T Nation

Getting Blood Drawn Tomorrow!?!


I'm 29. After doing 2 natural bodybuilding shows in the past 12 months, I was not functioning sexually, dealing with depression, and losing a lot of hair. A urologist diagnosed me as having low testosterone and found my level to be 208 (sorry, don't have a range). I got shots twice over the past 2 months. The first shot made me feel like my old self again, especially in the bedroom and in the gym.

I noticed nothing after the 2nd shot. Last week, blood was drawn and my level had fallen to 127. The urologist decided to put testopel in my butt next week, since he thinks I'd need shots every week to keep T levels up. However, I'm worried that the procedure could be complicated and painful since I'm a heavy squatter and have plenty of muscle in the glutes.

I'm also dealing with issues possibly not related to low T levels. While I was dieting for contests, I found myself extremely weak and light-headed at times. Eating spinach, beans, or other foods high in iron was the only way to make myself feel better. That problem continues today.

My urologist has sent me back to my family doctor for additional blood testing.

I have read previous posts on blood testing at length. However, I simply don't understand many of the terms/abbreviations. Besides testosterone and iron levels, can someone on here suggest in laymen's terms what I should be tested for tomorrow?


Sounds like you should have a thyroid test done in addition to the standard hormone panel. Symptoms are consistent with hypothyroidism.

You should be getting shots more frequently than once a week. 2X/week injections will provide very stable T levels, and is typically preferred to pellets, as they will produce falling levels over time.


Here's what I'm asking to have tested tomorrow:

vitamin D
free test.
total test.

It seems that the symptoms of hypothyroidism are similar to those of low T levels. Do the 2 usually occur together?


short answer - yes.

when one system is off, it tends to cause problems with other interconnected systems.

Cortisol, CHOL, Vitamin D, Thyroid, Estrogen, Testosterone, DHEA, ferritin, magnesium, Aldosterone, potassium, B12 - all seem to depend on one another in some form or fashion.

you were taking shots - no need to test for LH and FSH at this point. they should be near zero due to external T.

don't jump to pellets just yet.

also test for TSH, Free T3, Free T4.

have you read any of the sticky threads?


Read stickies:

finding a TRT doc
protocol for injections
lab work.....

We are seeing a lot of young guys who have broken their hormone systems with extreme diets. Start eating normally! Forget body building and stick with simply trying to be healthy and fit.

Start reading the posts of others, read some more, keep reading.

Do not do TRT until you find out what else is broken. There are many cases where TRT has been started and the thyroid and adrenals cannot manage the increased metabolic demands. You can go from bad to worse.

Whose diet advice were you following?


I too am worried that I ruined my hormone system with a bodybuilding diet. However, I began to exhibit signs of low T levels in the Spring of 2009, a few months before I started dieting seriously for my 1st contest in December.

Nowadays, I still eat fairly clean during the week though I often indulge with some beers and a little fat on weekends. My main carbs are sweet potatoes and oatmeal. I eat at least a few servings of fruits and veggies every day. Protein sources are canned tuna, baked chicken breast, eggs, egg whites, protein shake, and occasionally a grilled pork chop. The only supplement I've been taking lately is a multi-vitamin.

I am 6 ft. tall and weight 216 with around 11% body fat. The only T booster I have ever taken is nor-andro and DHEA almost five years ago. I got 2nd place trophies in the overall novice division at both of the shows I did in the last 12 months. That has piqued my interest for more and I've been training legs with a passion though I know at the same time that my health comes first and my bodybuilding days may be over...

My family doctor drew blood this morning and referred me to undergo an MRI of the brain next week due to the possibility of a pituitary/thyroid issue. He also thought I should hold off on the testopel insertion until we have a better idea of what's going on.

Look forward to reporting back with my blood results. I'm grateful for all the info this board has provided.


Sounds like you have a good balance view of things. It could be that, as you suggest, that something was going wrong before extremes of diet and training; possibly training and diet could have made a bad situation worse.

Pituitary damage from a concussion, auto accident can lead to these problems. Lab work will help sort out the situation.

If you have any reduction in the width of your peripheral vision, that is a symptom of a pituitary adinoma that is pressing on the optic nerves.

You are not testing thyroid levels. - You can check your waking body temperature, 97.8 is considered ideal by some and 97F or lower is a problem. You need iodine in your diet, check vitamin pills and the salt in your kitchen. Sea salt does not contain iodine unless it has been iodized.


