New here, first post.
Before my question, background info:
42 years old.
Big into weightlifting for several years when younger, never used steroids or any other substances.
In 2002, sustained back trauma, injured two discs.
From 2002 until April 2016, could not lift. Had two back surgeries, took every kind of painkiller known to man to cope with pain.
I eventually chose to wean myself off pain meds entirely, and began to gradually get back into walking, stretching, light exercise. Began weightlifting again in April.
I suffered chronic fatigue, joint pain, NO sexual function, NO libido, insomnia for years.
I suggested to my docs to check my testosterone due to my symptoms, which THEY thought were "unrelated to testosterone levels".
After much cajoling, they agreed to test me.
Surprise, surprise, my levels were incredibly low!
In March, my labs were:
SHBG 10 (reference range 10-50)
Total Test 100 (reference range 72-813)
Free Test 43.5 (reference range 46-224)
Estradiol 13 (reference range ><= 29)
TSH 1.4 (reference range 0.47-4.68)
Prolactin 13.1 (reference range 2.6-13.1)
Upon MY insistence, docs agreed to let me try Androgel.
I started with one pump per shoulder, noticed no benefits.
Two weeks later went up to 2 pumps per shoulder.
Still, no noticeable benefit.
Next, up to 4 pumps per shoulder, for another few weeks. Still no benefits.
Test level was rechecked, it had only gone up to 160.
Free test went up to 101.7 (ref range of 46-224).
Doc said, "Well, your free test went up, and that's all that matters".
I should add that I go to the VA for treatment, and despite there being a number of fantastic and caring practitioners there, the endocrine department seems incompetent in regard to understanding up-to-date protocols for hormone replacement therapy.
Once again, it was up to me to press the issue.
I asked to have injections. "OK, every two weeks you can come in for one," they said.
I convinced them to have the nurse show me how to give the injection to myself WEEKLY.
From there, the doc prescribed .375ml of Test Cypionate once weekly.
I did that for one month.
Levels were rechecked--
Total test 206 (reference range 72-813)
PSA 1.9 (reference range 0.0-2.5)
They didnt bother to check Estradiol, Free test, FSH, LH or anything else, because they said "It doesnt really matter; we only care about the testosterone levels".
Can you believe it?!
Once again, I was experiencing no benefits.
I asked to PLEASE let me increase the dose.
They said I could go up to .5ml
Well, after months of no benefits from Androgel and the tiny dose of Test, I said Forget This, and gave myself the entire dose in the vial, which was slightly more than 1ml (maybe like 1.1ml)
I FINALLY could get erections after YEARS of nothing, no more fatigue, no more chronic pain and achiness...It was a miracle!
One month later, my labs were done again.
This time they were ONLY gonna check total test....ugh....
I asked them to check my Estradiol, because I was concerned my Estrogen might be high, since I have leaned out EVERYWHERE, except I either have kept the fat around my chest/nipple area, or have gained fat there.
They checked my prolactin, PSA, total testosterone, and estradiol.
The estradiol results haven"t come back yet, but my other results were:
Total Test 658 (reference range 72-813)
Prolactin 23.2 WAY HIGH (reference range 2.6-13.1)
PSA 2.1 (reference range 0.0-2.5)
Here are my questions--
I feel AMAZING on the dose I am taking (little over 1ml). Anecdotally speaking, is this dose safe to take?
Without knowing my exact Estradiol levels (but assuming they're high,) should I be taking an Aromatase Inhibitor?
Should I be taking something to get my prolactin level down? I have no lactation or nipple soreness.
My cousin is a doctor--very knowledgeable and accommodating. She has prescribed me meds before after having seen me. However, she is NOT a specialist in hormone replacement therapy.
The VA docs are neanderthals about TRT! Basically, they told me if my Estradiol level comes back high, they want me to either go way down on my Test dose (yeah right!) or come off of it COMPLETELY.
My life has been a nightmare before hormone replacement! I do NOT wanna stop taking test.
If I have some kind of info to show my cousin in regard to adding different meds in CONJUNCTION with the test, that will HELP my labs, then I wanna go that route.
Ideally, she could prescribe something for me, then I could go back to the VA and get labs AGAIN, then say, "weird....looks like the Test is working just fine after all".
What other meds might help?
I am an intelligent/ informed person. I ALWAYS take meds as prescribed, but these docs at the VA treating me like an idiot because I wanted to take testosterone have really ticked me off.
Thanks for reading guys.
I have dealt with no sexual function and bad health for nearly 14 YEARS, and now the docs wanna take my restored health away, and I am just dreading that.