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Stopping Androgel ... need advice

Discussion in 'Male Health & HRT' started by bigted01, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. bigted01

    bigted01 New Member

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    I originally got on Androgel 7 mo ago due to issues with fatigue, anxiety, fogginess. My level tested at about 380-400 (on two diff tests) so I'm not really sure I should have done trt at all at this point. The gel didn't seem to help much at all, maybe a little at most (hard to judge of course since most of my issues were mood related).

    I would probably just stay on it but the main problem it's giving me that just won't go away......acne. And I'm in my mid 30s so I can't deal with that side effect anymore. I had really really bad acne as a teen and it didn't taper off until my late 20s, so I definitely do not have the best skin in the world. Once I hit 30s though I was fine. Until the gel. A month after starting it my forehead and back just breakout nonstop again like I'm a teen all over.

    Three mo in I was retested twice at a level of 600. So my level didn't even raise that much, but my skin is just so sensitive I guess that any jump at all is sending it into a frenzy. My doc put me on minocycline at that point and it kind of keeps the acne under control for the most part .... but it has the unwanted side effect of mild insomnia/anxiety. I've researched this with him and it is a rarer side effect, but I'm sure it's the mino and nothing else bcs if I skip a dose I sleep like a baby (like I always have) but I break out. If I take it I don't really break out..but I can't sleep so I'm tired and irritable and in a worse overall mood. So kind of defeats the point of the gel (which again I'm not sure helped much even to begin with).

    So after all this I began seeing a new dr last week and his question (which should have been obvious to me probably ) was... so why are you still taking the gel? And to be honest I have no clue. It doesn't seem to do much for me and it give me acne which makes me have to take other pills with terrible side effects. He suggested I should at least try stopping it and see how I feel. But from what I read that really scares me. I keep seeing that it can take a long time for your body to start producing T naturally again so you'll probably feel even worse than you did before. Ugh. But I can't find even any general timeframes.

    The users on this board seem pretty informed so before I consider quitting the main thing I want to know today is how long does it take the body to produce it's own T again? Obviously it varies I'm sure. But is it around a mo, two mo, 6 mo, etc? I've read up on and know abt all the other components (estradiol, dht, etc) so I'm not looking for info on that, just wondering bfr I consider my next step how long it can take for the testes to jump start again. Thanks!
     
  2. letstalk

    letstalk New Member

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    Going off cold turkey will suck.

    See if you can get him to give you a short course of clomid to help your natural production restart back up. There are other alternatives, but chances are many docs are totally unfamiliar with them and may be reluctant to do it. Most people do seem to recover their natural production within a few months of cessation though. But that doesn't mean the initial low mood will be any more enjoyable.

    Quite frankly, it doesn't sound like you want or need to be on TRT.
     
  3. WhatTheF

    WhatTheF New Member

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    I think that HCG or clomid might help with the cessation of TRT. Still probably won't be enjoyable, but will probably help. 2 - 3 months of gradual recovery probably isn't an unreasonable expectation.

    Hard to tell if TRT was good path or not without other numbers (ie. free t, etc.). But mid-30's from a VERY GENERAL perspective, is probably not an ideal candidate for TRT. However, this doesn't mean it should not be undertaken when properly diagnosed and managed. While I don't really think that I am a candidate for them so I am not well educated on them, I believe that there may be other non-prescription ways to boost your natural T above your 380-400 baseline which could have potential to put you in a good place using your own "system".
     
  4. seekonk

    seekonk Active Member

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    With or without Clomid, I really don't think there is that much of a difference. Clomid really is just a continuation of TRT in a different format, it has its own bad side effects, and you would really only be postponing the inevitable coming off until some time after you stop the Clomid.

    I would just stop the gel. In my experience, you might have a day or two, maybe three, of feeling that you are dragging your ass around (starting anything from a couple of days to two weeks after stopping), but then you will soon feel normal again. This is my experience and I think cpeil has reported similar. Your libido may take a little longer to recover, but in the meantime you won't feel bad.

