We take a look at the steroid related side effects when using Testosterone Enanthate in anabolic cycles, how to combat these negative effects, prevention and treatment.
Testosterone Enanthate does have potential for more side effects than various other anabolic steroids. However, it can be said that they are easily manageable – more so than certain other compounds out there, such as Trenbolone for example. This is one of the reasons why it is recommended that first-time beginner users start their first cycles out with a solitary Testosterone-only cycle. There are certain indications that must be kept in mind for beginners and especially those who are too young to be using anabolic steroids. General lists of some side effects are: gynecomastia, acne, HPTA (Hypothalamic-Pituitary Testicular Axis) inhibition, water retention, prostate enlargement, potential hair loss, and high blood pressure (mostly as a result of water retention).
The use of Testosterone for those who are too young to be using anabolic steroids present a variety of possible problems and side effects that would otherwise not be experienced by those who are fully grown and developed adults. The determined generally acceptable age to use anabolic steroids – the age by which the human body is known to have fully matured its endocrine system and other certain bodily functions – is about the age of 24. Until the age of 24, most human bodies are still growing in a handful of various areas, albeit essential areas. Two of these areas we are concerned with in underage anabolic steroid use are: bone growth and endocrine maturity. Many people’s bone growth plates do not close until their early 20s. Some do before then, and some do not. One major factor in the fusion of growth places (which disallows any further height growth once complete) is estrogen. Estrogen is one of the key components in signaling growth plate fusion, and should high estrogen levels become present in an individual who is still growing, this person will fuse their growth plates and shortchange themselves of any possible further growth. The use of Testosterone Enanthate can potentiate this downside through its aromatization process when supraphysiological levels of Testosterone are present in the human body. The other possibility of HPTA inhibition is quite easily explained by the fact that until the age of 24, this sensitive component of the endocrine system is still under maturation in most of us. Any introduction of excessively high levels of androgens such as Testosterone will result in endogenous Testosterone production shutdown, or at the very least, vast slowdown. Should this occur in an individual who’s HPTA has not fully matured, they will present themselves with a very high risk of compromising their endogenous Testosterone production permanently. This can present serious problems for the rest of the person’s life whereby their body produces sub-normal levels of Testosterone, and the person must thereby be placed on hormone replacement therapy.
In terms of the general Testosterone Enanthate side effects that have the possibility to be experienced by most others, including those whose bodies are fully matured, we have one of the most commonly worried about: gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is the development of breast tissue in males. This results from the aromatization of Testosterone into estrogen as mentioned many times in the previous sections. This can result in estrogen levels rising to a level high enough to trigger gynecomastia. The onset of this condition results in symptoms of: itchy nipples, tender/painful to the touch, an increase of tissue in the area, and a hard lump just beneath the nipple. It is important to note that not all users will experience this (or any other side effect), as some may for many different reasons not be predisposed to it. However, should one encounter this unfavorable condition, the methods by which this can be dealt with are through the use of ancillary compounds. Two types of these ancillary compounds we are concerned with are: Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs) and SERMs (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators). Aromatase Inhibitors (such as Arimidex, Aromasin, and Letrozole) inhibit the enzyme aromatase, which is the enzyme responsible for the conversion of Testosterone into Estrogen. With aromatase inhibited with an AI, one can effectively block estrogen production (or at least a hefty portion of it) at the roots before there is an opportunity for it to form. The other option is through a SERM, such as Nolvadex or Toremifene. SERMs are compounds which mimic estrogen, bind to the same receptor sites, but essentially act as ‘duds’ and do nothing in certain tissues (thereby blocking estrogen’s ability to bind to those receptors), while acting as an estrogen ‘actively’ in other tissues. The former is known as being an estrogen antagonist, and the latter is known as being an estrogen agonist. In short, SERMs act as estrogen antagonists in breast tissue while acting as estrogen agonists in certain other tissues. They effectively block estrogen from doing its job at the receptor sites, but do not reduce estrogen levels in the body.
