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Low Testosterone

Low testosterone or hypogonadism is a condition where the body does not produce as much of the male sex hormone, testosterone, which is key to sperm production and male growth and development during puberty. You can be born with a condition that affects testosterone or it can develop later in life due to illness or injury. The main symptoms in adulthood include low libido, depression, lack of energy and erectile dysfunction. Prescription treatments can help to raise levels of testosterone to improve symptoms.

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Advice for Low Testosterone

What is Low Testosterone and what causes it?

Buy Low Testosterone Gel Online - subject to your online consultation

While there are many remedies for low testosterone available over the counter in the UK, many NHS patients choose to buy their low testosterone gel online following their diagnosis. At The Independent Pharmacy, we provide safe and cost-effective treatment designed to help cure the signs of low testosterone. As always, be sure to follow the guidelines for safe and effective use. While there is no simple fix, there are always options available.

Low levels of testosterone in men is also known as hypogonadism. Testosterone is a hormone produced mainly in the testicles. Testosterone is responsible for the development of the male characteristics during puberty as well as maintaining adult bodily functions including, sexual functions, strength and energy levels and the amount of muscle and fat in the body. If the body is unable to produce enough testosterone, a man can experience a variety of unwanted symptoms. These include: depression, anxiety, lack of libido and a reduction in sexual performance.

The levels of testosterone naturally begin to fall once a man is around the age of forty. On average the decrease is between 1-2% a year. If a man’s testosterone levels were not particularly high to begin with then this gradual age-related decline may make the effects seem more pronounced.

Low levels of testosterone can also be attributed to physical damage to the testicles. This damage can be the result of a viral infection, such as mumps or as a result of certain cancer treatments. Low testosterone levels can also be the result of changes in parts of the brain that are responsible for testosterone production. These changes can be the result of brain tumours, direct trauma or abuse of certain drugs, including anabolic steroids.

Another known cause of low testosterone levels is obesity. In the body fat cells naturally convert testosterone into oestrogen. If the levels of fat cells are excessive then more testosterone is being converted, resulting in lower levels.

What are the symptoms of Low Testosterone?

The resulting symptoms of low testosterone include:

  • A low sex drive: Testosterone plays a pivotal role in a man’s sex drive (libido). Low levels will likely result in a drastic drop in his desire to have sex.
  • Erectile dysfunction: Testosterone is responsible for stimulating the male sex drive. A low level of testosterone is not solely responsible for erectile problems but it can be a contributing factor.
  • Low levels of testosterone can lead to a reduction in the size of the testicles.
  • Low levels of semen: Testosterone plays an important role in semen production. Low levels will result in a decrease in the amount of semen being produced.
  • Hair Loss: Testosterone plays a role in a man’s hair production and growth. Baldness is a natural part of ageing for the majority of men. However, someone presenting with low levels of testosterone may experience facial and bodily hair loss as well, such as a thinning beard.
  • Feelings of fatigue and a lack of energy: It is common for men with low levels of testosterone to experience a lack of energy or chronic feelings of fatigue.
  • Mood changes: A lack of the hormone testosterone can trigger similar mood changes in men to that which women experience going through the menopause. These symptoms include; irritability, depression and a lack of concentration or focus.
  • A reduction in muscle mass: Testosterone plays an important role in the strengthening and building of muscles in men. Low levels of testosterone can make it difficult for men to maintain and build muscle.
  • Increase in body fat: Men presenting with low levels of testosterone often experience increased levels of body fat. It is believed the genes responsible for controlling the body fat percentage are also responsible for the circulation of testosterone.
  • Reduction in bone mass and joint pain: Testosterone plays an important role in the strengthening and production of bones. Men presenting with low levels of testosterone are more prone to breaks and fractures. Especially in the hips, feet, ribs and wrists.
  • Low levels of testosterone may play a role in causing migraines and other types of headaches.
  • Excessive sweating and night sweats.
  • Vision problems, such as blurred vision.

