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 testosterone 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 testosterone in their 30s, 40s, and beyond.
Some of these men seek testosterone 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 testosterone 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 testosterone 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 testosterone injection side effects by cycling their hormones and using them responsibly. Studies have shown that using anabolic steroids including testosterone 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 Testosterone supplements, and the right PCT can make a tremendous difference with regards to the side effects of testosterone shots. Testosterone dosing varies based on goals, as well. The chart below provides a point of reference for those who are interested in using testosterone 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|
High Testosterone Side Effects
Men do not experience any negative side effects associated with testosterone when their levels fall within the normal range. In fact, having the right amount of testosterone actually lends a lot to overall health and well-being. You probably already understand the effects of having too little testosterone, but having too much can also cause problems. Most of these side effects are the result of the body’s conversion of excess testosterone 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 Testosterone Side Effects
Negative testosterone side effects can also occur in men who have too little testosterone 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 testosterone supplements. In this case, testosterone supplement side effects should not exist since these are used to bring levels back to normal – not to push them well above the normal limits.
Testosterone Side Effects in Women
Women also need small amounts of testosterone in order to remain healthy. In women, normal testosterone 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 of testosterone with very slight molecular changes, and when women use them, they often have higher-than-normal amounts of testosterone in their bodies.
Virilization is the term given to a woman’s development of male physical traits due to high levels of testosterone. 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 testosterone levels.
Combatting High Testosterone Side Effects
For the most part, using an aromatase inhibitor during a cycle with a steroid or exogenous testosterone helps keep the testosterone side effects at bay. Your body uses an enzyme known as aromatase to break down extra testosterone 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 testosterone boosters can also be mitigated through proper PCT, which helps you restart your body’s natural testosterone 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 testosterone 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 testosterone to avoid these 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.