Low Testosterone And The NHS

How to Get Testosterone Replacement Therapy Through the NHS

Testosterone is a hormone that affects a few different things, like:

  • Your body hair
  • How much muscle and bone you have
  • How the penis grows and works

Your testosterone levels go up and down throughout the day. They’re usually higher in the morning and then drop slowly during the day.

Starting in their late 40s and early 50s, some men get symptoms like depression and low sex drive. These symptoms can be caused by low testosterone levels.

Sometimes this drop in testosterone is known as the ‘male menopause’. This name is slightly misleading because it sounds like there’s a sudden drop in testosterone levels, like the one that happens during women’s menopause, but this isn’t the case.

If you do have low testosterone (hypogonadism) you might need hormone replacement therapy to help you control your symptoms, which the NHS can provide.

Dr Clair Grainger

Medically reviewed by

Dr Clair Grainger

Last reviewed: 29 Jul 2019

What Does the NHS Consider Low Testosterone?

You can have your testosterone levels checked, and they’re used to tell if you have low testosterone, especially if you’re having symptoms.

The NHS, and most other healthcare experts consider normal testosterone levels to be between 10 and 30 nmol/L, although depending on the lab doing the test, the normal levels can vary slightly. Levels lower than 10 nmol/L could be a sign of ongoing low testosterone levels.

Testosterone deficiency is the name for when your testosterone levels are below 8 nmol/L. Testosterone deficiency is rare, so it’s important to check what else could be causing your symptoms. If your testosterone levels are still low after a few months and you still have symptoms, your doctor may suggest more tests and then they might recommend testosterone replacement therapy.

Testosterone naturally drops around 1-2% every year if you’re over the age of 40 and it can also be caused by:

  • Your lifestyle, e.g. smoking, drinking, not exercising, or having a bad diet
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Damage to the testicles
  • Genetic diseases
  • Viral diseases like the mumps
  • Steroid abuse
  • Some treatments for cancer – chemotherapy or radiotherapy

What Are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone According to the NHS?

According to the NHS, low testosterone levels in men can cause:

  • Changes in mood and irritability
  • Changes in where your fat is placed across your body, which can result in a larger belly or gynecomastia (often called ‘man boobs’)
  • A lack of energy and enthusiasm
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Increased tiredness
  • Poor concentration and short-term memory
  • Loss of muscle mass and reduced ability to exercise
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Bone loss
  • Partial loss of face and/or body hair

These symptoms are not only caused by low testosterone and are common in men aged between 40 and 60 with normal testosterone levels. So, it’s important to get tested to check for what’s causing those symptoms.

Can You Get Testosterone Testing on the NHS?

Testosterone testing is available on the NHS. If you’re having the symptoms associated with low testosterone levels, your doctor will discuss your work and personal life to see if the causes are related to your mental health or your lifestyle.

You can also order a home testosterone test kit from Superdrug Online Doctor. The test could be right for if you would like to check your own levels without seeing a GP face-to-face or having to make an appointment to get tested. Ordering is fast and straightforward, simply:

  • Choose the testosterone test kit and start your order
  • Fill in our brief questionnaire
  • Your answers will be checked by one of our doctors to make sure the test is right for you
  • Your order will be posted to your preferred address
  • You take a small blood sample using a pin-prick device
  • You post the sample to our partner lab
  • They check your sample and send results back 1-3 days after they receive your sample
  • Your results are then available to view in your account, along with advice from an online doctor

During your assessment, you can also choose that we send your results to your GP, that way you can also follow up on the results with them.

How Can You Start Testosterone Treatment on the NHS?

If you’re over 40 years old you may get late-onset hypogonadism (low testosterone) and this can be diagnosed based on your symptoms and blood tests. Once you’ve had your diagnosis, your doctor might suggest you start testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

TRT is available on the NHS for certain conditions, including low testosterone, or during gender reassignment. Testosterone is available in different forms, like:

  • Gels you rub onto the skin daily
  • Injections every three months

The gel or injection increases testosterone levels and can be prescribed after two blood testosterone measurements confirm low levels of the hormone.

If your testosterone test results show your levels are within a normal range, your doctor might suggest that you make lifestyle changes to improve your symptoms, these would include:

Does the NHS Sell Testosterone Treatments Online?

You need to start testosterone treatments through your GP in person before you reorder your treatments online. It needs to be prescribed by your doctor first after you’ve had your symptoms checks and had proper blood testing.

Once you’ve started your treatment, and you’ve been using it for 6 months without any problems, you can then reorder your treatment from a service like Superdrug Online Doctor. You can reorder from us using the steps below:

  • Fill out our online questionnaire about your health and your treatment
  • Then place your order for repeat treatment
  • A doctor will check your order to make sure your treatment is still right for you
  • If it is, your order can be posted to you, or to a local Superdrug store for collection
  • If reordering isn’t right for you, you’ll be refunded and an online will give you advice on your next steps


  • BBC News (2017). Testosterone Replacement for men ‘trade off with risks’. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39038166 [accessed 16th May 2019].
  • Corona, G. et al (2015). Obesity and Late-Onset Hypogonadism. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, Dec; 418: 120-133.
  • Ferring Pharmaceuticals (2018). Testavan 20 mg/g transdermal gel package leaflet: information for the user. [online] Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.9489.pdf [accessed 16th May 2019].
  • National Health Service (2019). The ‘male menopause’. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/male-menopause/ [accessed 16th May 2019].
  • Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (2019). Hypogonadism and testosterone replacement therapy.
  • South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2019). Testosterone. [online] Available at: https://www.southtees.nhs.uk/services/pathology/tests/testosterone/ [accessed 16th May 2019].
  • Yassin, A. et al (2015). Effects of testosterone replacement therapy withdrawal and re-treatment in hypogonadal elderly men upon obesity, voiding function and prostate safety parameters. The Aging Male, Jan.

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