I think it's important to contol estrogen during a cycle, and if medically needed, at other times. You need estrogen for optimal gains, but to let estrogen levels raise beyond normal ranges for extra gains - is reckless, and supraphysiological levels of estrogen show no benefit unless one considers prostate growth and other sides as beneficial. Any aromatizing steriod used above normal levels (test) should be controlled and balanced. There are some compounds that alleviate symptoms like deca with its low androgenic effect but high binding power, and masteron (or dht in general) and it's displacement of estrogen, but once dosages get high, and I'm not even talking what people consider high but supraphysiological (anything above normal) levels. Old timers had to roll the dice or get creative with compound stacking to alleviate sides, which is good but an ai (when needed) is a almost necessary addition.
Excess estrogen makes recovery harder and has been shown to damageIs testicle cells and prostate damage/growth for a few extra pounds which is most likely only water? Estrogen has been shown to regulate igf-1 in muscle in a negative way when it comes to building muscle but positive in some others like smooth muscle and vascular.
It's a balanacing act - you want to control estrogen and try to keep it high enough to maintain/help with glucose sensitivity & muscle glucose storage; healthy hair, skin, lipids, and vascular system, etc. But on the other side you do not want estrogen to get too high as high estrogen levels, besides gyno and such, causes testicular cell damage which can/is permanent as well as make recovery harder, among other things. Estrogen is needed for overall health, and to optimize hypertrophy, but excess is excess and causes more harm than good.
So the point and goal should be to maintain estrogen within a healthy range; I like to keep it on the low side, but I get regular blood work. In general I feel that everyone should use a low dose of an AI (my preference is exemestane) with aromatizing steroids and up the dose only if needed.
I don't have much on PCT having only done it once recently, but not comfortable suggesting any thing other than pct. Some people have had great success with tapering and other methods, but it's not just stopping. I personally feel it's of great importance to control things during a cycle to help make recovery easier and I'm a big big fan of hcg to maintain LH/testicular function during a cycle.