T Nation

Prolonged Shutdown, Long Cycle, Low T. Facing TRT

this is the edited post. as advised, i read the stickies and got new bloodwork done.
hi, im 28, 113kg,6’2, 20%bf and im in trouble…
it took me a while to muster up the courage to seek help because i knew the foolishness was my own. i get no help from doctors in my country and have been a T-Nation member for a long time. please help…i need it.

i have been on and off cycles for the past 24 months. it has been 20 weeks since i stopped but still havent recovered inspite of a pct. my blood work shows-
tt level- 303 range 241 - 827
free test- 5.37 pg/ml range 4.5- 30
e2 estradiol- 22.2 pg/ml range 0-40
fh- 3.18
t3 - 1.87 range 0.92-3.3
t4 - 102 range 60-120
tsh - 1.39 range 0.25-5.0

my history of blunders-

1)aas use bw 2006 till2008. i recovered completely and was off for four years.
2) july2012- 16 week cycle of test enanthate 500 mg ew + 50mg proviron ed+ 1mg arimidex ed + 1mg finasteride.

followed by pct of clomid-100/100/50/50 nolva 40/40/20/20. no hcg

didnt get bloodwork done,like an idiot.

  1. march 2013- 10 week cycle test enanthate 500 mg ew +50 mg proviron+0.5mg adex eod

similar pct with additon of 1000 iu hcg every fifth day for five shots. no bloodwork

  1. november 2014- 8 MONTH CYCLE. This was unplanned and what did me in most likely. it was to be a short cycle but the contest got postponed and i had to stay on for the season …its not excusable but i took the risk anyway. i switched compounds ,never using more than two at once. never went beyond 700 mg of androgens a week.during this cycle i used the following combinations-
    tren enanthate+test.
    sustanon+ tren.
    anavar+ proviron

*hgh for 6 months@3.3 iu ed.
adex - 0.5 mg ed

i got off the drugs in july 2014 and planned an aggresive pct because i knew i would be severely shutdown.

clomid- 200/150/100/100/50/50
nolva - 40/40/40/20/20/20
hcg - 1000 iuevery fifth day for 5 shots.
test booster supplement
tonnes of tribulus

the pct helped a lot and i even grew a little. but i got all the symptoms of hpta shutdown after a few weeks of discontinuing the pct.i crashed horribly. loss strenghth, muscle mass and gained fat along with a few injuries.
low libido,low motivation,depression,anxiety, metal fogginess, fat deposit etc.

it now been more than 2 months since the pct and i still havent recovered. needless, to say many mistakes were made along the way. i should have taken hcg while on the cycle. should have gotten regular bloodwork and should have been on shorter cycles, if any at all.

off late, i have been feeling a lot better. strength is good. muscle mass is decent. AND MY GF CONCIEVED RECENTLY 10 WEEKS AGO! ( i have no idea how).

today, as i write this- my bloodwork shows horrible numbers(top of post), i still feel the loss of libido,some mental fogginess and still no morning wood. i am definitely in a state of shutdown. i waited this long but the recovery is very very slow and may not ever be a full recovery.

i have been reading endlessly and im more confused than ever on what i should do now. my options are-

!) serm only cycle- low dose tamoxifen or low dose clomid. pls advice on which one and why
2) low dose hcg (250 iu eod) only- i picked this up from the stickie posted by ksman. read the reserch material. it seems promising.
3) hcg 250 iu eod followed by serm cycle.
4) trt- this scares the crap out of me and in my country, isnt even a viable option.
5) power pct protocol- huge doses hcg followed by serm cycle.

which one would be the best course of action? pls note that i have been suppressed for the past 2 years and the symptoms are killing me( loss of libido, cognitive decline most of all)
i dont know what to do and its causing a lot of distress and anxiety. i want to have kids in the future.so i need your advice and wisdom on this. if i pull myself out of this mess, i dont think ill ever use aas again.

is there hope? what can i do? pls help…

Most guys would feel bad after such enormous PCT doses of everything.

I would get on just low dose Clomid (between 12.5 mg and 25 mg a day seems to be the recommendation from some of the well-respected TRT doctors around here) - and continue for a few months (at least two months). Higher doses should be unnecessary, and combining it with other drugs like Nolvadex should also be unnecessary. Some people here recommend nolvadex instead of clomid if the latter causes side effects, in which case the doses should also be much lower (say 5 mg nolvadex a day, since it is a much stronger drug per mg than Clomid).

Don’t run HCG again. As for you last PCT, those HCG doses were too high and could have harmed your testicles (hopefully temporarily). Also, PCT proper really starts after you stop HCG, since HCG shuts down the HPTA. In other words, assuming the last HCG shot took 5 days to clear, the first 30 days of your PCT wasn’t PCT - i.e., you really ONLY RAN 2 WEEKS OF PCT. So no wonder you didn’t recover.

yes, PCT was all wrong, high doses of SERM’s creating high steady LH levels or too much hCG will desensitize LH receptors in your testes and then when PCT is over, the testes don’t work right. Never combine different SERM’s or SERM+hCG.

There are 7 stickies here. Start with advice for new guys.

Stop reading at body building steroid forums, you don’t need any more bro-science advice.

If you could get all those drugs without scripts then why be scared of TRT? Just get your own bloodwork done and use your results to adjust the dose. What country would disallow hormone treatment? Do they also ban the use of birth control?

