When you think of testosterone replacement therapy, you probably think of men well into their 50s and 60s who get testosterone prescriptions from their doctors to keep their hormone levels in check. However, bodybuilders must also participate in this therapy in order to prevent a host of problems associated with having too little testosterone.
The Effects of Low Testosterone
When there is not enough testosterone in your body, whether due to age or the suppression of your body’s ability to produce it, you may experience some or all of the following:
- Decreased sex drive
- Occasional impotence
- Increased body fat
- Testicular atrophy (hypogonadism)
The good news is that testosterone replacement therapy helps to keep these effects at bay, and it is often quite simple to implement it into your daily routine.
Natural Lack of Testosterone vs. Testosterone Suppression
As men age, their bodies slowly start producing less and less testosterone. Although this is a natural process and one that most men will experience at some point in their lives, there is no reason to just “live with it”. Testosterone replacement therapy helps to make up for the hormone that their bodies no longer produce, thus combatting all of the effects listed above.
In bodybuilders who use anabolic steroids or high amounts of testosterone to build muscle, things are different. These individuals fill their testosterone receptors with exogenous testosterone and testosterone-like chemicals, thereby shutting down their bodies’ ability and need to produce the hormone naturally. Then, when they stop using the steroid, they have no testosterone at all. This is why they must implement post-cycle therapy to ward off significant symptoms like gynecomastia and hypogonadism.
When Do You Need Testosterone Suppression?
If you are in your mid to late 30s and you have noticed changes in your sex drive, moods, and performance in the bedroom, low testosterone may be to blame. Your physician can run tests to determine your levels, and he or she can also prescribe a testosterone supplement to help you get things back to normal once again. You may use a pill, gel, or cream each day, or you may be asked to return to your doctor’s office once or twice per week for an injection. In some cases, you may be able to administer prescribed testosterone injections at home.
Specific Advice for Bodybuilders
Things are a bit different for bodybuilders and athletes who choose to use anabolic steroids or exogenous testosterone for performance enhancement. In this case, their bodies stop producing testosterone altogether. Testosterone replacement therapy becomes a necessity, and that is why most steroid cycle contain some type of injectable testosterone. However, post-cycle therapy is the most important consideration. This helps your body begin to produce normal amounts of testosterone once again. This PCT process involves using a SERM, which creates the hormones that stimulate your testicles to produce testosterone. The therapy lasts four to six weeks, on average.
Testosterone replacement therapy is simple enough, and it is something that all men should consider at some point in their lives. Not only does it help counteract irritability, fatigue, and issues in the bedroom, but it also helps you feel like your younger self once again.