Can Low Testosterone be prevented?

Testosterone levels naturally decline as men grow older. Unfortunately, it isn’t something that can be prevented using self-help techniques or therapy.

If you experiencing any of the symptoms associated with low testosterone levels, it is recommended to seek specialist medical advice and appropriate treatment.


There are no direct medicinal or non medicinal treatments available to treat low testosterone however, low testosterone can be helped by something as simple as losing weight combined with a healthy balanced diet.

There are some great tips on the NHS Choices website on how to get fit and healthy and maintain a healthy weight.

Low Testosterone FAQs

  • Symptoms can also be treated by:

    • Improving sleep
    • Losing weight
    • Staying active

    These are also good for your overall health.

    Overweight men often have low testosterone levels and losing weight can increase levels. In underweight individuals, raising their weight to normal levels can increase their testosterone levels too.

  • To correctly apply the gel please follow the procedure below:

    • Wash and dry the area of skin where you are going to apply the gel thoroughly - normally your upper arm or shoulder.
    • Wash your hands and apply a thin layer of gel, using one sachet as directed by the doctor.
    • There is no need to rub the gel into the skin, it will absorb naturally and after a few minutes it will have dried enough for you to get dressed.
    • If you have been advised that you need to apply two sachets of testosterone gel per day, you should apply one sachet to each shoulder.
    • Allow the area to dry before dressing (this usually takes a few minutes). To ensure maximum absorption, do not wash the site of application for at least 6 hours. If you need to bathe or shower occasionally 1-6 hours after application, this should not affect your treatment.
    • Wash your hands to ensure they are gel free. This is important so you do not transfer the gel to others.
  • Testosterone gel is to be applied to the upper arm or shoulder (or abdomen in the case of Tostran) once a day. It is preferable to do this in the morning as this imitates the natural cycles of testosterone in the body. If this is not possible, it should be applied at the same time each day.

    Do not apply testosterone gel to the genitals or the chest area. The gel contains a high alcohol content and is irritating to sensitive areas like the genitals.

  • Blood tests are needed at the following times:

    • Before you start treatment
    • After three weeks of treatment
    • After six months of treatment
    • Yearly thereafter

    The initial blood test is performed to establish a baseline testosterone level and to determine if you have a low testosterone. The range is varied and individual levels can be different depending on age and other factors. All consultations are assessed individually. The result of your blood test is used in conjunction with your symptoms to help to establish a diagnosis.

    Another blood test is performed after three weeks to determine if the medicine is having the right effect and the levels have gone up. This, combined with an improvement in your symptoms, ensures it is right for you to continue with the treatment.

    Further blood tests are carried out after six months and then yearly during treatment to ensure that the treatment is still effective and your testosterone remains within a normal range.

  • There are some changes that you may notice within the first few weeks of treatment (e.g. more energy and improved sexual function). This happens because you are absorbing the gel and your body is also producing testosterone. After a couple of weeks you may notice that it isn’t working as effectively as before because you body has adapted to the higher levels of testosterone in your system and cut back on production. This is normal and you need to give you treatment time to stabilize.

    Long term effects, like increased metabolism and weight loss may be seen after a couple of months of regular use.

    To ensure you get the best from your medication, it is best to apply it regularly as instructed.

  • It is important to keep notes of your symptoms to compare how you feel after three weeks of using the medicine to when you started. You can compare the symptoms, alongside the testosterone test results, before and after using the gel to see if there has been an improvement.

  • It is always important to tell your prescriber, online or face-to-face, if you are taking any other medication or herbal treatments from the doctor or pharmacy. However insignificant you may think it is, it’s better to double check.

    Testosterone treatments are best not taken with steroids or blood thinners like warfarin. However this is not a complete list, please check the Patient Information Leaflet for your testosterone gel to ensure that there is no problem with any medicines you currently take. This should also be checked by your prescriber - this is why you should always disclose any other medicines you take.

