As important as maintaining healthy levels of testosterone is, it is also crucial to understand the unwanted testosterone replacement therapy side effects that could occur. Both men and women need testosterone, yet they must all ensure that any prescribed treatment stays within the required dosage and range. Below, we review why testosterone side effects occur, common and rare side effects, how these adverse reactions affect males and females, and how to avoid developing side effects of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy treats the symptoms of low testosterone in men and women. It is a safe treatment when prescribed by a doctor. It can be scary to develop Low T symptoms. Forgetfulness, unexplained weight gain, overwhelming fatigue, depression, and increased risks and warnings of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis can be concerning. That is why the safe prescribing of TRT is crucial to improve overall health and well-being.
Avoiding testosterone replacement therapy side effects is crucial because the wrong treatment can only make matters worse. Our hormone specialists ensure that each person receives the treatment right for their body’s needs.
Avoiding unwanted testosterone replacement therapy side effects is crucial to overcoming the symptoms of low testosterone.
Reasons for Negative Effects of TRT
Just as the symptoms of Low T vary, so do the reasons why some people may experience negative effects from treatment. Testosterone replacement therapy side effects can happen due to any of the following:
Improper or misuse of the medication – being unsure of the prescribed dosage, not injecting the testosterone properly, applying too much gel, or placing a patch or gel on the wrong part of the body can cause adverse effects.
Abuse of the testosterone – TRT is a medical treatment. It is not for use as a steroid for athletic or bodybuilding purposes. Those individuals who engage in illegal use may experience negative side effects.
Wrong dosage or improper prescribing – doctors who specialize in hormone replacement therapy are the best practitioners to prescribe this treatment. They know if clomid, HCG, or anastrozole are also necessary for men to take with their TRT. Other doctors may not prescribe the proper course of treatment.
Buying testosterone illegally – turning to the internet to get TRT can lead to receiving counterfeit and potentially dangerous forms of “testosterone.” Most websites are not properly regulated and do not adhere to acceptable pharmacological guidelines.
Misdiagnosis – the proper prescribing of TRT requires detailed and comprehensive blood analysis and physical examination, as well as a review of the individual’s medical history. Diagnosing the wrong hormone therapy (Low T symptoms mimic those of growth hormone deficiency and other conditions) can result in negative effects.
Omitting crucial information – not being honest and forthcoming with the doctorabout other illnesses, medications, supplements, or allergies could result in receiving a treatment that is dangerous for your body.
Testosterone therapy side effects can happen for many reasons.
Nonessential Common Side Effects
The goal of any medical treatment is to improve a person’s health or quality of life. The last thing anyone with Low T expects is unwanted testosterone replacement therapy side effects. Not only is there a small percentage of people who may experience some adverse reactions, but different types of TRT carry additional risks.
What are the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy that are most likely to occur?
It is rare for people under a doctor’s care for Low T to experience any adverse reactions. However, as testosterone levels increase, some people may experience any of the following side effects:
- Oily skin
- Mood swings
- Changes in libido
- Changes in appetite
- Back pain
What are TRT type-specific side effects that could occur?
We break it down by medication type below:
- Testosterone Injections: irritation, pain, discomfort, inflammation, redness, swelling, itching at the injection site, oily stools, diarrhea
- Transdermal Testosterone Gel: blistering, rash, allergic reaction, irritation, burning, warmth, itching, redness, swelling, dry skin, vertigo
- Testosterone Skin Patch: allergic reaction, rash, burn-like blisters, irritation, itching, redness, hardening of the skin, burning, vertigo
- Transbuccal Testosterone Tablets: gingivitis, mouth or gum irritation, gum pain or tenderness, bitter taste, liver toxicity if accidently swallowed, bleeding gums.
More Rare and Individual Adverse Effects
Additional testosterone replacement therapy side effects could occur when too much testosterone is in the bloodstream. We see these issues happen most often to people who use testosterone illegally.
