If you are male and your body is not producing enough testosterone naturally, a condition called hypogonadism, your doctor might prescribe a testosterone cream to boost your levels. Testosterone is the male hormone responsible for the growth of male sex organs as well as masculine traits such as facial hair, increased muscle mass and secondary sex characteristics.
Testosterone cream is a topical prescription applied directly to the skin. The cream is usually applied in the morning, but application methods vary according to the brand. For instance, Androgel requires application anywhere on the shoulders, upper arms or abdomen. Testim allows application on your shoulders and arms but prohibits application on your abdomen. Follow the application directions exactly as described to you by your doctor, and never apply the cream to your genitals or any skin with sores or cuts.
Physical characteristics you might expect to have corrected with a prescription for testosterone cream include a lack of facial, chest or other body hair, as well as a deep voice present in most adult men. Physical fitness characteristics you might want include an increase in muscle mass, a reduction of body fat and an increase in bone density. Sexual effects of increased testosterone include a heightened sex drive, as well as increased fertility.
Testosterone cream might cause side effects that can become serious if they last for a prolonged time. Mental and emotional side effects include mood swings, depression, nervousness and decreased sexual desires. Physical side effects can include acne, breast enlargement, hair loss, dry skin and difficulty falling asleep. If you experience a sudden need to urinate right away or have yellow or darkened skin, contact a doctor immediately. Nausea, vomiting and swelling of the hands and feet are also conditions that require immediate assistance.
As with any prescription medication, take special precautions when being prescribed a testosterone cream as well as when you use the cream. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to testosterone or any other medications, alcohol products or soy. Inform your doctor and pharmacist of any other supplements, prescription or vitamins you plan to take while using testosterone cream. Your doctor needs to know if you or anyone in your home has ever been diagnosed with prostrate cancer, sleep apnea, breast cancer, diabetes or any heart, liver or lung disease. Testosterone cream can only be used by men, so keep the cream and empty cream packets away from women, children and pets.
A common misconception of testosterone cream is that it is akin to anabolic steroids because of the muscle mass increase that some men might achieve after using the cream. The testosterone creams on the market in the United States aim only to replace the naturally occurring testosterone in the male body to bring your T levels back to normal.