Androgel. I used to rub Androgel onto my back. It smelled like alcohol. My doctor, an endocrinologist, prescribed it for low testosterone.
It worked well. I had more energy and my depression was improved. My erections became firmer. I was able to lift more weight. I felt like a healthy man.

And:I have not used testosterone in many years. But I feel it permanently changed my body to make me more athletic. It was a huge benefit.

Pictures:The pictures were taken many years after I used Androgel. But my muscles are partly due to how Androgel affected me.

A story. Sometimes a man becomes sick. This causes his T levels to drop. He feels weak. He is unhappy. With Androgel, a gel applied to his skin, he raises his testosterone to normal levels.

Note:Unlike shots, Androgel involves no blood or pain. It 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.

An introduction. 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. Here are some tips.

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.

Convenient. I found Androgel to be convenient and less painful than testosterone injections. It actually seemed to give me a more even feel of the testosterone therapy.

Info:It did not feel bad to me to have the gel on my skin. It was invisible. It did not itch.

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 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. This is a concern with Androgel. At the time I was taking it, Androgel cost too much each month for me to use. So I had to discontinue it.

Injections:Due to my financial situation, I switched to testosterone cypionate injections (Depo-Testosterone).

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.

Current cost of Androgel in 2012

1 box (30 50mg packets): $368.97
Smell. Androgel has a strong smell. It contains alcohol as well as the medication. The smell of Androgel is what I remember most about it.

And: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.

Alcohol:Androgel smells like rubbing alcohol or alcohol rubbing pads. It does not smell like liquor.

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.
Wash hands. My top tip for using Androgel: make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after application. I recommend soap and water.

Lotion: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.

Injections. I switched to Depo-Testosterone after several months partly due to cost. Injectable testosterone has many other drawbacks.Testosterone Injections
Weight gain. I gained weight when I used Androgel. Over the first two months of treatment, I gained around 10 pounds. Is Androgel weight gain a good thing?

Next:This part explains why Androgel causes weight gain. It gives one man's experience.

Fat and muscle. 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.

Overweight: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.

Androgel is TRT, testosterone replacement therapy. When a hypogonadal man increases his testosterone to normal limits, his muscles enlarge.

Changes:He may grow more body hair and have more sweat and body odor. Hypogonadism often causes dry skin and muscle atrophy.

Appetite. Androgel increases appetite. This will increase muscle mass (and body fat). I remember being hungrier after I started taking Androgel.
Lean mass. 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.

Note:At normal dosages Androgel does not usually cause water retention. It simply brings up your testosterone to normal levels.

Bodybuilding. Natural bodybuilding is healthy. Sometimes men have low testosterone levels from disease or the aging process. Androgel helps these men.

Low T:Androgel is useful for bodybuilding if you have low testosterone. It is not useful for healthy men.

Low Testosterone
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.
Extreme levels. Androgel will not increase T to extreme levels. It won't benefit a healthy man in bodybuilding. It will only benefit a man with low testosterone.

Tip:This is because anabolic steroids like Androgel are detected by the pituitary gland.

Anatomy. The body tries to remain balanced. 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.

Testicles, Shrinkage

Story:My balls did shrink a little on Androgel. They became about 20% smaller and took up less space in my underwear.

Tip:Androgel will not help men with normal testosterone levels gain muscle. In theory it will cause no benefits or negatives.

Abuse. Androgel cannot be abused in the same way as injectable testosterone. Abusing testosterone for bodybuilding is an unhealthy activity.

Warning:I do not recommended abusing Androgel. It has benefits only for men with low testosterone levels.

A few months. I took Androgel for a few months several years ago. I could definitely feel the effects. It made me more interested in working out.

Important:This perhaps was its most important benefit: a renewed interest in physical exercise.

Muscle: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.

Steroid gains. For bodybuilding, Androgel increases testosterone but not to levels that are useful for those with normal testosterone levels.

Tip:Being healthy is much more important than using steroids. It leads to better results in every aspect of your life.

Injections versus Androgel. I found that injections did caused more variation in my mood. I tended to feel great right after the injection.

Mood: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.

Result:It was 890. This was out of the reference range of 241-827. It was a bit high.

Research. Medical research compares Androgel to intramuscular testosterone—such as testosterone cypionate. Injections caused greater variations in T levels.
Study details. Peak levels of testosterone were much greater for injections. There were spikes. The dosage of injections was between 100-200 mg.

Further: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. 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.Safety and efficacy of testosterone gel

Helpful. I used Androgel for several months. I found it helpful. I had medical problems at a young age. Androgel, as my endocrinologist said, gives a "kick in the pants."
Recommendation. 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.

And:If it doesn't help you, it is easy to stop. You can move to shots later if needed.

Alternatives. There are alternative ways to increase your testosterone levels. These approaches are proven. But they will not have the same dramatic effect.

Natural: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 SeedGarlicCoffee
Axiron. This is another testosterone replacement gel for men. It is named Axiron because it is applied to the axilla—the armpit region.

Advantages:This has some advantages. It is also profitable for the drug company selling it.

Some personal notes. Androgel was the first TRT I used. I was not a large muscular man before I used it. I only used synthetic testosterone for a couple years.
Diagnosis. My hormone balance is a bit strange. My endocrinologist tested my growth hormone, but it was normal. I seem healthy. But some signs still indicate a growth hormone disturbance.
A good choice. 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. I recommend it to any man testing low for testosterone.