    I think the people who report bad crashes are normally the ones who were badly hypogonadal to begin with, which you weren't. (They are also usually the ones who feel a great improvement with TRT, whereas people like you or me who were not that low to begin with are usually the ones who have an underwhelming response to TRT).
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  5. letstalk

    letstalk New Member

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    I crashed really hard and my starting numbers were in the 200s. I also was only on gels for like 5 months when I was told to come off. It was so bad. From what I have learned about clomid, and seen the real results it can produce, I would readily go back in time and take it if I could.

    Many other people have reported that it's far worse than just a few sluggish days. For me it wasn't months, but I would strongly avoid ever going through that again. Most good TRT docs I think know the hazards of going cold turkey, and thus, probably do not advise it.

    I'm only saying this to share my personal experience, as well as what I've encountered from other patients and docs.
     
  6. JanSz

    JanSz Active Member

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    Since you were low on testosterone, stopping Androgel and replacing it with nothing
    at the very best
    will put you where you were before you started Androgel.

    You were not happy then, you will not be happy now.

    You do not want to do useless experiments, you already know very well what is going to happen.
    I would not use any clomid, instead I would replace Androgel with EOD testosterone injections.
    (use BD Ultra-Fine II U-100 Insulin Syringes Short Needle 31g 3/10cc 5/16in)
    If you are seriously scared, do those shots 2x/week minimum, but you may need bigger 0.5cc syringe.
    Add HCG.

    This is another example why I think that Androgel or any other transdermal testosterone should not be used at all,
    when starting testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

    Plus

    this is another example why TRT should newer be used (by now it is archaic approach).

    More complete Steroid Hormone Panel should be the minimum.
    and
    when replacing testosterone
    #1-primary or secondary should be established
    #2-when secondary, HCG only should be attempted
    #3-when primary, minimal HCG plus testosterone injections on minimum 2x/week schedule

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Post all blood tests that you have, new and old

    ----------------------------------------------

    Do at minimum, at LabCorp, post results here:
    Be at the doors in LabCorp at 6:30AM

    my doc
    tristate-health.com

    dr John Crisler, Lansing Michigan


    1 ------- Pregnenolone, Mass Spectrometry Test Number: 140707
    2 ------- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) − Comprehensive Screen, Test Nr: 500175
    3 ------- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Sulfate
    4 ------- SHBG
    5 ------- Dihydrotestosterone
    6 ------- Androstanediol Glucuronide Test Number: 500881
    7 ------- Estrogens, Total; Test Number: 004549
    8 ------- Estradiol, Sensitive 140244
    9 ------- Estrone, Serum
    10 ------- Cortisol, Free, Serum (Free Cortisol, Serum Cortisol, CBG)
    11 ------- Cortisol, AM/PM (7:30AM, 12PM)
    12 ------- Metabolic Panel (14), Comprehensive
    13 ------- Complete Blood Count (CBC) With Differential and Platelet
    14 ------- NMR LipoProfile®
    15 ------- TSH




    .....................
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  7. Brazensol

    Brazensol New Member

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    So far all gel has done for me is cut my T in half. If I were you I would give injections a try before writing T therapy off.
     
  8. letstalk

    letstalk New Member

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    Second that. Getting gels "right" for some people is much harder than getting injections right. There are less variables.

    For me, injections are finally starting to give me positive results. E2 is still an issue i battle with, but it hasn't been but maybe 2 months so I still am learning how my body reacts.
     
  9. WhatTheF

    WhatTheF New Member

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    Reading his post, I don't think the issue for him was raising testosterone...it is acne that may be caused by the increase in T or aromatases or metabolites
     
  10. Brazensol

    Brazensol New Member

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    Perhaps. But he did not seem happy at his natural T levels. Going with injections may not give him acne problems. Than again it may make them worse but won't know if he doesn't try.
     
  11. WhatTheF

    WhatTheF New Member

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    No argument here regarding alternate routes, just pointing out that the gel, as opposed to cutting his T down, it actually raised it.

