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Dialing In w/ Prevailing Advice on TRT and E2?

Hi all. I’ve been on trt for 1.5 years trying to “dial in”. I’ve been following the old advice of keeping e2 low.

I’ve been reading that I shouldn’t care about high e2 anymore. I’m also reading more and more that most guys are likely under dosed.

If so, what does dialing in even mean? If high e2 in the 90-120 range doesnt matter, shouldn’t the only option for symptom resolution be to keep raising your T levels until you have solve the symptoms?

I know libido is complicated and I’m working on things like diet and exercise outside of TRT, but I am a libido chaser as it’s the only symptom I can’t resolve, and the real reason im on TRT.

My last experiment was to start at a low dose, and every six weeks increment it higher. I went from 84mg --> 98mg --> 112mg --> 140mg --> 154mg --> 175mg (Test E, weekly doses all split into daily shots, IM).

My Testosterone Rose from 750 --> 1150 and estrogen rose from 25 --> 70 going from 84mg --> 154mg. I didn’t get labs at 175mg because I felt worse and gave up.

84mg and 98mg were likely under dosed. No libido. No energy. No benefits.
112mg, libido starting to return, erections getting better.
140mg, more energy, good erections, lower libido
154mg, acne, weaker erections, no libido
175mg, moody, acne, difficulty getting hard, no libido.

My libido was the best at 112mg for a little while. I was fantasyzing again. Noticing women again. And even had a few sex dreams. This was still ellusive though.

My morning wood was the best on 140mg, and erection quality too. But desire had faded.

I felt “worse” as I raised to 154 and 175. I use quotations because I’ve been afraid of high doses, assuming im low shgb (17.5 - 20 on trt), and assuming high e2 kills libido.

1.) What does dialing in mean without comparing e2 to T?

2.) Does high e2 kill libido?

3.) Why would I feel better on lower doses vs higher if e2 isn’t an issue?

4.) Why is HCG now viewed as something that just complicates TRT protocols if e2 isn’t an issue anymore?

5.) Finally, should I jump on 200mg a week, no a.i., and give it a solid 3+ months to see if the symptoms I perceived on higher doses persist?

Did you start with once per week shots?

I think this is pretty standard as to where the vast majority start at. THEN, the outliers go down the E3D, EOD, and Daily routes.

I’ve tried them all, but currently i’m back to exploring more spaced out shots, at once per week. My thought is that i need a higher peak to hit the FT i need (and perhaps level of E2) in order to “feel” it, libido wise.

On more frequent protocols, things/feelings of “it” kinda disappeared. I believe that i couldn’t get my FT high enough on those protocols.

Remember, these are just my thoughts and experiences.

Based on your description, I would go on 140 mg and give it 3 months. There is a general feeling that the magic is in the right ratio to E2 to free T, or E2 to total T, depending on who you ask. High E2 is not a libido killer that I’m aware of, but it is a source of ED for some. Also, shot frequency can have an effect. My libido is better on once a week, other people are the opposite and need daily.

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@Roscoe88, I’ve tried weeklys and 3x a week prior to dailys. We were increasing frequency to hopefully decrease e2 conversion, which is high as per Dr. Saya at Defy as well as seeing others on the forum.

@hardartery, curious why you recommend 140mg over starting high at 200mg and working down if need be?

My T to e2 ratio is typically 9-13x. I haven’t found a pattern on this and dosage yet. Sometimes it’s higher sometimes it’s lower.

Dr. Saya mentioned the T to e2 ratio as well and has me on daily shots to improve that. I haven’t noticed a significant decrease in e2 conversion on daily shots either.

If T to e2 ratio is important, wouldn’t adding a small amount of a.i. improve that? Though the going advice from doctors and forums these days is that e2 doesn’t need to be managed, especially on the relatively low trt levels (non blast cycles).

