Bottle – After applying the gel, make sure of disposing the packet, safely in the trash can away from the reach of any children or any accidental exposure. Afterwards wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately.
- Cleaning Up after the Gel Dries Up – You should wait for the gel to dry up before putting on any clothes, which usually takes a few minutes. When the gel has dried up, wear a short-sleeve shirt that properly covers the area that’s been exposed to the gel.
Precautions in using Androgel
What you need to keep in mind at all times is that Androgel can be transferred through physical contact. In case the gel hadn’t dried up yet after application, you need to take very good care not to transfer it to anyone else. As the main ingredient of Androgel is Testosterone, a strong hormone, it can cause serious physiological disturbances to those who shouldn’t be subjected to it, such as:
- Women in general
- Pregnant women in specific, as it can harm both the woman and the baby
- Men with prostate cancer
- Men with heart, kidney, liver, or prostate problems, or those with any medical condition in general
- Anyone else who shouldn’t be on testosterone replacement therapy.
As such, any clothes, gadgets, or materials that came in contact with the gel in any way should be thoroughly washed with soap and water right away. They should also be kept away out of the reach of children. Empty bottles and packets should be discarded of properly and safely. As for the bottle in current use, it should be safely hidden out of children’s reach, too.
You should also pay conscious effort to the fact that Androgel is flammable when it’s still wet, due to the presence of alcohol as an ingredient. That means that you shouldn’t go for a smoke or approach any open fire until it has dried out. Otherwise, you’ll be exposing yourself and those around you to serious damage. As it is with every other drug, before starting on Androgel, you should tell your doctor if you’re currently following any other kind of medication.
Possible side effects
As we’ve mentioned earlier, Androgel is very effective when it comes to restoring low T-levels to their normal range, but there are some side and adverse effects you should keep an eye out for just in case. You need to contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following side effects:
- Pain in the legs and/or lungs, which could indicate a blood clot.
- Swelling in the legs, knees, or ankles.
- Pain in the breast, maybe even enlargement of the breasts.
- Worsening of a benign (non-cancerous) prostate enlargement.
- Having sleep troubles, which could manifest as an inability to breathe while sleeping (also known as sleep apnea).
While there are many misguided marketing efforts and some lacking online resources which can give you the feeling that you need to start on Androgel for Testosterone Replacement Therapy, only your doctor can decide if it’s right for you. After confirming low T-levels through a blood test, the doctor will discuss with you your options and whether TRT is really the best course of action. TRT has got a bad reputation due to its off-label misuse, but if combined with constant checkups and usage of legit and approved products, it can do miracles that no other medication can achieve.