Testosterone Alternatives: What Are The Side Effects Of Testosterone Cream?

On: June 25, 2019
Testosterone Therapy

Research has revealed that testosterone levels across men of all ages are significantly lower than they used to be in previous decades. The reason for this is uncertain, but what is certain is that low testosterone levels can play havoc with one’s health.

According to studies, low testosterone levels not only interfere with things like energy levels and muscle mass – it is also directly linked to a higher chronic disease risk factor. These findings make it clear that if you have been seeing the signs of low testosterone it is important that you seek treatment.

At the same time, it is also important that you are in the know about the side effects of testosterone cream and other testosterone treatments. This way if you run into unwanted side effects you will know where they are coming from. And you will be able to discuss them with your doctor or treatment provider.

So if you are receiving treatment for low testosterone (or planning to), read on to find out what side effects are possible.

Skin Irritation Where You Apply the Patch

Starting testosterone replacement therapy is a pretty exciting move. Not only may you feel younger, have more energy and get rid of the symptoms of low testosterone, but TRT can even help your career advancement.

But, once you start the treatment, you may notice some side effects. Most of these are not serious or very common. One common side effect, however, is skin irritation with some forms of administration.

There are a variety of ways in which to take testosterone. Two of these are through creams or patches applied to the skin.

One of the common side effects of testosterone replacement in cream or patch form is that the area onto which you apply the cream or patch can become inflamed, itchy and can show signs of swelling and redness. It can also start to blister in some cases.

Although these symptoms might be uncomfortable and unwanted, they are not dangerous.

If blistering occurs, be aware that you should not apply testosterone cream or patches to broken skin.

Tender Pecs

Another side effect that is not dangerous – but is unwanted – is tender pecs. Counterintuitively, science has found that testosterone can be converted by the body into estrogen. This, in turn, can result in symptoms such as breast soreness.

This can be characterized by pain, swelling, tenderness and slight enlargement.

If you experience this while receiving treatment, mention the symptom to your doctor to ensure that they are up to speed with what is going on in your body.


Unfortunately, another possible side effect is acne. The fluctuating hormone levels within your body can bring on a breakout. So be ready with some good old anti-acne products.


If you are taking topical testosterone, then there is a chance that you will feel certain side effects such as dizziness. You might also feel lightheaded or slightly faint and in some people, this goes on to manifest as pounding sounds in their ears.

None of these things are very pleasant, but they are also not dangerous. They are typically shortlived and will generally disappear on their own. If however, you continue to experience any of these feelings for more than a day, be sure to tell your doctor about it.

Hot Flashes

Most of those wondering what to expect from testosterone treatment will picture things like increased sex drive, more energy and a reduction in stubborn body fat. But certainly not hot flashes!

Hot flashes can come on suddenly, as any menopausal woman will probably tell you, and they are not particularly comfortable. But why would testosterone replacement therapy bring on hot flashes? This again can be due to the conversion of testosterone into estrogen by the body.

Thankfully most men that experience hot flashes while on testosterone therapy only have to endure them for a short period. After this, the symptom usually disappears on its own.

If this does not happen, once again be sure to mention it to your doctor.

Increased Need to Urinate

If you are using a form of topical testosterone this can also increase the number of times that you feel the urge to urinate, especially at night. You may also experience a strong need to urinate, but find that upon following it that your bladder is not full. You may also experience difficulty urinating, even though the urge is present.

Blood in the Urine

Another urinary side effect that is rare but has been documented is the appearance of blood in one’s urine. This is an alarming thing to see, and you should contact your doctor immediately if you spot blood in your urine.

Changes in Your Mood

For men with low testosterone, testosterone replacement therapy can increase their feeling of wellbeing. It can also ward off things like depression, low moods, and low levels of motivation.

But, in some men, this might not be so. In fact, in a few rare cases, men have experienced the opposite of the positive changes usually experienced from testosterone cream.

This can manifest itself as rapid mood swings, a reactionary state where one overreacts to small things, and nervousness. One may also experience things like crying, feelings of paranoia and depression.

While these emotional side effects are rare, they can be serious. So, if you feel in any way down and unlike your self while undergoing testosterone replacement therapy, it is very important that you inform your doctor of this.

Feelings of Aggression

Another risk of testosterone supplements is that in some people they can cause feelings of increased aggression. This is not pleasant for anyone to experience and if it continues can have unwanted effects on your relationships.

If you are undergoing testosterone replacement therapy and you notice yourself being increasing angry and aggressive then it is a good idea to tell your doctor about this as they can then make changes to your dosages.

Changes in Your Sex Drive

One of the common reasons why many men take advantage of testosterone replacement therapy is to bring about an increase in their sex drive. But, the results can sometimes be not an exact balance of what you want.

In some people, testosterone replacement can bring about an overly increased sex drive. This can cause a number of problems such as erections that happen too frequently at unwanted times and which last too long for physical comfort.

In the opposite direction, in rare cases, some men can also experience a decreased sex drive. This will be characterized by things like a loss of desire and an absence of sexual urges, as well as the inability to form or maintain an erection.

Needless to say, this is something that no man wants. So if this were to happen to you while on testosterone replacement therapy then report these symptoms to your doctor.

Trouble Sleeping

Our sleep cycles are controlled by hormones. If you are supplementing your testosterone levels, this could cause a fluctuation in your other hormones.

Because of this interplay of hormones, one possible side effect that you might experience is a disrupted sleep cycle. This is due to the fact the sleep is also controlled by hormones.

If you find that your testosterone supplementation is causing you to have trouble sleeping, you should mention this to your doctor. While this is not a serious side effect, having sleeplessness nights is no fun and can impact your productivity, energy levels, and mood.


Headaches are another possible side effect that testosterone replacement therapy can induce. Like most of the other side effects of testosterone supplementation, headaches are a rare occurrence. At the same time, if you find that out of the blue you are having headaches then there is a chance that the extra testosterone is causing them.

As with most of the possible side effects that one might experience when taking testosterone, be sure to mention this to your doc if you start to develop headaches during your treatment.


No one likes to be bloated. Unfortunately, this is another possible side effect that can arise under testosterone treatment. The good news, however, is that this too is a rare symptom.

But just to be prepared, watch out for any bloating or swelling in the arms, legs, face or feet and inform your health practitioner if this does arise.

Sudden Weight Gain or Loss

One of the ways in which testosterone levels affect the body is by playing a role in how your body stores fat reserves. Women, who have higher levels of estrogen and lower levels of testosterone are geared to store fat faster as their bodies are designed to prepare reserves for things like breastfeeding and childbirth.

Men, on the other hand, are supposed to be slow to put on fat and fast to burn it off – as their testosterone levels are higher. If your levels are low, you may have suffered from unexplained weight gain and difficulty in losing excess fat.

One of the ‘side effects’ of testosterone replacement therapy is that while on the treatment you may effortlessly shed excess weight that was hard to shift before.

In rare cases, however, the body has the capacity to turn the incoming testosterone into estrogen – the fat storing hormone! This, in turn, can cause you to put on weight. If this happens, inform your doctor at the earliest point so that he or she knows what is going on.

Tingling in the Hands and Feet

There have been reported incidents of patients undergoing hormone replacement therapy having tingling in their hands and feet. This is a very rare side effect of testosterone replacement therapy – but if it does happen to you do not be alarmed, just tell your doc as always.

The Side Effects of Testosterone Cream Can Extend to Those Around You

While there is a slight chance of initial side effects, according to research testosterone replacement therapy is safe and effective for most men. Not so however for women and children.

Although some women do undergo testosterone replacement therapy, the doses are different from those for men.

If you are administering your testosterone via a patch or cream, then you need to be extremely careful that the area of skin to which you apply it does not come into contact with a woman or child’s skin. You also must take care that they do not come into contact with any bedding or clothing that could still contain some hormone residues.

This is because the high levels of testosterone, even in residue form on your skin, clothing, or bedding can be enough to disrupt a woman or child’s hormones and cause side effects like enlarged genitals in children, and facial hair growth in women.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are particularly at risk as contact with testosterone can cause damage to the fetus or adverse effects in the newborn.

Final Word

The side effects of testosterone cream might sound many and uncomfortable, but the good news is that most of these are highly rare and if they do occur they are often short-lived. Being aware of what side effects are possible will allow you to inform your doctor if you notice any of these.

If you have been living with low testosterone levels, the upswing in how you feel and perform usually outweighs any potential side effects of treatment. While there are some lifestyle based things that you can do, such as yoga poses that increase testosterone levels – in most cases you will need to supplement your testosterone levels to see the remarkable results that you want.

If you are struggling with the symptoms of low testosterone, then don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss treatment. We have offices in St. Louis, Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Des Moines, Iowa, as well as North Liberty, Iowa.

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