If e2 doesn’t need to be managed, my only idea is that I should try a higher dose and see if I can get TT upwards of 1300, and Free T higher too. Commit to the high dose (175mg or 200mg) and see if the “high dose symptoms” I thought I was experiencing disappear or not.

If T to e2 ratio is the ticket, my thoughts are to pick any dose, say 140mg, and use a small amount of a.i. to boost the T to e2 ratio (as I haven’t found an effective way to change that without a.i.).

First off, I like what you did, starting at a low dose and slowly increasing it and assessing effects. Also 6 weeks is a good interval to test the various doses. Keep in mind that adjustments to TRT throughout the body take much longer than 6 weeks. A lot of neuroendocrine events need to come to a new equilibrium. Also, there are other physical, environmental, and psychological factors outside of TRT that can affect how you feel. My recommendation is to use the data you’ve gathered and set a standard dose at where you feel best and let it ride for a much longer period (6-12 months) and then perhaps do some additional tweaking of the protocol. I’ve been taking this approach for over 8 years and have pretty much come to the conclusion that 125-140mg/week in an E3D protocol is optimal for me.

E2 is a very controversial subject in this forum for a variety of reasons. It’s a difficult hormone to measure. It’s blood levels (outside of the tissues) seems to be highly variable, so may be accurately measuring what’s in the blood using the best of technologies (e.g., the LC/MS assay), but it’s not really reflective of the total E2 in the body.

Also in my experience blood levels are very erratic. I offer my experience in doing a similar experiment as you did. My E2 level at 180mg/wk = 9.1 pg/mL, at 163mg/wk = 8.9 pg/mL, 109mg/wk = 63.5 pg/mL, and 82mg/wk = 22.4 pg/mL. In all of these tests, there was not AI or other form of E2 control and I used the same LC/MS assay from the same test lab (LabCorp), all measurements were taken at nadir levels for T, and all labs were 6 weeks apart. Normal range = 8-35 pg/mL. As you can see, there is no correlation at all in E2 to the dose of T that I was using.

I don’t view HCG as a complicating factor in TRT. I do suggest that you dial in the T dose first and then layer in HCG.

Smaller, infrequent doses don’t really lower E2, they lower the peak - but they also raise the trough. Avoiding the high peak is importantfor some guys it seems. I read through your list of dosage/effects. That lead me to the 140mg suggestion as it seemed to be the best based on your description and I’m thinking you just have to wait out the libido. @dextermorgan can speak to this, he waited a long time on libido. As for adding an AI. It can be really complicated. I am not dead against them, they work just fine for plenty of people, but it’s super easy to crash that E2 with even a low dose (Depending on the person) and that can really suck out loud for weeks. The noise about osteoporosis and all that is a bit overblown, but every extra drug is mutliplying complexity for your dial in.

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I tend to agree, as I felt best at 112mg - 140mg. Just curious of the mechanics of dialing in I suppose.

Outside of the e2 stuff, is there a measurable reason why some guys feel better at lower dose and others feel better with more? (I know shgb plays a role, but I consider that as an e2 factor). In my mind, it seems more would be better (which clearly isn’t the case).

Interested to hear what @dextermorgan thoughts are. Also, Dexter, during my research i read you started trt assuming you were a high e2 converter (or e2 sensative or something) and it complicated your journey a lot. That appears to be where I am.

I have had almost the exact same responses to the same weekly dosing amounts and injection frequency as you as I search for libido after 1.5 years on TRT already (test-cyp only, no other drugs). Very frustrating. I slowly moved up from 150mg/week to 170mg/week and kept that steady for 2 months, consistent with others on this forum who have reported better results at higher doses, but morning wood disappeared and libido went from near-zero to absolute zero, plus the water retention and sluggishness drove me nuts, so didn’t feel like waiting out the estrogen normalization. I’m now drifting back down to below 150mg (likely 120mg to reset?). For libido I still use Mucuna Pruriens mixed with horny goat weed which I find helps big time for me specifically for the “urge” (I buy in bulk) and generic Cialis for reliability, but this is a short-term solution that I use only when needed (i.e not daily). For dialing in TRT, I do like daily injections as I can feel my body’s response more quickly, but think this time i will start at a lower dose and stay there for even longer before moving up again.

