Testosterone & Hypogonadism

Help! I've been prescribed Testosterone gel.


Joe McLean, BSc, MRes
May 13, 2024
Take-home points
  • Testosterone gel is prescribed for individuals diagnosed with hypogonadism, a condition characterised by low testosterone levels.
  • Testosteroen gel is typically applied daily to help restore normal levels of testosterone in the body.
  • Benefits of testosterone gel treatment can often be observed within 3 weeks of initiating treatment, although some benefits may take up to 1 year to become noticeable.
  • Safety precautions should be implemented to minimise the risk of secondary transfer of testosterone gel, which is a concern to be mindful of.

What is testosterone gel?  

Testosterone gel is a gel containing testosterone. It is a treatment applied directly to the skin so that the testosterone it contains can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream to restore normal levels of testosterone in the body.1,2

Why have I been prescribed testosterone gel?

You have been prescribed testosterone gel because you have low testosterone, a condition also known as hypogonadism. This means your body isn’t producing enough testosterone on its own.1,2 Thankfully, this is a completely treatable condition through testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

Why is testosterone important?

Testosterone is key for many functions in the male body, including:3  

  • The production of red blood cells and sperm
  • The growth and development of the male sex organs  
  • Libido (sex drive) regulation  
  • Development and maintenance of bone and muscle mass

How often should I take my testosterone gel?

If you have been prescribed testosterone gel but you are unsure of how often you need to take it, the first thing you should do is to check the label and information leaflet that comes with your testosterone gel.  

Testosterone is usually applied once daily with some variation in the amount (dose) of gel you should apply. This is because the concentration of testosterone will vary between different gels so it’s important to stick to the recommended dosage.4,5  

What can I do to help stick to my treatment plan?

It's normal to be forgetful at times, especially when it comes to new elements of your routine. One of the easiest ways to remember to stick to your treatment plan is to apply your testosterone gel at the same time every day. You could even set a daily alarm to remind you.  

To help keep on track of your testosterone gel, you can print off the TRTed Medication Tracker, available on the TRTed Toolkit here.

Where do I apply testosterone gel?

As well as adhering to the recommended dose it’s important to apply your testosterone gel on the correct area of your body, this is usually the upper arm or shoulder.4,5 It’s important to read the instruction leaflet provided with your particular gel. If you are still uncertain about how to correctly apply your gel, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse for a quick demonstration.

Are testosterone gels backed by science?

Testosterone gels are backed by an abundance of clinical data highlighting their ability to restore testosterone levels and improve health measures in men with low testosterone. Multiple studies have consistently demonstrated testosterone gels increase levels of testosterone in the body, as well as improve body composition amongst other benefits outlined below.6,7

How long until I can expect to see benefits, and what are they?

You may observe benefits as soon as 3 weeks. However, some may take up to 6 months to take effect which is why regular sustained use is essential.2 You will most likely have check-ups with your doctor or nurse after three, six, and 12 months to assess your progress.

Continued use of testosterone gel can alleviate the symptoms associated with low testosterone including low libido, erectile dysfunction, depressed moods, and irritability.7–9 However, you may observe some additional benefits with your testosterone gel such as improved body composition and improved red blood cell count.6,10 For a bit more detail on the benefits of low testosterone treatments, check out our article here.  

Are there any safety concerns with my testosterone gel?

A common concern with testosterone gel is secondary transfer, which is when people other than the user come into contact with it, in particular women and children. The best way to avoid this is to allow the gel enough time to be absorbed (read through the recommended waiting time on your testosterone gel leaflet) and then wash your hands with warm soapy water. It’s also recommended to wear clothing over the application area.4,5 Some gels also have a hands-free applicator that allow you to rub the gel onto your skin without using your hands.4

If you think someone has come into contact with your testosterone gel, ask them to wash any potentially affected areas. For more information on secondary transfer, you can read our article here.  

Further safety precautions include:

  • Ensuring you’ve notified your doctor of any allergies
  • Washing your hands before and after application  
  • Being mindful that some testosterone gels are flammable

If you experience any adverse effects, it’s always best to seek advice from your doctor.  

What should I do if I have any questions?

If you have any questions or concerns no matter how small, it’s always best to consult your doctor.  

Join the conversation on the TRTed Community!



  1. Hackett G, et al. The journal of sexual medicine. 2017;14(12):1504-1523.
  1. Jayasena C, et al. Clinical Endocrinology 2022;96:200–219.  
  1. Nassar GN, et al. StatPearls: Physiology 2022; available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526128/.  
  1. Testavan® SmPc.  
  1. Testogel® SmPc.
  1. Wang C, et al. Journal Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2004;89(1):2085–2098.
  1. Wang C, et al. Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000;85(8):2839–2853.
  1. Saad F, et al. European Journal of Edocrinology 2011. 165(5):675-85.
  1. Walther A, et al. JAMA Psychiatry 2019;76(1):31–40.  
  1. Roy CN, et al. JAMA 2017;177(4):480–490.  

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