Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) Injections for Men

HCG injections have received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of certain medical conditions. In individuals assigned female at birth (FAABs), these injections can aid in the treatment of infertility. For those assigned male at birth (MAABs), they are approved for managing a form of hypogonadism.

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), often referred to as “the pregnancy hormone,” plays a crucial role in sustaining pregnancy.

Pregnancy tests assess hCG levels in either urine or blood to ascertain whether an individual is pregnant or not.

Continue reading to discover its applications for individuals assigned male at birth (MAABs).

human chorionic gonadotropin injection

What is hCG used for in men?

There are a variety of reasons why a doctor might prescribe hCG to a man.

To help address hypogonadism

For men experiencing symptoms of hypogonadism, doctors may prescribe hCG to alleviate issues such as low testosterone levels and infertility. The administration of hCG can stimulate the body’s production of testosterone and sperm, thereby aiding in the alleviation of infertility.

To improve testosterone deficiency

In some cases, hCG injections serve as an alternative to testosterone products for individuals assigned male at birth (MAABs) dealing with testosterone deficiency.

Testosterone deficiency is characterized by testosterone blood levels below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) accompanied by symptoms such as fatigue, stress, low sex drive, and a depressed mood.

According to the American Urological Association, hCG is suitable for MAABs experiencing testosterone deficiency who also wish to preserve fertility. Unlike testosterone products that elevate hormone levels but may lead to side effects like gonad shrinkage, altered sexual function, and infertility, hCG can enhance gonad size, testosterone levels, and fertility.

Some medical professionals suggest that combining testosterone with hCG may help alleviate symptoms of testosterone deficiency while mitigating certain side effects associated with testosterone therapy.

To improve sexual function

hCG may also help improve sexual function in MAABs who don’t experience improvement while on testosterone.

To reverse steroid side effects

Bodybuilders utilizing anabolic steroids, including testosterone, occasionally incorporate hCG to mitigate or reverse certain side effects induced by steroids, such as gonad shrinkage and infertility.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin HCG

How does it work to increase testosterone?

In men, hCG functions similarly to luteinizing hormone (LH). LH prompts Leydig cells in the testicles to produce testosterone.

Additionally, LH stimulates the production of sperm within the seminiferous tubules, structures located in the testicles.

As hCG stimulates the testicles to generate both testosterone and sperm, there is a gradual increase in the size of the testicles over time.

How can I determine if my testosterone is low?

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What does the research say?

Limited clinical research has examined the effects of hCG in individuals assigned male at birth (MAABs) with low testosterone levels.

In a small 2002 study involving older MAABs with partial hypogonadism, hCG demonstrated an increase in testosterone levels compared to a placebo control. However, the study found no impact on sexual function.

A 2005 study revealed that MAABs taking testosterone in conjunction with hCG were able to sustain testosterone production in the testicles.

In a 2013 study, MAABs concurrently using testosterone and hCG maintained sufficient sperm production.

According to a 2018 study, hCG, whether used alone or in combination with testosterone, can aid MAABs with hypogonadism in preserving fertility. It has the potential to restore sperm production.

A small-scale 2019 study concluded that hCG was both safe and effective for MAABs experiencing symptoms of hypogonadism but with testosterone levels above 300 ng/dL, a range widely considered normal.

What are the side effects?

The primary side effects of hCG injections in men typically encompass:

  • Gynecomastia, characterized by the development of male breasts.
  • Discomfort, redness, and swelling at the injection site.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
    In isolated instances, individuals using hCG have experienced the formation of blood clots. While uncommon, allergic reactions may occur, ranging from mild skin rashes to severe anaphylactic reactions.

Can hCG be used for weight loss?

hCG is occasionally utilized for weight loss, with various products being marketed as over-the-counter (OTC) homeopathic hCG solutions for this purpose.

However, it’s important to note that the FDA has cautioned against the use of hCG products for weight loss, as they have not been approved for this specific application. Over-the-counter products claiming to contain hCG lack legal authorization as well.

Furthermore, the FDA has advised consumers that there is insufficient evidence supporting the effectiveness of hCG in weight loss.

These products are commonly associated with an “hCG diet,” which typically involves supplementing with hCG while adhering to a low-calorie diet of 500 calories per day. While such a low-calorie diet can lead to weight reduction, there is no evidence supporting the efficacy of hCG products in this context.

It is crucial to acknowledge that extremely low-calorie diets can pose risks for many individuals, potentially resulting in adverse effects such as gallstones, electrolyte imbalances, and arrhythmias.

Is hCG safe?

When utilized under the supervision of a healthcare professional, hCG is considered safe.

However, it is not advisable for individuals assigned male at birth (MAABs) with prostate cancer, specific brain cancers, or uncontrolled thyroid disease to use hCG.

Before incorporating hCG into your regimen, it is essential to discuss any other existing medical conditions with your doctor.

As hCG is derived from hamster ovary cells, individuals allergic to hamster protein should refrain from taking hCG.

It is strongly recommended to steer clear of over-the-counter (OTC) hCG products, as none of them have received FDA approval. The FDA issues a warning against the use of these products or adherence to the hCG diet.

What’s the takeaway?

hCG is an FDA-approved medication utilized to address specific conditions in both individuals assigned female at birth (FAABs) and men.

In men, it serves a crucial role as a substitute for testosterone, aiding in elevating testosterone levels while preserving fertility.

Certain healthcare professionals prescribe hCG alongside testosterone products for individuals with testosterone deficiency, aiming to sustain fertility and sexual function.

While some individuals use hCG for weight loss, particularly as part of the hCG diet, there is insufficient credible evidence supporting its efficacy for this purpose. Due to safety concerns, it is advisable to avoid hCG as a weight loss aid.

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