No measurable reason that I am aware of. I feel the same at 200 mg as 175 mg. As far as lifting, more is better until you get over a gram generally, but there is often a price to pay in other things in your life. As far as just feeling normal, it is very individual and I think it’s a lot easier to slowly work your way up than to start high and try to come down.

It took me almost 4 months before consistent libido and in that time it went from bad to the best it could possibly be and has stayed that way since for a long time now.

Personally I think the guys that do better on lower doses sometimes have other mental stuff going on that keeps them from being able to wait it out until the higher doses normalize and that can take longer for some (like me). For some reason everyone is quick to deny the mental aspect but have no problem with stating their bodies are just that different from the millions of folks doing steroid level doses with none of the same issues. Could it be for some? Maybe. Is it likely? Probably not. It’s more likely they associate a more drastic change from par with anxiety and the like. Like the brain signaling to the body “Hey man, this is a lot different than we are used to feeling and I’m not really sure about this. I’m keeping the fire alarm on to warn you”. For those guys upping the dose slowly over an extended period of time could possibly fix that. The problem is when you get it on your head that Xmg is too much it’s hard to overcome. Same with estrogen. Having it in my head that high estrogen was a problem it took me crashing twice and going through a month of absolute misery each time to convince myself that maybe I didn’t know my body as well as I thought. Trial and error while keeping an open mind allowed me to get to a point that I never would have thought was possible and that’s the only reason I still come here. There were folks that went against the grain that I finally listened to and was able to drastically change my life in such a positive way. I feel like I owe it to this place to help others get to that point.

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When I originally started at a crappy clinic the going advice is that e2 is the devil. High e2 sides definatley got into my head and stuck. Since restarting TRT with defy ive been hawk eyeing e2, and spending most of the time 140mg or lower.

Maybe I’ll jump back on 175mg again and see if things normalize over 3-4 months.

Yeah I think you’ll be fine. Mindset is key. Go into with the mindset that there may be a period where things aren’t perfect before they are. It usually takes me 8 weeks to get through the worst of it and by week 12 things start getting really good. Relax the thinking on E2 and just let things figure themselves out. It’s rare to see a guy running 500mg (pharma section) using an AI these days. Several years ago it was rare to see someone not running an AI. Our knowledge has progressed over time.

I think you are dead on. I can’t help but think of the dozens (hundreds?) of guys I knew personally (and I was injecting many of them) taking 200mg the first week of a cycle, then 300mg, then 400mg, the 500mg, then 600mg. Some went higher. All I saw was guys getting bigger and stronger. A guy doing a 160kg C&J for the past four months is doing 180kg in six weeks. They seemed to be doing well in the other areas too, judging by the amount of beautiful women around.

I read about guys going from 86mg to 98mg? Saying 200mg is a “massive” amount of testosterone? Huh? Then going to three weekly, or four, or everyday injections? The only reason we split up our weekly dose was because we couldn’t get it all in one damn syringe…


For libido you have to somehow make it happen with your mind. Tease it. Porn is not exactly the answer but some form of it is. The real deal for me was in edging and dry cumming. Dont blow your load for a couple of days and then, yea go for it. Should help you make a mind/body connection. Subconsciously you start to feel a desire to reward the mind with a need for physical release. Thats when you notice that you wanna bang your neighbor or every woman that crosses your dicks path.

Strongly disagree here. I see objective changes in daily biomarkers (resting heart rate, sleep quality, respiratory rate, body temperature, etc) when I raise my dose. I wear an Oura sleep ring and I can absolutely see a negative change when I raise my dose. Now, have I ridden it out at a higher dose for months at a time? No, I’ll admit that. It’s hard to have week after week of terrible sleep and decreased energy for exercise when my sleep quality is so poor when my dose rises. So I’m not sure that the claim you’re both making is viable here. Would I like to be on a higher dose? Absolutely. I believe that many of you guys have had a great increase in quality of life on higher doses.

