The side effects of HGH vary somewhat based on the dosage and your unique physical tolerance. They can be broken down into three categories: frequent, rare, and theoretical side effects. Understanding these can help you decide whether HGH is right for you, and they can also help you titrate your dosage to perfection.
Frequently Reported Side Effects of HGH
These side effects are among those reported most commonly by people who use HGH. In some cases, the symptoms were mild and resolved on their own over time. In others, the symptoms were moderate to severe.
- Nerve, muscle, and joint pain. Many people who use HGH experience nerve, muscle, and joint pain – particularly in the first 20 to 30 minutes after getting out of bed. It is thought that this pain is due to the regeneration that occurs while the body is asleep.
- Water retention. Most people who supplement with HGH experience some water weight gain at first, but this seems to dissipate fairly quickly. If you notice that your face or fingers feel uncomfortably swollen, consider dropping your dose to below 4IU.
- Numbness or tingling skin, particularly in the hands. This may be a precursor to a more serious condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Most of the time, lowering the dose can help resolve any numbness or tingling you might experience.
Rare Side Effects of HGH
The following side effects occur only rarely in people who use HGH. When they do occur, they are more common in people who use the hormone at a high dose over a long period of time.
- Hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia refers to a condition in which there is not enough sugar in the blood. Although not everyone will experience it, it is most likely to occur when starting, ending, or modifying an HGH cycle. Keeping sugar on hand (particularly after workouts) can help, but some people inevitably must stop taking HGH in order to balance their blood sugar.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. Some athletes experience significant pain in their hands and wrists along with a feeling of “pins and needles”. This is caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs in bodybuilders when growing muscles put pressure on the carpal tunnel, or the sheath through which nerves pass from your arms to your hands.
Theoretical HGH Side Effects
Some of the side effects of HGH are theoretical. This means that there have been no real studies to prove that HGH is the official cause, but experts agree that they could happen.
- Existing cancer growth. Because HGH’s main purpose is to assist the body in quicker regeneration of cells and tissues, HGH could theoretically speed the growth of existing cancer. Thus, if you have cancer now, have had it in the past, or you are at very high risk, HGH may not be a good idea.
- Acromegaly. Acromegaly is a condition in which bones and organs grow beyond their usual proportions. When bones and organs grow too large, they are unable to function properly and their stability is compromised. However, experts agree that in practical use, it would take more than a decade of solid HGH use at 4IU or more per day for acromegaly to occur.
What are the Side Effects of HGH in Women?
Though men and women often share the same side effects of HGH, there are some that are more prevalent in women. They may be very mild, or they may be quite severe depending on your personal tolerance.
- Almost everyone experiences some bloat with HGH, but it is usually worse in women. If bloat becomes severe, OTC products like Midol, which contain mild diuretics, may help. Otherwise, you may need to lower your dose.
- Menstrual changes. Some women using HGH report changes to their menstrual cycles, as well. For example, menopausal women have reported spotting after not menstruating for several years, and premenopausal women have noticed some interruptions in their cycles.
- Enhanced fertility. Some studies have shown that HGH can cause a measurable increase in ovarian follicles. In fact, some fertility specialists prescribe HGH to women who are struggling to conceive for this reason. Women should be aware of these HGH side effects and plan accordingly. Contraception is vital for women who do not want to become pregnant, and it may be in your best interest to use more than one form of contraception, such as condoms or spermicide, alongside your normal birth control method.
Mitigating HGH Side Effects with Dosage
By far, the best way to avoid HGH side effects is through careful dosage and cycling. Remember that the more you use, the shorter your cycle should be. You should also be sure to tailor your dose to your individual needs and goals. The chart below shows common HGH doses for men that you can use as a point of reference.
|Goal||Daily Dose Range (Men)||Daily Dose Range (Women)|
Though it’s rare to see HGH used in a medical setting in adults, it has been shown to boost the body’s ability to heal after a significant trauma or major burn. In this case, physicians may prescribe anywhere from 8IU to as much as 16IU per day, but this is only for a very short period of time and under the close observation of medical staff. Men should never exceed a dose of 8IU per day, and because women tend to respond more favorably to small doses, they should never take more than 3IU daily.
Tips for Safety: Avoiding HGH Injections Side Effects
HGH supplement side effects can vary from mild to severe, and while you already know the best way to prevent them is through proper dosage, there are a few other guidelines you can follow, too.
- Plan your cycle length. Your cycle length should vary based on your chosen dose. While it’s possible to use 1IU to 2IU daily indefinitely for anti-aging or wellness, anything more than this should be cycled appropriately. For example, if you’re taking the maximum of 8IU daily, be sure to keep that cycle to 16 weeks or less to prevent some of the more significant negative effects of HGH.
- Know your body. The more severe side effects of HGH are often physical in nature, which means you can see them happening. If your hands, ears, nose, feet, toes, or fingers appear to be growing, it’s a very good sign that you’ve exceeded the maximum dose, or that you’ve been taking it too long. These side effects are irreversible, so you must be diligent and know your body.
- Get regular medical examinations. HGH side effects on men and women alike may also be unnoticeable without blood tests. Hypoglycemia may have some symptoms, but an enlarged heart does not. Regular physicals and lab tests can help you keep an eye on your health.
Take symptoms seriously. Finally, if you notice anything that seems abnormal in the way you feel, you should always take this seriously. After all, many of the side effects of HGH can become permanent if not immediately addressed.
For most people who use the hormone according to directions and recommendations, the side effects of HGH are very mild and they go away on their own over time. The more severe side effects can be avoided with lower doses and shorter cycles. If at any point you notice significant pain or swelling, or if you begin to feel sick, stop using HGH and contact your doctor for advice.