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Testosterone Side Effects

As with any hormone that is introduced into the body, there are some testosterone side effects that can cause problems for athletes and bodybuilders. Of course, by taking some precautions and using this injectable hormone correctly, it is possible to reduce risks and enhance benefits at the same time.

Typical Testosterone Dosage

The typical dosage of testosterone swings wildly depending upon the person using it, his or her tolerance to it, and the desired results. For many, as little as 75mg per week provides the energy boost they desire. However, for others, and particularly for those who are supplementing with anabolic steroids to quickly increase muscle mass, as much as 2000mg per week may be used. It is important to remember that the most dramatic and dangerous testosterone side effects occur with the higher doses and with prolonged use.

Experience LevelMin Weekly DoseMax Weekly Dose
Beginner
200mg
500mg
Intermediate
500mg
1000mg
*Advanced
1000mg
2000mg

*Not all experienced users will find 2000mg of testosterone per week tolerable. Doses more than 1000mg per week increase the risk of testosterone side effects.

For the most part, the doses above represent good starting points for individuals using testosterone for performance enhancement. This information is only meant to be used as a guideline and should not replace dosing or prescribing information given to you by your physician. It is important to remember that you will need to measure the milligrams per milliliter of testosterone if you are using an injectable form. When using oral testosterone, the packaging should indicate the number of milligrams per pill. Failing to properly measure your dose before injection or ingestion could lead to severe testosterone side effects.

Liver Toxicity of Testosterone

Because athletes tend to inject testosterone rather than take it orally, liver toxicity is not a major concern. However, because the 17b hydroxyl esters found in the hormone are known to be hepatotoxic to a degree, there is still a chance that liver damage may occur. Something to consider, though, is that testosterone is known to increase blood pressure and high blood pressure can cause liver damage over time. When it is being stacked with steroids, the risk of testosterone side effects like this can increase dramatically.

Allergic Reaction

An allergic reaction to testosterone is very, very rare. However, it is possible that you may have an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients used as a filler in testosterone pills or injections. For this reason, it’s helpful to understand the signs and symptoms. While allergic reactions are technically not testosterone side effects, they can be detrimental and potentially even life-threatening.

The main symptom associated with a mild allergic reaction is an itchy rash that cannot be otherwise explained. It is an indicator of an elevated level of histamine, which is a compound released by your cells when they respond to allergies. It causes smooth muscles to contract, and it dilates capillaries, which may result in discomfort and itching. When allergic reactions are more severe, the presence of histamine increases. This may result in potentially life-threatening symptoms like dangerously low blood pressure or swelling in the throat or tongue that can obstruct breathing. If you experience any kind of sudden facial swelling after using testosterone, it’s vital that you stop using it and seek immediate medical help.

Test Side Effects

Testosterone side effects are reported to varying degrees based upon the dosage and the length of time for which it is being used. The mild effects and the ones most commonly reported include:

  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Changes in libido;
  • Hair loss;
  • Facial and body acne;
  • Oily skin;
  • Changes in skin color;

Serious side effects that require immediate medical intervention include:

  • Significant changes in mood or mental status;
  • Signs of serious liver trouble such as abdominal pain, a yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine or difficulty urinating;
  • Heart palpitations;
  • Extremely high blood pressure;

In men, the following side effects may occur:

  • Gynecomastia;
  • Trouble urinating;
  • Frequent or prolonged erections;
  • Decrease in sperm count and fertility;

Women should watch for the following testosterone side effects:

  • Deepening of the voice;
  • Hoarseness;
  • Development of unusual body hair;
  • Enlargement of the clitoris; and
  • Irregular periods or the cessation of menstrual periods.

Tips for Mitigating Testosterone Side Effects

While testosterone side effects range from mild to severe, the good news is that it is possible to mitigate many of them. Understanding what you should expect and how you can prevent problems will go a long way during your cycles. Certain side effects, such as gastrointestinal issues, oily skin, and headaches are usually mild in nature, and for most users, they go away on their own over time. You can treat the symptoms as they arise, but it’s difficult to negate the risk due to the nature of the side effects.

When it comes to side effects like gynecomastia and testosterone suppression, there are things you can to do ensure your safety. Gynecomastia is one of the estrogenic testosterone side effects, and it occurs as the body’s aromatase enzyme converts excess free testosterone into estrogen. To avoid it, be sure to use an aromatase inhibitor such as Letrozole or Arimidex during your cycle. These block the aromatase enzyme, preventing the estrogen conversion, and keeping you safe from estrogenic side effects.

Testosterone Cycles and Suppressed Hormone Production

Testosterone Side EffectsAnother important consideration comes from the testosterone side effects that occur due to suppressed hormone production. When you introduce exogenous testosterone into your bloodstream, you essentially flood your body with the hormone and flood its receptors. When the receptors are full, the hormones responsible for stimulating testosterone production – luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) – aren’t released.

Over time, your body will stop producing its own supply. This is not bothersome until the end of your cycle, when you are no longer introducing testosterone into your body. Because you cannot produce your own testosterone, and your body is no longer creating it, you may experience symptoms related to low testosterone. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Low sex drive;
  • Erectile dysfunction and impotence;
  • Testicular atrophy (decreased testicle size);
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Weight gain;
  • Slowed hair growth;
  • Chronic fatigue; and
  • Skin changes.

You can avoid most of these side effects by planning and executing post-cycle therapy (PCT) after your course of testosterone. Testosterone PCT should include a SERM, or Selective Estrogen Reuptake Modulator, which is a drug designed to stimulate the production of LH and FSH. This will essentially kick-start your body’s natural testosterone production post-cycle, allowing you to avoid these testosterone side effects. Examples include Clomid and Nolvadex.

While it is true that testosterone side effects can be quite serious in nature, many people who use this hormone only experience mild effects that go away during treatment. Again, and as with all Testosterone supplements, it is important to use testosterone at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible period of time to decrease the risks involved.