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Sometimes a man becomes sick. This causes his testosterone levels to drop. He feels weak. He is unhappy. With Androgel, a gel applied to his skin, he raises his testosterone to normal levels. Unlike shots, it involves no blood or pain.
Androgel is expensive.
It is annoying to use each day.
It can be inconvenient.
Note 2: I used Androgel for four months. I switched away from it (to injections) because of its cost.
Androgel comes in small foil packets that you tear open. Then you apply the gel to various parts of your body—not your private parts. I applied the gel mainly to my back and abdominal regions. Please follow the patient information.
1. Take a shower.
You are hopefully doing this regularly.
It is an important first step with Androgel.
2. Dry yourself. You do not want to be wet when you apply Androgel to your body. Do not apply anything that stays on your skin.
3. Apply Androgel as indicated. Usually the thighs, back, upper arm, chest and stomach and shoulders are used.
4. Wait for it to dry. This does not take long—at most this will require a few minutes. It depends on the temperature.
5. Wash your hands. This is important to avoid spreading Androgel to those you touch. It is particularly harmful to pregnant women.
6. Put your clothes on. It is best to wear clothes unless you have a good reason to be naked at this point.
I found Androgel to be convenient and much less painful than testosterone injections. It actually seemed to give me a more even feel of the testosterone therapy. It did not feel bad to me to have the gel on my skin. It was invisible.
However: Androgel did cause some problems away from home. It has to be applied every day and you should take a shower before applying it.
Some problems. I remember I was starting an exercising program at the time to lose weight. I used to do some cardiovascular exercise like use the treadmill after I applied the Androgel.
Then: I avoided taking a shower and cleaning myself off. I had previously applied Androgel and I didn't want to waste it.
Cost is a concern with Androgel. At the time, Androgel cost over $200 a month to use for me. Due to my health insurance situation, I switched to testosterone cypionate injections (Depo-Testosterone). These were much less expensive.
Current cost of Androgel in 2012 1 box (30 50mg packets): $368.97
Note: Obviously, paying for Androgel is something that will be different for each person trying to use it.
Overall: Testosterone cypionate is probably a money-saving proposition for men with low T.
Androgel has a strong smell. It contains alcohol as well as the medication. The smell of Androgel is what I remember most about it. I stopped taking it years ago. The smell will remain in my memory much longer.
During application. The smell of Androgel is the strongest during the application. You are supposed to put Androgel only on certain body parts. Please check your instruction sheet. It smells like rubbing alcohol or alcohol rubbing pads.
After application. Does the smell of Androgel persist after you put it on? Once it dries, it does not smell much. It is almost odorless. It is unlikely anyone will notice the smell of Androgel.
Note: No one spent a lot of time smelling me to determine my body odors. This was probably for the best.
My top tip for using Androgel: make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after application. I recommend soap and water. A moisturizing lotion is helpful. Alcohol has a drying effect on the skin.
Also: Using a lotion will reduce any possible odors and keep your hands in better condition.
I switched to Depo-Testosterone after several months partly due to cost. Injectable testosterone has many other drawbacks. The smell of Androgel, though memorable, is not a big deal. It is not noticeable.Testosterone Injection
I gained weight when I used Androgel. My doctor prescribed it for low testosterone levels. Over the first two months of treatment, I gained around 10 pounds. Is Androgel weight gain a good thing?
This part explains why Androgel causes weight gain.
It gives one man's experience.
The weight I gained on Androgel was not body fat for the most part. I likely lost a bit of body fat. I did not carefully measure. I was overweight when I began Androgel and still overweight when I ended Androgel.
However: I had more muscle mass at the end of treatment, even if it was still covered in fat mass.
Why does it cause weight gain? Androgel is TRT, testosterone replacement therapy. When a hypogonadal man increases his testosterone to normal limits, his muscles enlarge. Other things happen.
Changes: He may grow more body hair and have more sweat and body odor. Hypogonadism often causes dry skin and muscle atrophy.
Androgel increases appetite. This will increase muscle mass (and body fat) in most cases. I remember being hungrier after I started taking Androgel. It was an interesting experience all around.
Androgel causes weight gain. This is likely the good kind of weight gain. It reflects an increase in muscle mass. Androgel will increase your hunger and the amount of food you eat.
