I’ve received a comment on my post HRT and Me: The Battle for Testosterone from a reader asking how I’m getting on with my Testim testosterone gel and I realised it’s probably time for an update on my experience of using bio-identical HRT.
The answer, in a nutshell is, I’m feeling well but think I could be doing even better.
The hot flushes and night sweats disappeared within days. My mood is better, I’m calmer and I have a bit more energy.
Women and Testosterone HRT
In a press release issued by The British Menopause Society it appears that testosterone implants have also been withdrawn, because of a ‘profitability decision’ by the manufacturer.
This means that there are ‘no licensed female testosterone replacement preparations available in the UK or abroad.’
Whereas women used to be able to use Intrinsa patches which worked in a similar way to oestrogen patches and supplied a measured dose of testosterone over a period of several days, now we have to work it out for ourselves. That’s the difficult part.
My Experience of Using Testim Testosterone Gel
The advice from my Consultant was to make one tube of Testim gel last for 8 days. I eventually worked out that the amount I needed each day was enough to cover an entire finger tip. It’s bigger than a pea – probably the size of a 20p coin. It took me about two tubes before I had worked out the approximate amount to put on each day.
Until recently, I’ve been applying the testosterone gel to my upper arms and shoulders, alternating arms each day, as that was the advice given in the accompanying leaflet intended for men. But I recently looked at the website of The British Menopause Society and saw that Dr Nick Panay, the Chairman, suggests rubbing it into the lower abdomen.
Positive Effects of Testosterone for Women
In a laugh-out-loud article in the New York Times, Stacia Friedman describes the effect that testosterone had on her:
Within days, I had my libido back. Though not exactly my libido. More like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. So this is what men feel all the time, I thought. Powerful. Fearless. Horny. What a drug! If women only knew, they would be dealing this stuff in back alleys behind nail salons. I was flying.
She goes on to describe ‘three torrid affairs’ and speeding in her car before stopping treatment because of health risks.
Well, no channelling Arnold Schwarzenegger for me, I’m afraid. I was hoping I would feel powerful, fearless and horny all the time. Wouldn’t that be nice! I imagined walking with a swagger and effortlessly replacing my belly flab with a six pack while oozing sex appeal at the same time.
The Benefits of Using Testosterone
But nothing dramatic happened, just a general increased sense of wellbeing. I first noticed it in December when, after returning from a long day out, I suddenly ran up the steps at the train station. Just because I felt like it and I had the extra energy. I have NEVER done that before.
At the gym I was aware that the weight machines felt a lot easier. I was feeling much stronger.
My partner describes me as being more confident and more outward looking. And my slightly improved libido has definitely improved our relationship.
But, when it comes to libido, I feel that I have one good week a month and that’s it. The rest of the time I’d rather be reading a book or catching up on sleep.
Side Effects of Progesterone – Breast Tenderness
Also, the progesterone has increased my breast tenderness so much that for two weeks of the month I can barely stand to be hugged because they’re so painful. And that’s followed by a week of period pain, which doesn’t leave much time for the testosterone-fuelled lifestyle I still dream of.
No Bad Side Effects of Testosterone
On the positive side, I haven’t had any bad side effects. No acne, hair falling out or deepening of my voice and I haven’t been involved in any fights.
I’m definitely not turning into a man but I am still tired, and I still have the belly fat. In fact, I have put on weight!
So, I am certainly an improved version of myself, but as there was so much to improve upon on the hormonal front, I can’t help feeling that I could, I should be feeling even better. More energy, more libido, more joie de vivre.
It’s been just over three months since I started the HRT treatment so perhaps it’s early days yet. I’m due to have my four month follow up appointment with the Consultant at the end of February, and I’m hoping he’ll tweak the dosage a bit so that I can reap all the benefits of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, especially the testosterone.
Watch this space and I’ll keep you posted.
If you’ve had experience of taking testosterone as part of your HRT I’d love to hear from you. How did it help you.
This is Part 3 of my HRT and Me series. You can read the previous two posts here: