What Do Men Need to Know About Testosterone Therapy?

Men need to know that testosterone therapy can improve their mood and energy level significantly, decrease anger and irritability, strengthen their bones, help prevent osteoporosis, and provide beneficial sexual effects, according to WebMD. The therapy increases muscle mass and decreases fat mass, which benefits overall health, and aids blood glucose control, which reduces diabetes risk. Men using the therapy increase their risk for blood clots and stroke, but by donating blood occasionally, they offset the risk.

Free testosterone, the amount of testosterone that is active in the body at a particular time, is a more effective barometer of a man's testosterone level than his total testosterone reading, explains WebMD. A man with levels within the normal range of about 300 to 900 nanograms per deciliter can exhibit typical low testosterone symptoms if his free testosterone measurements are low. Experienced doctors measure both the total and free testosterone levels.

Side effects from low testosterone therapy are uncommon, but they include acne, sleep apnea and breast enlargement. When patients stop the treatment, the side effects disappear, notes WebMD. Men should wash their hands thoroughly after applying a dose of testosterone gel. No one else should touch the spots where they apply the medication. Women and children who come in contact with testosterone gel can experience serious side effects, such as early puberty and hair growth.