The Failure of Testosterone Cream for Women (and Why You Should Be Taking Testosterone Injections Instead)
Testosterone cream for women is generally ineffective.
It may be a bold statement, but I believe it to be true.
Many testosterone therapy providers recommend testosterone cream for women without thinking twice—they give women the exact same testosterone cream that was specifically formulated for men and tell them to use it on their own bodies.
To be clear, the FDA has not approved testosterone cream for women — standard “name brand” testosterone topicals are manufactured for men only.
That’s not to say testosterone replacement therapy isn’t effective for women—it very much is—this simply means that many drugs manufactured to treat low testosterone are only manufactured at levels that would work on a man.
Given that women have 1/10th the testosterone in their body that men do, you can see why I almost always choose an alternative method.
That alternative method is an injection.
Testosterone Injections Are Generally Superior to Testosterone Cream for Women
Although testosterone cream can sometimes be a solution to low testosterone in women, I recommend testosterone injections for women in the vast majority of cases.
The reason is simple: I can choose an exact dose with an injection. With testosterone cream, I am limited to the level of testosterone the cream was manufactured with.
However, that isn’t the only reason I rarely recommend testosterone cream for women.
Testosterone cream has another major downfall—many people simply don’t absorb the medication. While these studies were only done in men, it’s quite possible women’s skin will react similarly.
Another reason I might not recommend testosterone cream for women patients is the creams are quite expensive—and, because the FDA hasn’t approved testosterone cream for women, insurance usually doesn’t cover the cost.
The final drawback is that the cream can be easily transferred to someone who doesn’t need it. This is especially dangerous for children, who can undergo sexual development before they are ready when exposed to testosterone cream.
Watch our full video on how all these methods work here:
While topicals do work in some instances, I consider each individual patient carefully before recommending them. I have found that testosterone cream may work well for women who are unable to come into the clinic regularly and live alone. There are other cases where cream may be indicated.
And not all hormone creams are bad—estrogen and progesterone creams are very effective at treating a variety of symptoms in women.
Topicals Often Work Well For Estrogen And Progesterone
While testosterone cream for women simply isn’t at a point where it can work well, estrogen and progesterone cream are. I will often recommend both of these creams for women who have low levels of these two hormones.
Topical preparations of both progesterone and estrogen have long been used to treat the symptoms of menopause, so much so that they have become a standard treatment.
However, every person is different—I need to evaluate you as thoroughly as possible before recommending any form of treatment.
When you come into the clinic, I test all your hormone levels, including testosterone. If I find that you have low testosterone, I may only recommend testosterone injections. However, if I find that two or more of your hormones are at abnormal levels, combined with certain symptoms, I may recommend a combination of therapies.
Mainly, I worry not about your hormone levels but about your symptoms. I measure the effectiveness of your dose based on how it addresses your symptoms, using your levels to decide where to begin and how far to go.
It all depends on your individual case.
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I can’t wait to meet you!
—Augie Galindo, PA-C