A Complete Guide to Anabolic Steroid Hormonal Shutdown
Whether you’re looking to bulk up and pile on some serious mass, or cut for a lean, hard physique, you’ll find an anabolic steroid which can help you achieve your goals.
But while anabolic steroids all have slightly different actions, and can produce different results, there’s one thing they all have in common: shutdown.
Without exception, all anabolic steroids have the ability to cause the shutdown of the production of testosterone within the body. And that has a pretty widespread effect causing everything from impotence and low libido to depression.
Unfortunately, there’s no escaping testosterone shutdown when you use anabolic steroids as they’ll all have the same effect. But understanding the process within the body is the first step to managing the problem. Here’s what you need to know….
Why does shutdown occur?
All anabolic steroids belong to a group of drugs known as androgens. Some steroids are more androgenic than others, but they all have a similar effect on the body.
Natural testosterone is produced in the testicles, and any surplus is sent around the body where it’s used to build muscle and fulfill other typically male functions, such as grow body hair. The testicles know how much testosterone to produce because the brain tells them.
When the brain identifies that there’s not enough testosterone it stimulates the release of certain hormones such as LH and FSH which in turn travel down to the testicles and pass on the message.
Shutdown occurs because the androgenic effect on the body is almost the same as the testosterone produced. The brain therefore thinks there’s too much of it in circulation and orders the testicles to stop producing, which they inevitably do.
You might be wondering what the problem is if there’s lots of testosterone-type substances being pumped around the body. However, there is no way for this to get out of the bloodstream and into the testicles and therein lies the problem.
Without any testosterone in the testicles, the male body stops the production of sperm and when you stop your cycle there’s also some other unpleasant effects too.
What symptoms will I notice?
Because you’re still taking testosterone, you won’t notice the effects of your body producing no natural testosterone in many ways, at least during your cycle.
This means that production could have shutdown completely and you wouldn’t know it because the external testosterone that’s being introduced is compensating and masking the problem.
However, because the external testosterone can’t reach all areas from the blood stream, you will notice some side effects, namely shrunken testicles.
You might feel quite alarmed to notice that your balls are shrinking, but this is just due to the fact they don’t need to produce any sperm. You will also be sterile during this period. Providing you’ve been sensible about the cycle and haven’t dosed too high, too long or too frequently, everything should revert to normal once you finish taking the drug. Eventually…
Recovering from shutdown
While you’re taking the external testosterone in the form of an anabolic steroid, you might not notice too many problems other than the testicular atrophy but once the cycle stops, that’s when the issues start.
Unfortunately, your body won’t immediately recognize that you’re no longer taking the external testosterone and recommence its own production. So this is when you could really be hit with the symptoms of testosterone shutdown. These could include loss of libido, inability to get an erection and low mood. Oh, and your balls won’t return to their proper size yet either!
If you abuse anabolic steroids by not following the proper protocols, you could find that this situation is permanent. However, if you’re cycling properly, this state of shutdown should be only temporary.
After any anabolic steroid cycle, you should undertake something known as PCT – Post Cycle Therapy. This will help to encourage your body to re-start natural production of testosterone. Without PCT it can take many months – or longer! – for natural testosterone production to return. And that’s a long time to be experiencing the symptoms of shutdown…
Shutdown is inevitable
It’s important to understand that shutdown is inevitable when using anabolic steroids, and also that your body needs some support to recover. But by making sure you don’t cycle too hard, take breaks between cycles and use proper PCT to help recommence production, you should find that all of the symptoms (including shrunken testicles) will resolve.