Just got my blood work back from yesterday. I'm pissed to see the doc didn't test everything I asked for and did test for a few things that weren't necesary (LH and FSH):

LH: .1 (1.7-8.6)
FSH: <.2 (1.5-12.4)
cortisol: 5.2 (2.3-19.4)
testosterone: 336 (249-836)
TSH: 2.21 (.45-4.5)

Complete blood counts, platelets, hematocrit, etc. all look good. The doctor's office just called and sent me to the hospital to have more blood drawn. Judging from the referral form, he's testing for a possible pituitary mass. At least the testosterone is higher than any of my previous tests. My last injection of test. cypionate was 1.5 CCs only 13 days ago. I've had energy in the gym this week but no sex drive. Felt horrible all around last week. Shouldn't my testosterone have been peaking then?

Still wondering if my urologist will go ahead with testopel insertion next week after reviewing bloodwork and the upcoming MRI. I'll be checking my waking temperature this weekend.


Could you comment on this specifically, for those of us who were thrown onto TRT before looking at those other underlying issues and now are struggling to get their treatment on track?

Can you go BACK and look at those issues (thyroid, adrenals) with numbers that are skewed due to being on TRT?

What advice would you give for those folks? Generic advice of course.


Would be interested to hear a response to NeelyDan's question above. It appears I'm in the same situation.

The MRI found a growth on my pituitary gland. Has anyone else had this identified as the likely cause of a hormonal inbalance? Any insight on treatment would be appreciated.


How long after waking up was blood drawn? Cortisol seems low for an AM test.

Also when you said you'd allow yourself some fats on the weekend were you avoiding fats while dieting for the shows?


Just got results of lab work taken on Jan. 3, one month after latest shot of test. cypionate. Blood drawn at 8 am:

HCG: <2 mIU mL (<5)
IGF: 316 ng/mL (88-374)
SHBG: 16 nmol/L (7-49)
T4: 0.97 ng/dL (0.69-1.4)
TSH: 2.34 uIU/mL (0.4-4)
vitamin D 25 OH: 27.6 ng/mL (30-100)
FSH: 1.16 miU/L (0.7-11.1)
cortisol: 14.2 mcg/dL (4-22)
estradiol: 18 pg/mL (13-54)
LH: 1.8 mIU/mL (1.5-9.3)
prolactin: 11.8 ng/mL (2-18)
free testosterone: 41.3 pg/mL (35-155)
total testosterone: 144 ng/dL (245-1600)

The endocrinologist prescribed a Vit. D supplement and had planned to insert ten testopel pellets this morning but my insurance (BCBS) hasn't yet approved it. Anybody know or have a link to the cost of testopel without insurance? I'm desperate to get my T levels up and would consider paying out of pocket.


Any opinions on the above HCG level? Ascending testicles have been one of my main complaints since I started showing signs of low T almost 2 years ago.


Hey there, just checking - have you read any of the other sticky threads in this forum?

specifically - did you see the injection protocol and understand why people recommend shots at least twice a week?

pellets are an option, but most see them as a last resort - why wouldn't you want to try shots every third day to see how that does first?

also your two cortisol readings (assuming both are at 8am) indicate a problem. Were they both taken at 8am?

Did you doc write you a prescription for D3 or are you just taking a supplement? If it is a D3 prescription, then that is just insane - you can get it for less cost at any good health food store.

Your TSH is also saying that your Thyroid is having problems - you really need to test for Fre T4, Free T3, and Reverse T3. Have you read the blood test sticky?


PureChance, I assure you that I've read the stickies ad naseam. Please excuse my ignorance.

The first cortisol reading was taken at 3 pm, the latest at 8 am.

My urologist, endo., and I have 2 reasons for favoring testopel over frequent injections. First, I have a needle phobia and often become faint when shots are administered.

Next, I've told my doctors that I plan to spend a few weeks in South America later this spring. I don't expect to get through customs with test. cypionate, even with a doctor's note (headed to areas rife with drug smuggling). Has anyone else taken their test. to Latin America?


i would recommend trying gels/patches before pellets, but since you seem to have thyroid issues, there is a good chance that you might have problems absorbing it.


Where are you in NY? I live in Northeastern Queens and have been seeing an andrologist/urologist in Garden City and Plainview, Long Island, for the past nine years with success.

I don't know why you're worrying about Testopel. I know a few guys on it, and the discomfort from the implant lasts a DAY or two. Doing squats and having muscle in the glutes has nothing to do with this. There's a 0.3% (almost zero) chance of extrusion with Testopel as opposed to the old pellets made by Organon.

I'm getting Testopel this coming Friday, after being a bit tired of rubbing gel on for the past nine years.