But when you combine those objective changes with subjective stuff (increased awareness of heart beats) it’s hard to argue that some folks are very sensitive despite not wanting to be.

Is your claim here that people experiencing that just need to spend months in relative misery just to see what happens?

I wasn’t making a claim. I simply reported my experiences and what I have seen over the years.

I do agree with @dextermorgan above.

Disagree with what? I doubt anyone would argue with objective findings and I would not argue with your subjective symptoms. I have seen this in patients. As dexter stated, it’s not likely, but it happens. One way or another, we deal with it. It’s rare, but some are overly sensitive to hormones.

I think dexter’s point is that what so many report on the forum is not an accurate depiction of what goes on in the rest of the TRT and anabolic steroid world. We all have different reference points here, based on our own experiences, those of others we know, directly or indirectly, and even what we’ve read online. If someone is having trouble “dialing in” and all they know is what they have read posted by others with the same difficulties, then that is going to make up their entire perspective.

I have no idea how you inferred this, but of course not. Let’s just say if we were competing in the same weight class with similar lifts, good, but not at the level which would require AAS/PED use, I’d be moving on and you’d have to stay behind.

I hope you are able to determine your optimal dose and get as much out of TRT as possible for you.

To InCorporeSano’s point, it was mainly the insomnia that was killing me on the higher dose (+175mg/week), which I tried for 2 months. Sleep quality was terrible, and I work tons of hours at an investment bank so sleeping 3hrs/night for nights on end wouldn’t cut it. I could deal with the water retention and sluggishness side effects no problem, but never had insomnia or sleep problems in my life before I went up higher in my dose, and I don’t take any other prescriptions and made no changes to diet/exercise. Agree this could be my individual response only and maybe it could have worked out, but very tough to just ride out that kind of discomfort.

I would also assume that the majority of the bodybuilding sample-set cited above that are taking large aggressive doses originally had nothing wrong with their endocrine systems beforehand? I personally went 4 years (5 if you count a failed year on clomiphene citrate) without any treatment, so I wouldn’t think that someone going from 150 total Test (my pre-TRT level) to 1500+ Total on 300mg/week at the beginning of TRT treatment would be a good idea to start? I also don’t think 200mg/week is a high dose and would def be there if it worked for me.

Definitely your own response. Im at 175mg and sleep is great. If I decide to take an extra 5mg I do notice some odd pressure in my arms. Happens within hours. But I feel good. Will have to lower my dose down to 160mg again sometime soon and then back to 175mg. Then work up to 200mg after 1 year of TRT experience. Insomnia does suck.

Most report they sleep better on TRT. Most, not all, recently, one of my guys reported severe insomnia for a couple of days post injection. We went all the way to daily injections with no luck. Transdermal cream was no better. Finally solved it with every three day propionate. Go figure. Have you tried melatonin? DHEA?

I have also thought about this. By the way, they were almost all weightlifters or powerlifters, I knew just a few bodybuilders, who typically used heavier doses than we did.

Yes, could taking a guy running with a total testosterone level in the 200-400 range up to 1000, at trough, maybe 1800-2000 peak, be too much of a shock to his system? Seemingly no, but maybe for some?

What about us, presumably healthy, athletic young men with total test in the 600-900ng/dL range? Wouldn’t Dianabol, Anavar, Winstrol, Deca-Durabolin AND 500mg a week testosterone be a shock to us? Who knows what kinds of hormonal profiles we had on cycle? Also, after the competition, we just stopped. By the time our natural production was back, we were probably getting back on. It would have been interesting to check levels, but those of us that did get blood tests just looked at lipids and LFTs.