There are a few variants of testosterone replacement therapy medications available to treat low T (low testosterone) but the two most commonly used are testosterone injections and transdermal, topically applied testosterone creams or gels. The pros and cons of both types of treatment are hotly debated.
Pain: When it comes to pain, creams and gels are preferred by most patients over injections. Many times, a large bore needle is used to administer the testosterone injections and the area may become inflamed and cause a little discomfort for a few hours or even days after the shot is taken. If injected and the environment or needles are not sterile then an infection may occur.
With creams there is no pain at all, since it’s applied only to the surface of the skin. However, some creams are formulated with alcohol and may cause a little irritation. There are also testosterone patches available. Just like a nicotine patch, these are applied to the body and are design o stay one throughout the day. When removed, the patch may take a bit of body hair off with it and the adhesive may cause slight irritation.
Frequency of treatment: Creams and gels need to be applied by the patient every day, sometimes even twice a day. It is recommended that you use the cream at the same time every day for a consistent and timely flow of testosterone. This may cause inconvenience to those who keep busy schedules. With testosterone injections, however, the patient only needs to administer the shot every 7 to 15 days. This can be self-administered or performed at a doctor’s office. The patient can then keep his regular schedule for the rest of the time.
Cost of treatment: Cream-based testosterone treatments tend to be more expensive than shots. This is because most creams and gels are patented and marketed under brand-names while injections have not been patented. Testosterone therapy is a common therapy for men, and injections make this type of treatment available to more people.
Safety and precautions: Although testosterone creams have innumerable advantages, the issue of safety is a concern. When you apply these creams, you have to make sure that the area of the skin where it was applied doesn’t come into contact with another person’s skin as it can easily transfer. This is especially true in the case of children and women, even more so if the woman is pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Testosterone creams are absorbed through the skin and this can have a harmful effect on the fetus. This is never a concern with testosterone injections since they are given intravenously.
Effect on the body: Creams and gels are fast acting. But, on the down side, they last for less time and will need to be applied more frequently to keep the testosterone levels in the body stable and optimized. On the other hand, injections release testosterone into the bloodstream slowly. This goes on for about one week or even longer than that, depending on an individual’s response to the treatment. This means that once you get the testosterone injections, you won’t need to worry about your testosterone levels dropping again for at least 7 – 10 days.
It is hard to say which one of the courses of treatment is better. Both of these treatments are equally effective. Both have their pros and cons, and it finally comes down to personal choice when selecting either of the two. Depending on your schedule, how hectic your day-to-day life is, your preference may change.
Think about your lifestyle as well. Creams can be harmful to women and children, so if you live or work around a lot of kids or women, you may want to choose testosterone injections. Injections typically call for regular trips to the doctor, unless you are lucky enough to find a provider who can offer a self-administered testosterone injectable program.
Finally, ask your doctor as to which option is better. The best way to make the decision is to consult with the doctor who will be observing and administering your hormone treatment over time. If he has a preference or a course of treatment that has more effective results, it is something you should certainly take into consideration.