T Nation

Bloodwork Timing Post-Cycle?

Hello all, I have a question about blood work timing.

Current stats:
Age - 34
Height - 5’5
Weight - 172lbs

Quick background:
I have been training for 10+ years and have competed in natural bodybuilding for the past 7. I earned my natural pro-card in 2019 and decided to cross over to the “dark side” and continue my competition career in the NPC. I discussed my plans with my Dr. before starting my first cycle, and we ran some pre-cycle blood work. The initial blood work showed a total testosterone level of 252ng/dl and a free testosterone level of 25.3 pg/ml (35.0-155.0pg/ml). So initial levels were a bit low for my age. We discussed the option of going on TRT, but at that time I wasn’t sure I was ready to make that jump. Fast-forward 12 weeks and I just finished my first cycle (final pin last Thursday); 12 weeks @ 400mg/week (200 2x/week) of Test E plus 0.25mg adex 2x/week (started in week 3 to combat bloating). Obviously the aesthetic and performance changes have been dramatic, however, what I was not prepared for was how much better I would feel overall. Sleep has been much improved, energy throughout the day is up, sexual health is better than ever, etc… It’s hard to fully explain, I just feel better. So I have decided to make the decision to start TRT. My wife and I have had the long conversation, she is on-board. We are done having children, so no concern there. The only issue, however, is in order for my insurance to cover the medication, I need to show a second low testosterone test.

My Question:
Now that I am off-cycle, about how long will I need to wait in order for my blood work to show low testosterone levels. I am a little worried about going through a hormonal roller coaster waiting to get my levels low enough, however, I think the end result is worth it.

Thank you.
p.s. this forum has been an invaluable source of information as I navigated my way through my first cycle. I thank all of the regular contributors for their insights and sharing their experiences.

Give it five weeks and you should be spot on for a low reading. That should show a clearance of 97% of the drug but you shouldn’t have recovered your natural test yet either.

I would like some clarification if possible. Why do you need artificially low testosterone levels on blood work? If your doctor discussed trt with you before couldn’t you just go ahead and begin treatment?

He’s also going to see an FSH/LH reading of zero and know you were taking something external.

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In order to get insurance to cover such treatments, especially on going lifetime ones, they’re smart to be unwilling to pay for such a cost after one potentially faulty or contaminated blood draw. Probably why they want a second to show the same results.

OP, did you run PCT? Ie Nolvadex?

My TT is all over the place for months after blood work. I tested at ~6 weeks post PCT and was at 794. 4 weeks later I was at 499. 4 weeks later I’m at 521 which is roughly my normal.

If you’ve already run PCT , I’d wait 12 weeks just to be safe.

Apparently my particular insurance requires two separate blood tests that indicate low levels before they will agree to coverage. Unfortunately insurance companies get to dictate the terms of our health.

Thank you!

That’s what concerned me. As @blshaw mentioned, a reading of 0.x for LH is going to be a big red flag. It’ll be more trouble than it’s worth. You should try to recover some and then get blood work. You won’t be functionally zero, so it’ll just look like low test rather than looking like a dude who just got off a cycle.

That’s a good point. My Dr knows what I was doing, but depending on how closely the insurance company reviews the report they may get suspicious… @blshaw I know this next question is highly individual, however if I were to wait 5 weeks and then get blood work done, how awful might I be feeling by week 5? I’m assuming in that scenario I would not start a pct as I would be starting hormone therapy soon there after.

Run a very abbreviated pct, maybe. Nolva at 20mg for like two weeks, give it another two weeks to clear, then retest. Your LH will have theoretically come back enough to not be zero, but your TT should still be pretty low.

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I agree with @iron_yuppie. Seems like a good plan here. You would probably feel pretty dumpy by week five but then again that’s about how long you should wait for true PCT effectiveness anyway.

That sounds like the way to go. Clearly not an ideal situation, but sometimes you have to play the game I guess. Hopefully these next few weeks go as smoothly as possible. Thank you to everyone for all of your advice.