While human chorionic gonadotropin can effectively increase testosterone when used appropriately for hypogonadism, potential side effects exist.
Ethos Spa’s Dr. Hardik Soni answers these vital questions to educate on hCG risks versus benefits for informed treatment decisions.
Common but typically mild side effects of hCG injections in men include headache, fatigue, mood changes, and injection site reactions; more serious risks like blood clots and allergic reactions are possible but rare.
Bloodwork helps anticipate susceptibility, and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) may be used preventively to block estrogen receptors in men prone to gynecomastia.
While exceedingly uncommon, a few potentially dangerous side effects have been reported with hCG:
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is a rare but serious risk specifically associated with hCG use during assisted reproduction. Abdominal swelling may be an early sign of this syndrome.
Testosterone replacement therapy alone often leads to reduced testicular size and impaired sperm production over time. According to Dr. Soni, hCG can help counteract these effects when combined with TRT.
As an LH analogue, hCG acts to sustain testosterone synthesis and sperm production within the testes. Multiple studies confirm that adding hCG to testosterone therapy better preserves testicular function and fertility compared to TRT alone.
However, the combination may accentuate other side effects associated with shifting hormone levels. Dr. Soni finds gynecomastia from elevated estrogen appears more common with TRT plus hCG. Using SERMs or aromatase inhibitors can mitigate this.
Small studies have linked hCG to rare cases of mood instability, irritability, anxiety, and depression. However, Dr. Soni notes some data paradoxically points to hCG improving mental health symptoms when used long-term in hypogonadal men.
According to our experience, mood changes from hCG tend to be mild and transient, manifesting as irritability or sadness. These likely stem from fluctuations in hormones and brain chemistry. Such symptoms often dissipate within several weeks once the body regulates.
Rarely, hCG could potentially worsen or unmask serious psychiatric illness like mania or psychosis per isolated case reports – the first of which actually happened to a woman and not a man. Risk may be greater in those with a mental health history.
Men who take hCG supplements without confirmed testosterone deficiency get no proven benefit but face potential risks like gynecomastia, mood changes, impaired fertility and serious reactions without medical monitoring.
Healthy men without diagnosed testosterone deficiency should not take hCG supplements or “boosters”. These products are often misleadingly marketed for athletic performance or sexual enhancement.
However, studies have not substantiated benefits from illicit hCG use in eugonadal men. At the same time, several risks exist:
Dr. Soni strongly cautions against using any hCG product without a genuine medical need confirmed through blood work. He also advises only obtaining pharma-grade hCG from regulated pharmacies, as illicit supplements risk:
Instead of using unproven supplements, men are better served optimizing health through evidence-based lifestyle approaches:
To minimize adverse reactions, Dr. Soni offers this advice to patients on hCG therapy: