T Nation

Help Understanding Shutdown Risks and Consequences

Hello everyone.

First, I just want to say that I am really grateful for the information here that so many of you provide to keep newbies like myself from making mistakes they can regret their whole life!

A little background about myself: I am 31 years old and started lifting and body building a little over 3 years ago. I can’t say that I do everything perfectly (certainly have lot of room to improve), but I believe I have put in a reasonable effort into my diet and training (have also had professional help and supervision for a while).
For the first two years I was quite happy with my progress but I had a certain goal/body in mind when I started and I am not really there yet.
Last year things have plateaued quite a bit, which is why I started thinking about gear. Now some of you would suggest that there’s a good possibility that I haven’t reached my natural potential and that I just need to work harder. They would be right of course. However, considering my goals are fairly modest (adding 10-15lbs more) it felt like gear might give me the push I need to get there quickly, easily and (hopefully) safely. I spent time educating myself using the resources on this forum and elsewhere about proper cycles, PCT, etc.

My plan was to do a first relatively short cycle of Test E only. I am targeting 6 weeks that could go to 8 or a little more depending on whether I am getting the results I need. Start with 300mg/w and then increase up to 600mg/w also depending on results. After that first cycle, I want to minimize gear use to minimum and only utilize short cycles (~3 weeks) of Test P at most once a year if I feel like I need it to get back to the target shape.

The reasoning behind this is that the shorter the cycle the higher the chances of fully recovering post cycle, or so I believe. I believe I understand well enough the potential sides and risks of being on gear and how to deal with them so I am comfortable with that. Yet, I am not sure I fully understand the risks and consequences of being shutdown and this is where I need your help :slight_smile:

There are many posts here in which someone states that they did this cycle when they did not know better, and then got shutdown permanently and have to be on TRT for the rest of their lives. Two questions:

1- What are the chances of that happening given a relatively short cycle I describe above, and proper PCT (Nolvadex) afterwards? Does using hCG while on cycle reduce these chances?
I realize I cannot expect definitive statistics in the answer to that question, but just how common this really is? Is it reasonable to say that the great majority of people who follow that cycle are expected to recover fully after PCT?

2- What are the consequences of the worst case scenario (i.e. permanent shutdown and TRT) on life expectancy and fertility? I am sure that is a big topic but I would appreciate pointers to start learning.

Sorry about a long post. Help truly appreciated!

A cycle that’s only six weeks is going to be all risk and little reward. Being shut down is being shut down. Period. Yes, length of being shut down matters, but not in such short bursts. In other words, an 8-10 week cycle would probably be less of a long term issue than a 24 week cycle. But even that isn’t exactly linear or easy to predict. There are guys who go off of trt after years and attempt a restart. The fact that it happens successfully tells you that it’s possible to be shut down for extended periods and still have your body return to normal in some cases.

As far as utilizing short cycles (3 weeks) you’re wasting your time. You’d be on for three weeks, then pct for four. You’d be on longer than your recovery. That’s incredibly taxing on your body with what I imagine is next to zero gained.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. There’s a reason that so many cycles are between 10-16 weeks. It’s because that model works. Repeatedly. There’s ~8,000,000,000 words written about how to run competent cycles and almost none of those words say to run cycles of six or three weeks.


I will agree with this. I have no experience with Test E but with Test C you don’t feel anything different for the first 3 week. It’s about week 4 you start to think you are feeling a little stronger. Then around week 5 you start getting those pumps like no other. Who in the hell would want to stop then.

Thanks a lot for your reply. I take your point on short cycles and would plan on going 10 weeks.

You stated that being shutdown is being shutdown. I would still like to develop a better understanding of the risks and consequences of that, so if you could elaborate further on my two questions at the end of the post (assuming normal length cycle) it would be greatly appreciated.

Hard to answer the question because everyone is different. All you can do is run a proper pct and see what happens. But based on anecdotal evidence most guys recover pretty well up until a certain age. Once you’re older and your natural test is lower it seems that recovery is a tougher road. But that makes sense.

As far as long term consequences of being on trt, I’ve never seen any evidence that suggests it’s harmful. It would be worse for you to live 30 years in a low testosterone state than it would be to have normal levels from exogenous testosterone.

As for fertility, that’s also pretty individual. But using hCg is proven to solve that issue. Here’s one of the several studies.

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To piggy back on what Iron_yuppie said about TRT and Fertility I totally agree. I’ve been on TRT for almost 18 years and there is truly no harm that can’t be reversed. I’ve had 2 side effects from TRT. And that was infertility(Individual thing) and some shrinkage (again an individual thing.) My wife and I had to go through the IVF route (not cheap.) Despite a long HCG protocol of 1,500 i.u 3 x per week along with clomid at 50 mgs, my swimmers never reached their final destination (again this is an individual thing.) However, it raised my sperm count…and I got to screw a “whole lot.” (hehe) I would like to mention that I did several cycles between my TRT, of test and eq. These perhaps caused or help cause the infertility, but I’m only speculating.

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1 - Short cycle, as someone already said, you’re gonna get little reward and MAYBE some sides, excluding the fact you may get totaly shut down or not… I’m not saying you’re going to be shut down forever, but certainly your natural production is going to be drastically reduced. A short cycle is of course, easier (most of cases) to recover, and maybe U could do it without HCG… I did it beofore, with nolva (solo)… short cycle (8w doing sustanon and oxandronolone), plus I had around your age (32/33yo).

2 - The consequences of the worst scenario is being dependent on test for the rest of your life… anyways, i this is going to make you feel better, everyone should take test somewhere in time, some of Us, with 30, 40, 50, anyways…

The message and advice here is, is all on U man. You can make the choice knowing that steroid is a non-return path… I thought like U once, that I could do only one cycle and get away, but NO. You’ll see… if you like the lifestyle, do have money to buy all the stuff you need, you’ll see… It’s like any other drug, but this one, will make you feel better, stronger, more muscular,… it’s all on you…

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Thank you so much for your input, this really helps.

Do you mean temporarily while on cycle and for a while after, or forever?

Also, could you please elaborate a little bit on steroids being a “non-return” path. I get that if I do one cycle that goes well, it is going to be very tempting to do another one. And another one after that :slight_smile: But unless one is unlucky and runs into the worst case scenario it should be at least possible in theory to not have do other cycles and/or TRT, correct?

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Lots of things are possible. But a probable impossibly is preferable to an improbable possibility.

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Yes, I mean, at least in the first instance, while on cycle and for a while after… the “forever” thing, we cannot discard, but the chances are very very tiny…

About the non-return path, you just got the idea! That’s exactly what you said, but will try to elaborate a little bit more for you…

Once you use steroids, you will probably notice an improvement in physical disposition. If you do not abuse steroids that reduce serotonin and other wellness hormones, you will also feel more mental clarity. Your senses and feelings will be improved and if you are not an asshole, if you are a nice guy, the tendency is that you become even more cool. By improving your physique and with better mental clarity, you will automatically have more self-confidence, since now you are differentiated from others. You can feel it, fortunately or unfortunately it goes through your veins, and in fact, you are, or rather you are temporarily better than others. Right now, you become a chemical dependent because you realize that your life has been completely transformed by these hormones. You can work better, date better, make love better, speak in public better (after all, you’re more self confident), so the trend, as I said, if you were not an asshole before you start with anabolic steroids, right now you’re MUCH better after some time using them. But when I say some time, I say a “good” time … people who cycle and stop, feel the pleasure of being superman and then come back to become Clark Kent, … it is difficult to feel superman and not want to be superman for longer … this is addiction! This is the “non-return path”!


What would you say about someone who doesnt experience positive benefits from AAS or trt? What could explain this?

dasein how long were you on them? Do you have pre blood test showing the need? Also post blood test showing lvl improvements? What about your TSH number? There is a lot more than just getting ones T in range.

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The blood work is necessary in this case… 90% should feel better, but there is a few that don’t. Our body has a lot of hormones, and a lot of variables that need to be checked, particularly in this case.
I usually ask all these exams for my clients:
1 – Hemograma *
2 – Triglicérides *
3 – Colesterol Total *
4 – Colesterol HDL Soro *
5 – Colesterol LDL *
6 – Colesterol VLDL Soro *
7 – Insulina *
8 – Prolactina (PRL) *
9 – Hormônio Fóliculo Estimulante (FSH) *
10 – Hormônio Luteinizante (LH) *
11 – Ácido úrico **
12 – Hormônio Tireoestimulante Ultra Sensível (TSH) *
13 – Somatomedina (IGF-1) **
14 – Cortisol **
15 – Testosterona Total *
16 – Testosterona Livre *
17 – Dihidrotestosterona (DHT) **
18 – Globulina Carregadora dos Esteróides Sexuais (SHBG) **
19 – Antígeno Prostático Específico (PSA Livre e Total) * [homens]
20 – Estradiol *
21 – TGO ou AST *
22 – TGP ou ALT *
23 – Desidrogenase Lática (DHL) **
24 – Fosfatase Alcalina **
25 – Gama Glutamil Trasnferase (Gama GT) **
26- Bilirrubinas **
27- Glicemia *
28 – Homocisteína **
29 – Creatinina *
30 – Ureia *
31 – Tiroxina total (T4) *
32 – Triiodotironina total (T3) *
33- T4 livre **
34- T3 livre *
35- Estrona *
36- Progesterona *
37- 25-hidroxivitamina D (25(OH)D) *
38- CPK **
39- albumina *

With this map, I’m able to attack what is wrong.
If you feel bad, or doesnt experience positive benefits from AAS or even TRT, you need this map to understand whats wrong… I normally don’t need all of this, but when guy has a bad history, kidney problems, liver or heart, or even in your case, I ask for this battery of exams before start with AAS.

