Testosterone and PCT
If you are contemplating the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), you may have concerns about Post Cycle Therapy (PCT). In this guide, we provide you with all the necessary information.
While it is feasible to engage in intense training and achieve the desired physique, the awe-inspiring physiques of professional bodybuilders go beyond eating copious amounts of calories and spending countless hours pumping iron in the gym. Those bulging muscles necessitate an extra boost beyond the natural capacity of any man, and that’s where performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) such as anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) come into play.
Although we do not condone the use of steroids for non-medical purposes, if you are considering this avenue to attain the desired physique, we offer the information you require to ensure your safety and minimize the associated risks.
Anabolic steroids are a synthetic form of testosterone that can lead to adverse effects such as hormonal imbalances. If you are taking steroids, we suggest adhering to a Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) protocol with a professional. Our all-inclusive PCT guide will address any questions you may have and assist you in deciding whether it is worthwhile and necessary.
What is PCT
Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) refers to a pharmaceutical-based protocol that aids in the recovery of normal testosterone levels and reduces the negative side effects associated with steroid use.
When you consume exogenous testosterone (steroids), your body’s natural hormone production (endogenous testosterone) is suppressed because it is already receiving sufficient testosterone. Habitual steroid use is not recommended due to the numerous side effects, which we will discuss below. When you stop taking steroids, your body’s ability to produce testosterone naturally is compromised.
To prevent building up tolerance, most people use steroids in “cycles,” which also allows the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (HPTA), the system that regulates hormone production, to increase testosterone production after use. However, the influx of synthetic hormones from steroid use upsets the body’s balance. When anabolic steroid use ceases, the body takes time to recover to normal testosterone levels. The post-steroid user is vulnerable to muscle mass loss and increased estrogen levels, in addition to health complications. Negative side effects can include mood swings, fatigue, depression, a deeper voice, loss of libido, water retention, and even an increase in breast size.
To reduce the adverse side effects, post cycle therapy (PCT) is employed. Under the supervision of a qualified physician, a combination of legitimate medicine is utilized to restore the user’s hormonal balance. Oestrogen levels are reduced, and the user’s natural level of endogenous testosterone is reached. This regulated method of healing the hormone system is highly recommended for steroid users. If you neglect to utilize post cycle therapy after steroid use, your natural testosterone levels may take a longer time to bounce back, and you may lose the muscle gains you worked so hard to achieve.
When should I start PCT?
If you are using any drugs that suppress your natural testosterone production, it is recommended that you begin a PCT protocol after ending the cycle. For SARMs and prohormones, you can begin PCT immediately after discontinuing use. However, for steroids, it is advisable to wait for a week before starting PCT.
Proper timing is crucial for a successful post cycle therapy (PCT). The timing of when to start PCT depends on the type of steroids used. For short ester base steroids such as Testosterone Propionate or Trenbolone Acetate, PCT should begin within 3-4 days of the last injection. However, for long or large ester base steroids such as Testosterone Cypionate or Nandrolone Decanoate, it is recommended to wait at least 14 days before beginning PCT. In the case of Nandrolone Decanoate, waiting for a full 21 days may be advisable.
If HCG is part of the PCT plan (although generally not recommended if used on cycle), the timing of its use also depends on the type of steroids used. If short ester base steroids are used, HCG should be administered approximately 3 days after the last injection and should last for 10 days of treatment (500-1,000iu per day). For large ester base steroids, HCG should be administered approximately 10 days after the last injection and should last for 10 days of treatment (500-1,000iu per day). Once HCG treatment is completed, the use of SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators) should immediately begin.
How Long Does It Last?
The duration of the PCT drug program typically lasts for one to six weeks, starting from when the body is completely free of anabolic steroids. However, the length of the PCT program can vary depending on individual circumstances, such as the type of drugs used, the dosage taken, and the duration of use. It is important to note that if you are a regular steroid user, you will require prescriptions to help regulate your hormone levels and should seek the guidance of a doctor.
In some cases, the therapeutic period may need to be extended for several weeks. Slow-release steroids may take longer to leave the body, so it could take several weeks after the last injection was administered until the body is free of artificial testosterone.
What Drugs Are Used for PCT?
Post cycle therapy (PCT) typically involves the use of drugs such as aromatase inhibitors, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), and others. These medications are utilized to regulate post-cycle estrogen production and address other hormonal imbalances that may arise after the cessation of anabolic steroid use. A healthcare provider can determine the appropriate PCT protocol based on individual needs and circumstances.
Clomiphene (brand name: Clomid) and Tamoxifen (brand name: Nolvadex) are commonly used in post cycle therapy to help regulate post-cycle estrogen production and block negative effects on the body. These drugs are known as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) and are different from SARMs. After stopping anabolic steroids, estrogen levels can increase dramatically and cause hormonal imbalances, making regulatory drugs necessary.
Clomid acts on the estrogen receptors in the hypothalamus and pituitary glands to release luteinizing hormones (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH), which are crucial for fertility. A normal hormone balance is essential for healthy sperm production.
Nolvadex helps prevent estrogen surges that can be dangerous and cause conditions such as stroke, prostate disease, and heart issues. It is effective at reducing estrogen levels, allowing endogenous testosterone to return to a stable, healthy level.
In addition to these drugs, supplements such as phosphatidylserine and acetyl-l-carnitine may be used in PCT to lower cortisol levels. High post-cycle levels of this stress hormone can lead to catabolism, breaking down components vital to human wellbeing such as body tissues and complex compounds.
Arimidex (anastrozole) is an aromatase inhibitor (AI) that is sometimes used during post cycle therapy (PCT) in conjunction with selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) like Clomid or Nolvadex. Aromatase is an enzyme that converts androgens (such as testosterone) into estrogen. Arimidex works by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme, which reduces estrogen levels in the body. This can help prevent the negative side effects of high estrogen levels that can occur during PCT, such as gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue in males) and water retention. However, it’s important to note that Arimidex should be used with caution during PCT and under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as it can also lower estrogen levels too much, which can have its own negative effects on the body.
Post-cycle therapy is essential for returning endogenous testosterone to its natural levels and for post-cycle healing. Neglecting to have a recognized PCT after stopping anabolic steroid use can be dangerous and is not recommended.