Note: At normal dosages Androgel does not usually cause water retention. It simply brings up your testosterone to normal levels.
Natural bodybuilding is healthy. Sometimes men have low testosterone levels from disease or the aging process. Androgel helps these men. It can also help these men achieve their bodybuilding goals.
Note: Androgel is useful for bodybuilding if you have low testosterone. It is not useful for healthy men.
Men with low testosterone. Androgel often increases a man's testosterone levels to the normal, healthy range. At this range, it is possible to build more muscle and strength. Androgel will not increase T to extreme levels.
Androgel won't benefit a healthy man in bodybuilding. It will only benefit a man with low testosterone. This is because anabolic steroids like Androgel are detected by the pituitary gland.
The pituitary, detecting high androgen levels, sends fewer messages to your body to make testosterone. Thus Androgel shuts off your natural testosterone production. It will cause testicular atrophy.Testicular Shrinkage
Tip: Androgel will not help men with normal testosterone levels gain muscle. In theory it will cause no benefits or negatives.
Androgel cannot be abused in the same way injectable testosterone is. Abusing testosterone for bodybuilding is an unhealthy activity. I do recommended it. Androgel has benefits only for men with low testosterone levels.
I took Androgel for a few months several years ago. I could definitely feel the effects. It made me more interested in working out. This perhaps was its most important benefit: a renewed interest in physical exercise.
And: Androgel caused no rapid, obvious muscle mass growth. Overall I did gain weight and muscle size.
But: I also gained body fat. It is a lot easier for me to gain muscle mass when I am healthy.
For bodybuilding, Androgel increases testosterone but not to levels that are useful for those with normal testosterone levels. For men with hypogonadism (low testosterone), Androgel will help with bodybuilding goals.
Tip: Being healthy is much more important than using steroids. It leads to better results in every aspect of your life.
How do you feel on testosterone injections versus daily Androgel usage? I found that injections did have more variation in my mood. I tended to feel great right after the injection.
Then: My mood would drop gradually until the next injection. With Androgel my feelings were more stable.
And: With Androgel, there was really no variation throughout the week or even the days.
Blood tests. I never had my blood tests done while taking Androgel. I had my T level checked at the laboratory while taking Depo-Testosterone. It was 890. This was out of the reference range of 241-827.Low Testosterone
Medical research compares Androgel to intramuscular testosterone—such as testosterone cypionate. One study indicates that injections caused greater variations in testosterone levels than Androgel.
Peak levels of testosterone were much greater for injections. The dosage of injections was between 100-200 mg. Shots were administered each week. The dosage of Androgel was between 5-10 g per day.
Peak levels of serum-free testosterone concentrations were significantly greater after IM testosterone than after Androgel.... In addition, the peak-trough fluctuation in free testosterone was significantly greater after IM than Androgel.Safety and efficacy of testosterone gel
With testosterone, the best level is therapeutic. At this level, you are considered in the ideal range. In the study, only half of men treated with injections reached this level. With Androgel, more than 80% reached this level.
The percentage of patients who achieved therapeutic serum concentrations was 50% during [injections] and 83% during Androgel therapy.
I used Androgel for several months. I found it helpful. I was suffering from a variety of serious medical problems at a young age. Androgel, as my endocrinologist said, gives a "kick in the pants."
I recommend Androgel as a fellow patient to every man who has tested low on testosterone. It is easy to use. It is not painful. If it doesn't help you, it is easy to stop. You can move to shots later if needed.
There are alternative ways to increase your testosterone levels. These approaches are proven in medical research. But they will not have the same dramatic effect that Androgel or Depo-Testosterone have.
And: The effect will be much subtler. If you do not have low testosterone, these approaches might be better.Increase Testosterone
Specifically: These articles provide detailed information about approaches to increase T without drugs.Fenugreek Seed Garlic Coffee
Axiron is another testosterone replacement gel for men. It is named Axiron because it is applied to the axilla—the armpit region. This has some advantages. It is also profitable for the drug company selling it.Axiron
I found Androgel to be an excellent medication. It was effective. It was fairly convenient. It was not even painful to use. Androgel was, however, more of a burden on my finances. This led to my discontinuation of it.
Thus: I recommend Androgel to any man testing low for testosterone as testosterone replacement therapy.