You probably already know that testosterone plays some very important roles in the male and female bodies alike. It supports muscle growth, bone density, and sexual health in both genders. Although many men (and some women) seek replacement therapy regularly, very few people actually stop to consider the possibility of:
How Much Testosterone is Enough?
When men reach about age 30, their testosterone levels start dropping. This is a fact of life, and some 70% of men will experience the symptoms of low T in their 30s, 40s, and beyond. Some of these men seek replacement therapy, and the goal is to supplement their bodies’ waning production to boost their hormone levels back to “normal”. The term “normal” refers to amounts between 270ng/dL and 1070ng/dL. Anything less than 270 is considered low, and more than 1070 is high.
How Much Testosterone do Bodybuilders Need?
This is quite the controversial question, but it is one that deserves to be addressed when talking about the side effects of testosterone injections. Often, bodybuilders will use supplemental in doses of 500mg to 1000mg (or more) a week in an effort to improve their bodies’ anabolic state and help them gain more muscle. Over time, these athletes push their levels well into the 4000 to 5000ng/dL range, which is far above normal. It is at this point that their bodies begin to change and adapt, and it makes it easier for them to gain lean muscle mass or shed unwanted body fat.
Though this may seem quite dangerous, it is important to remember that these individuals mitigate injection side effects by cycling their hormones and using them responsibly. Studies have shown that using anabolic steroids for short periods of time is quite safe if the user is otherwise healthy and has no underlying medical conditions. Using short cycles, the proper supplements, and the right PCT can make a tremendous difference with regards to the side effects of testosterone shots. Dosing varies based on goals, as well. The chart below provides a point of reference for those who are interested in using for performance enhancement. Remember, though, that not everyone is the same, and some people may need more or less to reach their goals.
Goals Dose per Week
Highly Common Adverse Side Effects
Men do not experience any negative side effects when their levels fall within the normal range. In fact, having the right amount actually lends a lot to overall health and well-being. You probably already understand the effects of having too little, but having too much can also cause problems. Most of these side effects are the result of the body’s conversion of excess into estrogen, and they include:
- Oily skin and acne
- Enlarged prostate
- Water retention
- Testicular atrophy
Symptoms like oily skin and prostate enlargement depend on genetics, though. If you have never had an issue with acne and if no one in your family has prostate issues, your odds of developing them are slim.
Low Test Side Effects
Negative testosterone side effects can also occur in men who have too little in their bodies. These side effects range from mild to quite severe, depending on the level of deficiency, and they include things like a decreased libido, chronic fatigue, fat gain, muscle loss, erectile dysfunction, and even testicular atrophy when left undiagnosed and untreated. Fortunately, more and more physicians around the world are willing to treat men for this condition, and it’s relatively simple to get a prescription for supplements. In this case, testosterone side effects should not exist since these are used to bring levels back to normal – not to push them well above the normal limits.
Side Effects in Women
Women also need small amounts of in order to remain healthy. In women, normal levels range from 15ng/dL to 70ng/dL – only a fraction of what men have in their systems at any given time. Women rarely experience high testosterone, but female bodybuilders who supplement with anabolic steroids often do. Most steroids are derivatives with very slight molecular changes, and when women use them, they often have higher-than-normal amounts in their bodies.
Virilization is the term given to a woman’s development of male physical traits due to high levels. Symptoms include:
- Deepening voice
- Development of facial and body hair
- Clitoral enlargement
- Male-pattern baldness
Women may also experience testosterone side effects if they have too little in their bodies, but it is important to note that for women, these effects are far less dire. They may experience things like low libido, a slight loss of bone density, higher pain levels, and slightly lower levels of cognition, but these things are so slight that most doctors don’t even treat women if they have unusually low levels.
Combatting Adverse Side Effects
For the most part, using an aromatase inhibitor during a cycle with a steroid or exogenous helps keep the testosterone side effects at bay. Your body uses an enzyme known as aromatase to break down extra into estrogen, and this excess estrogen is what causes the majority of the side effects. An aromatase inhibitor binds to the aromatase, essentially preventing it from converting that free testosterone into estrogen. AIs should be an integral part of your cycles. The side effects of test boosters can also be mitigated through proper PCT, which helps you restart your body’s natural production once your cycle ends.
Remember that exogenous testosterone halts your body’s natural production, so unless you take action, you may experience the symptoms of low-T. What’s more, when test levels in your body are incredibly low, this may allow for excess estrogen uptake and create testosterone injection side effects like gynecomastia. Be sure to follow PCT guidelines if you use to avoid these testosterone side effects. Although testosterone is undeniably the most important chemical compound in your body when it comes to building mass and enjoying a lean, toned physique, it can cause problems if you do not mitigate them ahead of time. In fact, without the proper precautions, virilization and gynecomastia can become permanent.