Alongside the issue of estrogen conversion is the issue of water retention, and therefore high blood pressure as a further result. Estrogen promotes water retention in various areas and organs of the body (especially subcutaneously), thereby adding further weight to the individual users. Because of the added fluid retention, blood pressure can often end up soaring very high. Water retention can first and foremost be effectively controlled by controlling various aspects of the diet: limiting sodium intake, limiting simple carbohydrate consumption, and drinking lots of water. But those wishing to eliminate water retention at the root cause should use an Aromatase Inhibitor. As previously mentioned, AIs decrease estrogen serum blood levels through disabling the mechanism responsible for estrogen increase (aromatase enzyme). As a result, the cause for water retention is eliminated, and therefore water retention is eliminated along with any effects that are caused by it as well.
One particular potential Testosterone Enanthate side effect is acne. Acne can be caused both by the androgenic nature of Testosterone itself, the conversion of Testosterone into DHT, as well as estrogen. Androgen-related acne can be controlled with the use of a 5-Alpha Reductase inhibitor such as Proscar or Finasteride, which disables the enzyme responsible for converting Testosterone into the far more androgenic DHT. One can also use the shampoo Nizoral, which contains the active ingredient Ketocozanole. This ingredient, when applied topically, will block DHT from binding to receptor sites on whatever area it is rubbed into. This will decrease the increased sebum (oil) secretion from the skin, thereby reducing the potential for acne to form. Essentially, Nizoral acts upon DHT receptors in the same manner SERMs act upon estrogen receptors.
The androgenic nature of Testosterone and its metabolite DHT are also in part (to various extents) responsible for playing a role in MPB (Male Pattern Baldness) and BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), which is prostate growth. As such, the risk of MPB will increase, but one must understand that the using individual must possess the genetic trait responsible for this condition. If the genetic trait is possessed, then the androgen (in this case, Testosterone or DHT) may very well trigger the condition. The same can be said for prostatic effects. For the prevention of any possible risk of MPB, it is recommended that Nizoral 2% shampoo be used in the hair on a regular basis in order to block androgens from binding to receptors in scalp tissue. For added protection, the individual can also run a 5-Alpha Reductase inhibitor as well. In the case of prostate hypertrophy, an option such as Nizoral does not exist. Therefore, if one has a large amount of concern over the risks associated with the prostate, the only viable option would be a 5-Alpha Reductase inhibitor alongside an herbal supplement, such as Saw Palmetto, which is an excellent anti-inflammatory for the prostate.
Let us move on to the issue of HPTA inhibition, as I have previously touched upon concerning underage/young users that are far too young to be using anabolic steroids. Testosterone, in supraphysiological doses via the negative feedback loop in the endocrine system, will eventually signal endogenous Testosterone production shutdown. It can vary between individuals and depends on various factors such as: dose, duration of cycle, and individual responsiveness/genetics. It may range from total shutdown to slight inhibition of endogenous production. It is important to be aware of the risks, as this potential side effect is the side effect most likely to result in permanent damage should the user be ignorant or careless of it. Following any cycle, a proper PCT( Post Cycle Therapy) protocol should be utilized, whereby a combination of the following 3: SERMs, Aromatase Inhibitor, and HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) are used. Some find that the use of two SERMs (Nolvadex and Clomid) is sufficient enough to recover endogenous Testosterone production in PCT, and others find they require a more ‘aggressive’ PCT protocol whereby an AI and HCG is added. Typical PCT protocols last for 4-6 weeks and many different types can be found on the internet, in books, in forums, etc. The 4-6 week time period is generally the ideal time required to fully restore HPTA function. . Failure to include a proper PCT protocol can result in permanent damage to the body’s own Testosterone production in the long term. It is highly recommended to have blood work done to monitor results.
As mentioned in a previous section, Testosterone Enanthate is considered a very strong androgenic compound that is for the most part considered too androgenic for females to use. Should any female choose to utilize Testosterone for a cycle, she must be aware of the risks of using such a powerful androgen. The first obvious effect to state is that for females, the possibility of developing male characteristics exists. This is known as virilization. It includes: growth of facial and body hair, increased sebum (skin oil) production, deepening of the voice, and enlarged clitoris. The stronger the androgen used, the most prominent and speedily these side effects become apparent, and Testosterone Enanthate is a very strong androgen considered for females.