Right now I am in my fifth week trt. I may be experiencing some improvements but it is hard to tell at the moment. I am burnt out from overwork. One test will be to see how well I perform in the gym the next time I go. So far I havent experienced any improvement in strength or muscle mass (even though I put on close to ten pounds).

I am always very sensitive to any kind of pharmacological substances. Defy had me on 80mgs Test, 500uis hcg, and 0.125 mgs of adex twice per week. Since I feel like my e2 was too high and I was experiencing sides (weight gain/water retension, brain fog, lethargy and general lack of GO), in the last two pins I injected 60mgs of test, rather than raising my adex and risk crashing my e2.

Water retension seems to be a big questionmark in trt. Some blame e2. Others blame cortisol. Nelson Vergel has a post on Excell Male where he says it is kidney related. He suggests metformin helps a lot and I dont know yet whether Defy will prescribe it.

I should be getting follow-up labs in about three weeks. My tsh was 1.97 on my last labs in early Nov. My rT3 was low normal. Free T3 and T4 levels were low normal, but I am hypothyroid and that is just where my levels are even at my best.

I realize that there is much more to the equation than testosterone levels. I am just trying to get feedback from people with more experience.

Water retension is pretty normal for guys just starting out on TRT. It always goes away on its own. I know you are looking for instant relief for your symptoms but that is just not how hormones works.

I can’t believe NV from EM would suggest metformin for something everyone gets when they start TRT.
Metformin is for diabetes and people with insulin issues. Google it it has some bad side effects. The T pharma guys(blasters) use this to get better pumps at the gym.

Your body delt with low T for years now all of a sudden you have lots in your system. Your body will kind of flip out as it tries to adjust. Some hormones with over shoot but just give it time. Don’t try to treat your day to day feeling with protocol changes you will be chasing your tail and end up taking longer to get dialed in. You are paying good money to Defy listen to them. I guarantee you no random, not even NV, on these forums knows more than they do.
With TRT you need to be thinking months not days or weeks.

I to am sensitive to pharmacologicals. On 100mg/wk my Free T will be in the mid 30s and the top of the range is 18. Best of luck.

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You’ve given me a lot of helpful advice as I have started this journey on TRT. You’re a bit ahead of me in both life and TRT so I appreciate the level-headed approach. We are both similar build, both have low(er) SHBG in low 20s and you have about 10 years on me.

You said:

I have gone from 100mg/week that I was doing for about 10 weeks at the very beginning of when I started treatment down to 40mg E3D because my HCT was up to 55 even donating blood and I had signs of E2 problems like loss of erections completely. I am wondering if I switched too soon. I think I feel batter but I am not sure yet. I definitely don’t feel as good as the beginning days after a 100mg shot but I think still some E2 symptoms like flushing. But even at 40mg E3D, my body is sucking it up with FT at top of range. I remember you said you dialed back to cruise at 80mg/wk I believe in a single dose per week.

So, when you say think months, not days or weeks, how long would you evaluate a change in protocol before abandoning for a different one? I don’t want to keep switching too soon because may never get dialed in.


With T cyp it takes 40 days to reach steady state. Meaning your T lvl in your body will keep increasing for 40 days. E2 will peak a few days after that.
So you need to wait that long just to get to a steady T/E2 lvl on a new protocol.

Then a mini blood test(I prefer Peak lvls not trough for theses mini’s because my goal is to not go over range) for TT/FT/E2/HCT/prolactin since you donate often is in order and you deside whether to donate blood or take an AI.

Raise or lower your T dose again or just wait and see. If bloods look good give this protocol 2 months. We heal slow. Also just getting your T/E2 in line is not a magic pill to fix everything that goes wrong with us guys. Many of us have done so serous abuse over the years knownlingly and unknownlingly.

Get all your numbers looking good with no over ranges even at peaks then consider a T only 12 week blast just to see what that does for you. I found I love it. Its way better than running 200mg/wk donating blood all the time, eating AI’s like candy. Screw all that. Low dose with two blasts just work perfect for me. YMMV

I am about to finish my sustanon only cycle 12 weeks. Only 1 injection left. I can tell you that with such doses it really would take several cycles to get decent amount of muscle.

I am taking 500mg per week sustanon and results are not magical. This was my first cycle. Well I will share my pct experience too

So short cycles definitely don’t worth shutting down your system

Well there’s a time & place for short cycles… 3-6 weeks is ridiculous… but 8-10 weeks on cut cycles is normal due to the use of orals like winny & var. I don’t think anyone would run a 16 week winny & prop or tren cycle… for bulking the norm is 12 weeks. But not as much need for orals.

Once again, really awesome advice and can’t thank you enough, hrdlvn. I want to blast because I am a very serious 54 year old weightlifter in decent shape other than, as you so accurately say, having put too many miles of abuse along the way here…but I don’t want to do it until I know where my cruising altitude is… Seems to make sense to figure that out first and this sounds like a great way to do that. Thanks once again.