Testosterone therapy for men

Testosterone therapy for men


Testosterone therapy uses the male hormone testosterone to treat symptoms of low testosterone levels (hypogonadism), including:

  • Low sex drive
  • Problems having an erection
  • Low sperm count
  • Sleep problems such as insomnia
  • Decrease in muscle size and strength and in bone density 
  • Increase in body fat
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating

I Would Like to Learn About:

  • Alternative names

    Testerone replacement therapy; Androgen therapy; Androgen replacement therapy

  • Why is testosterone important for men?

    Testosterone is a hormone made by the testicles in men.Testosterone is important for:

    • Keeping bones and muscles strong
    • Making sperm
    • Maintaining sex drive
    • Making red blood cells
    • Feeling well and having energy in general
  • How is testosterone therapy given?

    The medicine used is man-made testosterone. It can be given as:

    • Skin patch or gel
    • Solution applied to the armpit
    • Patch applied to the upper gum
    • Injection

    Talk with your doctor about which form of testosterone is right for you.

  • Risks and side effects of testosterone therapy

    Before taking testosterone, discuss the risks with your doctor, including:

    • Increase in red blood cell count, which can lead to stroke and blood clots
    • Acne or oily skin
    • Sleep apnea
    • Breast enlargement (gynecomastia)
    • Worsen existing prostate cancer
    • Water retention
  • Precautions

    Children and women, especially pregnant or breastfeeding women, should not come into contact with this medicine. Follow package instructions about other precautions for the type of testosterone you are using.

  • Calling your doctor

    It is important to have regular checkups with your doctor when taking testosterone therapy. If you have side effects, call your doctor.

Related Information


Bhasin S, Cunningham GR, Hayes FJ, et al. Testosterone therapy in adult men with androgen deficiency syndromes: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010;95:2536-2559.

Swerdloff RS, Wang C. The testis and male sexual function. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 242.


Review Date: 6/27/2013  

Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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