Testosterone is secreted by glands in the endocrine system. It is an androgen and considered the male sex hormone, though trace amounts are found in women. Testosterone is responsible for the development of male sex organs, as well as secondary characteristics, such as a deep voice and facial and body hair patterns typical for most men. Testosterone also plays a role in the growth of muscles and bones, as well as a person's energy level, and it supports a regular menstrual cycle in women.
Over time, people experience a dip in testosterone production. Fluctuations can also occur because of health issues. When testosterone levels are too low, it can result in depression, fatigue, and low sex drive. It can also trigger erectile dysfunction and sometimes cause impotency. There are both synthetic and natural hormone replacement therapy treatments available. They are available in injections, patches, and gels. Though these products can be safe and effective, it is important for users to understand potential side effects and proceed with caution.
Testosterone Supplements Side Effects in Men
It is important for supplements users understand the necessary precautions and speak with their doctors before implementing a hormone supplement program. People suffering from heart disease, infertility, or prostate cancer might experience adverse reactions to C, so your doctor needs to play a role in your decision. Testosterone supplements side effects should never be ignored.
There are several types of testosterone supplements, whose side effects vary.
- Prohormones and Steroids. Prohormones and some anabolic steroids are illegal. They wreak havoc on the body and trigger many serious side effects. For instance, men using certain types of anabolic steroids might experience enlarged breasts, acne, or prostate enlargement. Some prohormones can be helpful for treating age-related testosterone deficiency, but it must be used under the supervision of a doctor.
- Testosterone Boosters. Testosterone boosters are natural and stimulate the body to produce hormones. There are instances in which boosters trigger the same side effects as prohormone, but the reactions are usually not as severe as prohormone.
- Estrogen Blockers. Estrogen blockers prevent testosterone from converting to estrogen. Instead of having a natural ratio of estrogen and testosterone, the un-converted testosterone remains in your body.
- Testosterone Cypionate. Testosterone cypionate can produce changes in sex drive, acne, hair loss, headaches, and various oral problems, including a bitter taste and gum swelling, pain, and tenderness.
- Testosterone Enanthate. Taking testosterone enanthate can result in acne, headaches, changes in sex drive, hair loss, and bitter taste in the mouth, as well as other oral problems.
- Testosterone Gel. Testosterone gel might seem safe because it is topical, but it can still trigger side effects. These include enlarged breasts and breast tenderness, changes in sex drive, and skin irritation. It is also possible to experience an allergic reaction to the gel.
- Testosterone Patch. The most common side effect of the patch is a change in sex drive. Men might also feel fatigue, experience hair loss, and suffer headaches. There might also be oral pain and skin irritation.
- Other Side Effects. In addition to the side effects listed above, any testosterone supplementation can trigger pain during urination or erection, and enlargement of the prostate gland. Allergic reactions include vomiting, hives, skin rashes, mood swings, abdominal pain, skin discoloration, loss of appetite, and darkened urine. Heightened levels of testosterone can also trigger abnormal growth of cancer cells, resulting in increased risk of prostate and liver cancer in men and ovarian cancer in women.
Testosterone Supplements Side Effects in Women
Women are sometimes given testosterone supplements to treat a decrease in sexual arousal and response during menopause. If the reason for the decrease is not emotional or a result of medication, testosterone can be an effective way to restore a woman's sex drive and help her enjoy sex more. Most of the time, testosterone supplements are given to women who have had their ovaries removed or have an underactive pituitary gland or an issue with their adrenal system.
Most of the evidence supporting the use of testosterone to treat menopause is weak. Studies have shown that women who no longer have working ovaries can experience increased libido from testosterone supplementation.
In some cases, side effects are caused by a dose that is too high. Sometimes your body just reacts poorly to testosterone supplementation. Speak with your doctor if you experience:
- High cholesterol
- Fetal growth inhibition
- Male-pattern hair lose
- Acne or increased oil production
- Anger and hostility
- Male-pattern hair growth on the body or face
- Deepened voice
- Shrinking breast size
- Irregular menstrual cycles, if you are still menstruating
- Increase in clitoral size
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved testosterone for treating sexual dysfunction in women. There are no creams, patches, or pills approved for use by women and those made for men are likely too strong to have the desired effect. In some cases, doctors offer a compound prescription, which means the pharmacist customizes the dosage based on the patient's specific needs.
Women who could become pregnant, suffer from high cholesterol or heart disease, have liver disease, or have had breast or uterine cancer should not take testosterone. Testosterone can harm a developing fetus, so many doctors consider it too much of a risk to prescribe it to women who are still menstruating.
Testosterone can interact with other supplements. Make sure your doctor is aware of everything you take, even if they are only products such as herbs, over-the-counter medications, or natural supplements. Knowing testosterone supplements side effects can reduce the risks.
When to See a Doctor
If you experience any symptoms after taking testosterone that could indicate an allergic reaction, contact your doctor immediately. Allergic reactions include difficulty breathing, hives, facial swelling, skin irritation, problems urinating, blistering of the skin, ankle swelling, nausea or stomach pain, fever, darkened urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice, loss of appetite, or frequent or prolonged erections.
If you are using a topical dosage of testosterone, you must be careful to keep the women and children you come into contact with from touching the patch or gel. Just as you are doing, they can absorb testosterone through their skin. If you are using topical testosterone and women or children in your home experience any of the side effects of testosterone exposure, get in contact with a doctor as soon as possible.