    Changes in testosterone levels can improve type-2 diabetes meaning that adjustment of blood sugar controlling medication may be necessary. If you suffer with diabetes (type-1 or type-2) and you lose weight, you should always see your doctor to re-assess your medication.

  • To avoid the transfer of testosterone gel to other people ensure you wash your hands after every application and cover the area after it is dry with clothing. Prolonged exposure to uncovered treated skin could cause unwanted hair on the face, a deep voice and a change in the menstrual cycle of your partner.

    Pregnant women should not come into contact with the testosterone gel under any circumstances as it has harmful effects on the baby and is present in breast milk. If your partner becomes pregnant follow the advice above.

  • Testosterone gels can cause side effects like all medicines, but this doesn’t mean that you will necessarily see any of the effects below.

    The most common side effects include:

    • Itching, a rash, acne or dryness of the skin in the areas where the gel has been applied -This may affect up to 10 in 100 men.

    Additionally it may also cause:

    • Hair loss.
    • Development of painful and tender breast tissue.
    • This may affect 1 in 100 men using the medication.
  • Apply the next dose when you remember and then continue as normal. If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue as usual. Do not apply twice the recommended amount to make up for the missed dose.

  • If your symptoms do not improve after applying the gel regularly then contact your prescriber for further medical advice. We may need to review your treatment to ensure the dose is correct for you and ensure you are applying it correctly.

    Symptoms of low testosterone can overlap with a number of other condition including diabetes, hypothyroidism, anxiety and depression. If your symptoms do not improve but your testosterone levels increase with treatment, it may indicate that low testosterone is not the cause of your symptoms. In this case you should see your doctor for further tests.

  • Testosterone gel is best left for six hours after application to be fully absorbed. During this time do not wash the area. The gel is usually dry after 3 to 5 minutes and then clothes can be placed over the top to protect the area.

  • It is a common symptom to have erectile dysfunction issues when you are suffering with low testosterone. Not achieving an erection or the inability to maintain one can be distressing. Using testosterone replacement gels should help to improve any erectile problems.

    You may find that erections are stronger and last longer directly after application of the gel and for a few hours after. However, there may be a need for erectile dysfunction treatment, like Viagra or Cialis, if you would like to have sex at different times. We also provide treatment and information on Erectile Dysfunction.

  • Despite that fact that it often leads to fatigue and reduced energy levels, low testosterone can also cause insomnia and other changes to your sleep patterns, leaving you tired and unable to sleep. Testosterone replacement therapy can also contribute to (or cause) sleep apnea. If you’re suffering from insomnia, try our range of insomnia treatments.

  • Low testosterone can sometimes occur in young adults and boys as they reach puberty. Usually as boys reach their teens, testosterone levels peak, which is what often leads to acne. However, there are various factors that can lead to a drop in testosterone in the young, including diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, COPD, or pituitary gland problems. It can also be hereditary, as with Klinefelter syndrome, Kallmann syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Myotonic dystrophy.

    Low testosterone can affect fertility in young men, as testosterone is needed for sperm production. If you suspect your testosterone levels are lower than average, consult your doctor or urologist. Consider also whether you could have a zinc deficiency. Sometimes treating low testosterone is as simple as figuring out what your diet is lacking.

  • It’s quite rare to hear the words ‘bodybuilding’ and ‘low testosterone’ in the same sentence, but as any bodybuilder knows, testosterone is one of the most important hormones for building muscle from your workout. Some put their zero gains down to being an ‘ectomorph’, but sometimes lack of muscle gain can also be a result of low testosterone. It’s important to beware of dangerous ‘muscle gain’ supplements that promise fast results – nine times out of ten, these supplements do not work.

  • While testosterone is usually associated with men, women actually need small amounts of testosterone as well. Female sexual health can be seriously impacted by low testosterone levels, with other symptoms including tiredness, weight gain, loss of sex drive, mood swings, anxiety, hair loss and difficulty concentrating. Many women living with low testosterone simply assume it is part of getting older, but there are treatments available, just as there are for men.

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