Posts Tagged ‘testosterone gel’

Pain Pills Won’t Put Potency In Your Penis

April 25, 2017

There’s a opioid epidemic in the United States as the number of prescriptions written for opioids has skyrocketed over the years. From 1991 to 2013, the total number of prescriptions written for opioid painkillers skyrocketed by 172%. It is estimated to cause nearly 40,000 deaths in the United States which is more than those people who died in car accidents each year.  Besides the risk of death and havoc on the user and his\her family, opioids cause a deficiency in testosterone which significantly impacts a man’s sexuality.

Testosterone deficiency is an underappreciated consequence of using opioids.

Understanding the risks and the potential treatment options available may help minimize the impact of opioids on testosterone levels. This blog will discuss the relationship between opioid use and testosterone deficiency.

Yes, it is true that opioids are well-known to be highly effective at managing pain. Also well-known is their negative impact on testosterone levels in men taking these potent pain killers.   Interestingly, even with the recognition of this phenomenon, this side effect of reducing testosterone remains an underappreciated consequence of treatment.

Testosterone deficiency can lead to serious health consequences. Symptoms include reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis and decreased bone density, fatigue, depressed mood, reduced muscle mass, poor concentration, and sleep disturbances. As such, testosterone deficiency also impacts quality of life and may even be involved in the development of heart disease.

New Findings

In a large study a higher risk of low testosterone was found with opioids. Data revealed that men on long-acting opioids were significantly more likely to be testosterone deficient.

Treatment Options

The management of low testosterone levels in men taking opioids begins with the checking the symptoms of low T such as decreased sex drive, loss of energy, loss of bone and muscle mass and the confirmation with testosterone testing. However, monitoring of hypogonadism can be a challenge as patients may not necessarily report their symptoms.

Additionally, when possible, baseline serum testosterone levels should be obtained prior to initiating therapy with potent pain medications. Testosterone levels could then be recorded at regular intervals to monitor changes.

If a patient presents with opioid-induced low T, there are several possible treatment options that can be pursued. Strategies that allow for opioid reduction could be considered, such as the concomitant use of non-opioid pain medications. The good news is that discontinuing opioid therapy can result in the normalization of testosterone, with data suggesting recovery of symptoms may occur as fast as a few days to up to 1 month after stopping treatment. Unfortunately, this is an unlikely option for men suffering from chronic pain.

Lastly, testosterone replacement therapy is a viable option for some patients. Testosterone can be given via injections, topical gels, or pellets inserted beneath the skin to restore the normal level of testosterone that will improve the symptoms of low T.  Close monitoring by your doctor will help identify the development of low T levels. Men who are educated on this potential side effect of low T can also be active participants in helping to identify this complication. While several treatment options are available, the best course of action for treating hypogonadism will ultimately depend on symptoms and the blood level of testosterone.

Bottom Line:  Opioids can help with the control of pain but with the price of decreasing the testosterone level in men.  Men who use opioids should speak to their doctor about their symptoms of decrease in sex drive, loss of energy or loss of muscle mass are candidates for hormone replacement therapy.

It’s Time To Talk About Testosterone

November 25, 2016

Testosterone (T) is a hormone produced in the testicles of men (and in the ovaries of women to a much smaller amount than in men.  Testosterone is often referred to as the male sex hormone.  It is normal for the testosterone level to decrease in men after age 30 at a rate of 1-3% a year but men don’t develop symptoms until late 40 or early 50.  During puberty, testosterone helps young boys develop male physical features like body and facial hair, i.e., a beard, and muscle strength.  Testosterone is also needed to help with the development of sperm.

Low T is defined as a decrease in the blood level of the hormone, usually less than 300ng\dl plus symptoms including decrease in libido or sex drive, lethargy, changes in mood, loss of muscle mass and decreased energy levels.

The diagnosis of low T requires a medical history of symptoms, a physical exam and a blood test that confirms a decrease in the hormone level.

Testosterone replacement is possible using injections of testosterone, topical gels, a nasal spray of testosterone, and insertion of testosterone pellets (Testopel).  The side effects of testosterone replacement include an increase in red blood cells, acne, reduction in size of the testicles, and infertility.  It is therefore important to discuss with your doctor if you are still planning to have a family as you should not use testosterone replacement therapy.

Caution:Don’t take testosterone if you don’t have medical reasons for doing so

Don’t’ take testosterone if your trying to achieve a pregnancy

If you use testosterone replacement, then get a routine check-up and blood tests at least every six months

Bottom Line: Millions of American men suffer from low T.  If you have symptoms and a blood test that confirms low testosterone, then you may be a candidate for testosterone replacement therapy.

Caution On Use of Testosterone-Don’t Let Partner and Children Touch The Application Site

April 11, 2014

Testosterone is recommended for millions of American men with low T. These men report significant improvement in their symptoms of low T such as improved energy level, improvement in libido and erections, improved bone mineral density thus preventing osteoporosis in men. However, there are some precautions regarding the use of testosterone topical gels, which is the most used method of testosterone replacement. Testosterone left on the skin that is not absorbed can be transferred to your partner or your children if they come in contact with the application site.

If you are using topical testosterone gels, you should avoid contact between the applications sites and the skin of your partner and children.

To minimize the risk of testosterone gel transfer, men should wash the exposed area thoroughly before allowing direct, skin-to-skin contact. I also suggest than men wash their hands with soap and water immediately AFTER application of the gel. However, subsequent skin-to-skin exposure to the application site can still lead to transfer of testosterone from the man using the topical gel to others.

I also suggest that men be instructed to wear a T-shirt over the application site if the gel is applied to the abdomen and\or upper shoulders to prevent inadvertent testosterone transfer.

Men using topical gels should watch carefully for signs of testosterone transfer to partners and children.

Signs of testosterone in little boys include increased public hair, penile enlargement and accelerated bone growth. Other symptoms in both boys and girls include deepening of the voice, overactive oil gland in the skin leading to acne, increased body odor, increased muscle mass, frequent erections and masturbation, as well as behavioral changes.

In women the signs of testosterone transfer toxicity may include growth of hair on the face, male pattern baldness, irregular menses, enlargement of the clitoris, and deepening of the voice.

Bottom Line: Testosterone from accidental exposure from the topical gel from the man to his partner or children places the women or children to the deleterious effects of testosterone in women and\or children. The best advice for protection of partners and children is for the man to wash his hands after applying the gel and covering the application sites with a T-shirt or underclothing.

A Little Dab Will Do Ya-Use of Testosterone Gel For Low Testosterone Levels

April 15, 2013
Influence of Testosterone

Influence of Testosterone

Most men who have symptoms of low testosterone levels such as decreased libido (sex drive), erectile dysfunction, lethargy, and loss of muscle mass who used testosterone gel every day had their testosterone levels restored to normal and experienced benefits over time. These benefits included:
• Improvement in energy, sexual desire, sexual function, and mood within 1 month
• More muscle mass and decreased body fat within 3 months
• Increased bone strength within 6 months in patients receiving 10 grams of AndroGel daily
However, once you stop using testosterone gel, it is likely your testosterone levels will fall below normal in just 5 days and your symptoms may come back.

Your Goal with Treatment
Low testosterone is a medical condition that likely won’t go away on its own. There is typically no cure for low testosterone levels. The goal of treating low testosterone is to raise your blood level of testosterone and to keep the level in a normal range. Once your testosterone reaches a normal level and remains there, symptom relief may follow.