    Gels are easier to titrate up and down and have a much shorter analysis curve...long acting esters have much longer response window (weeks or more) and associated analysis windows. Analogous to turning a speedboat versus turning a cruise ship. However with gels, absorption can be highly variable depending on procedure.

    While it does not guarantee consistency, to minimize the absorption variation, I use a capped topi-click to apply my gel, so there is no variation in the amount that is applied to the skin (there can be much variation when applying with the bare hand/palm). I also always apply to the same area on shoulders and in the same size area and always with the same skin prep.
     
  12. letstalk

    letstalk New Member

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    Not sure what a capped topi click is, but with androgel 1.62 it comes in a metered pump so you always get the same amount. I also used a latx glove to apply my gel to make sure I got the same amount each day. Just a little tip to make sure you get the full effective dose with as little variation as possible.

    Having said that, I'm glad I switched to injections... less "wondering" about everything.
     
  13. Brazensol

    Brazensol New Member

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    I can't imagine the small amount of gel left on your hand would have much of a difference. I know it would be a variable but how much difference would it make? After spreading it on my chest and arms I then rub my hands on my inner thighs. Very little of the gel goes to waste.
     
  14. letstalk

    letstalk New Member

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    Well, with the androgel 1.62 you don't have to use much gel.

    Would the lost gel matter? Maybe, maybe not. Latex gloves were like a $10 insurance policy so I didn't have to worry about it. Easily worth it...
     
  15. bigted01

    bigted01 New Member

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    First off, thanks for all the advice guys.

    Yes my main issue right now was the side effects vs the benefits. I don't know how going on shots would help me much since the gel did in fact raise my level yet I didn't see much benefit in how I felt and still got the nasty side effect of adult acne. I agree I probably wasn't the best candidate to begin with and maybe should have weighed my options more before beginning, because I'm kind of in a tough spot now. I do think the gel at least helped my libido a little, if nothing else. I'm not feeling great about the prospect of going a month or more feeling even more down and sluggish.

    I see a few people suggesting going down slowly on clomid or something, which I admit I don't know a lot about. Isn't that still trt though? Wouldn't it be the same for me to just slowly stop the gel, like pump every other day and keep working down?
     
  16. Brazensol

    Brazensol New Member

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    I don't know if higher T levels will help you are not but I have seen many threads on several forums where guys did not get much out trt until hitting the higher end of the range. At 600 you are only mid range-ish so maybe a higher level? I've also read a few stories where no level seemed to help which to me would indicate something else is going on besides just low T.
     
  17. Brazensol

    Brazensol New Member

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    Agreed. I think the 1.62 is what my (old) doc wants me to try. Won't know until I pick it up later this week. Pretty sure I will be on injections after seeing my new doc on the 9th of July. Until then I will give the new stuff a shot and get a blood test before starting injections just to see how I react to it. Maybe it will be good results? I had a good workout today. Seemed to have strength and stamina (more than my 16 year old son!) but I am still crashing in the afternoon and feel drained and must take a nap.
     
  18. letstalk

    letstalk New Member

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    going on clomid and tapering off testosterone are very very different. The role of clomid is to actually speed up your body's natural production again. But the goal of tapering is, I believe, only to soften the blow of going from normal to essentially female levels.

    Recovery, however, is variable. Some are quicker than others, some are "harder" than others and some people just hate clomid regardless because of side effects. But you really don't know how YOU are in any of these situations until you try it. That's why so much of HRT is "clinical judgment" - there is no single best approach.
     
  19. WhatTheF

    WhatTheF New Member

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    Again...you may want to try to spread dose across the day..it helped with my "crashing" feeling in the afternoon and also with RSW.
     
  20. Brazensol

    Brazensol New Member

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    I am doing an am/pm (7am/6pm) thing now. You think I should break it up into, maybe, 4 times a day? I may be feeling somewhat better as I did not have my afternoon crash (at least not as severe) and had a very good workout this morning. Bench press felt better than it has in a long, long time.
     

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