These adverse effects of TRT could range from mild to severe, and, if ignored, could increase the risks associated with significant health issues:
- Aggressive actions or behaviors
- Risk-taking activities
- Changes in appetite
- Pain in the side or lower back
- Breathing changes
- Social isolation
- Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
- Sleep difficulties
- Worsening of sleep apnea
- Trouble focusing
- Unusual fatigue
- Changes in facial, body, and scalp hair growth
- Abnormally high estrogen or DHT (dihydrotestosterone) levels
- Abdominal pain
- Polycythemia (elevated red blood cell count)
- Heart attack
- Blood clot
- Prostate changes
- Abnormal cholesterol levels
- Elevated blood glucose levels
- Chills or fever
- Pounding in the ears
- Anaphylactic shock due to allergic reactions
The following are signs of an overdose of TRT or that immediate medical help is necessary:
- Blurred vision
- Trouble breathing or wheezing
- Slurred speech
- Temporary blindness
- Sudden, severe inability to speak
- Arm or leg weakness on one side of the body (sudden)
- Redness, swelling, or pain in the leg or arm
- Increased urination – multiple times per day
- Rapid weight gain
- Chest pains or pressure
- Clay-colored stools
- Changes in liver functions
- Coughing up blood
These testosterone replacement side effects are rare when under medical supervision for the treatment of Low T.
Side Effects of TRT That Are More Common for Females
Because the dosage of testosterone for females is much lower than that of males, side effects are relatively uncommon. However, adverse reactions may occur, and increase in risk degree for those women who use TRT illegally (sports enhancement). The following testosterone replacement therapy side effects are more common in women receiving TRT:
- Deepening of the voice
- Clitoral enlargement
- Male pattern hair loss
- Increased body and facial hair growth
- Acne and oily skin
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Irregular periods
- Breast tissue shrinkage
Testosterone replacement therapy side effects in women are rare when receiving TRT under doctor supervision for the treatment of low testosterone.
Side Effects of TRT That Are More Common for Males
The following list shows the more common unwanted testosterone replacement therapy side effects in men:
- Breast enlargement, soreness, tenderness, or swelling (gynecomastia)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Prolonged or frequent erections
- Frequent need to urinate
- Urinary issues
- Blood in urine
- Strange dreams
- Changes in sex drive
- Testicular atrophy (shrinkage)
Another issue to understand is that men who use transdermal methods of TRT put other people in their families at risk of cross-contamination. Bedding and clothing may absorb testosterone from the skin and could also cause issues. There should be no skin to skin contact of the treated area, and it is essential to keep the area dry for a few hours after treatment. Pregnant women who inadvertently exposed to TRT must contact their physician immediately due to an increased risk of birth defects. Used patches must be properly disposed of and kept away from children and pets.
Infertility and testicular shrinkage are two of the concerning unwanted testosterone therapy side effects in men.
How to Predict and Avoid Probable Negative Effects
It is relatively easy for us to predict who will experience adverse reactions of TRT – those individuals who use this medication without doctor authorization. Every hormone has a natural level in the body. Increasing that level beyond its normal state can result in unwanted issues. Stopping testosterone replacement therapy side effects in these situations requires contacting a hormone specialist to ensure that testosterone cessation is done correctly to avoid further problems.
It is also possible to avoid the negative effects associated with TRT by adhering to the prescribing doctor’s dosage and treatment instructions. Report any unusual or unexpected reactions to the physician’s office at once.
TRT is contraindicated when prostatic carcinoma (prostate cancer) is present. That is why men must undergo a prostate exam as part of the required physical before starting treatment. Current breast cancer is another cause for holding off on testosterone therapy until in remission. Individuals with untreated obstructive sleep apnea, erythrocytosis with a hematocrit of equal or greater to 50%, unstable congestive heart failure, and benign prostatic hyperplasia along with severe lower urinary tract symptoms should not receive TRT.
For additional information about unwanted testosterone replacement therapy side effects, or answers to any other questions about hormone treatments, please contact our clinic for a confidential phone consultation at no charge.