Thank you for responding. I’ll read the stickies right away.
I wish I knew better at the time. I was convinced I was doing everything right. Is a full recovery even possible?

clomid- 200/150/100/100/50/50

You took 200mg or 150mg or 100mg of Clomid in one dose??? Who advised you to do that? Are you out of your mind? You can easily get permanent side effects from that. Plus, even if there were no side effects you get diminishing or possibly negative returns as your SHBG/E2 will rise substantially.

daveness371 ,yes, i took 200 mg ed the first week. followed by 150 the next week and so on…out of my mind? you could say that i guess. i wish i knew this wasnt recommended at the time.i made a mistake . woudnt want to shut me down permanently by choice…but i understand the irritation though . when i hear someone tell me proudly that there on 1gm of test and 700 mg of tren at the age of 18, i react the same way. anyway, my mind is sane ,its the ignorance, for want of better guidance, that has done me in.
im reading thee stickies and going through all the literature as adviced. at this point, i feel positive because at least i can now pin point what has caused the problem. i was nowhere close to this, a few days ago. thanks everyone…

i plan to attempt a hpta restart soon. will post the protocol as soon as i narrow it down ,subject to the advice and changes,if recommended .

C27 H40 O3, trt is not illegal in india at all. what renders it unviable is the social stigma attached to it. what scares me if not the hormonal treatment but the anxiety it will cause to my family and the distress which that will cause me, in turn. i should have thought about this earlier but like i said, im in the soup now and prepared to do whatever it takes to undo the damage.TRT is the absolute last resort for me . if it come to that, then of course, health is more important than social pressures.

i continue to re-educate myself and will post my thoughts on a restart protocol asap. im truly grateful for all advice .please keep them coming…thank you

ksman, cant express how glad i am that youre out there helping and listening. thanks to T-Nation i now know what the problem was. it was the pct. thats half the fight. thanks.
i took your advice and read the stickies. no tunnel vision any more. i ruled out thyroid malfunction as shown in the bloodwork. the estradiol seems on the higher side.

my two main symptoms are mental fogginess and no libido. the cognitive decline is taking a huge toll on my life. it is impacting the quality of life ,performance and work and is killing my confidence.

there is no morning wood since the longest time. i feel no desire for sex. testicular size seems ok,though. also,semen volume when i ejaculate is quite decent.
ever since i got off the juice, i feel like a much older man. im 28 and i feel 60. i have had people tell me that i talk an old man and not my age.
after the pct i put on fat everywhere but esp on the waist.
body hair seems to have increased.
no testicular pain or injuries.
i used finasteride 1 mg twice during this 2 year period for a total of 5 months.
diet- currently caloric surplus. trying to build mass and strength.
overtraining- yes, i did overtrain while on the juice but not after. i give as much rest as needed and am staying injury free so far.

i have started using zma,tribulus and a few herbal supplements( ayurvedic)- ashwagandha, shilajit .they have helped improve athletic preformance. i have been hitting PRs off late but the loss of libido persists.

i want to attempt a hpta restart asap. should i not use hcg since ive been shutdown for so long? hcg, clomid , nolva are all easily available. please advice…

ruled out thyroid malfunction:

t3 - 1.87 range 0.92-3.3 LOW -should be near midrange 2.2
t4 - 102 range 60-120 GOOD, midrange is 90
tsh - 1.39 range 0.25-5.0

Most doctors will think that the above is good. Not quite.

T3 and T4 are really fT3 and fT3+TBG and fT4 and fT4+TBG which are non-functioning. So T3 and T4 are not the best measure. Should be fT3, fT4. TSH is not bad. Have you always used iodized salt? Are your body temperatures good? That is the bottom line. In any case, T3 is low.

thank you for your inputs. t3 is low. point noted and understood. i read the thyroid sticky again. it is eye-opening.
i will get dr wilsons book and read it. i have suspected adrenal fatigue for a long time.

you mention that hypothyroidism and hypogonadism can be caused by one another. in my case, this is hpta supression is the more likely cause and hypothyroidism the effect. yes, i have always used iodized salt. i have never checked body temp but i will start from tomorrow . the possible reasons for low t3 can be-
bad diet , cheat meals too frequently, too many carbs at odd times
messed up circadian rhythm for the past few years. i worked at an airport so nightshifts.

marijuana use occasionaly.
ASIH(most likely culprit)
all in all my lifestyle was horrible to say the least. and on top of that i used aas so no wonder im all messed up.
since then, i have made major lifestyle changes. no smoking,drinking, clean eating,regular routine ,meditation etc. but the benefits will take time to manifest. i am confident that all health indicators(including t3) will improve over time.

but for now, should i not focus on the t levels for therapy? since, they are clearly the most disturbing numbers in the bloodwork. we also know that the cause is ASIH since i never had a proper pct to help me recover. i am afraid if i dont start soon, it might be too late .
i really want to use hcg before the serm cycle but i need your advice before i do anything…

let me know where else i may write to you? thank you!

Fin really messes a lot of guys up.

Also you’ve done a lot of steroids and your still at 20% bf which means even after all the harmful shit you put in your body you have little to show for it. Most chronic steroid users just accept trt and continue to juice full time. I would say either route you go, restart or trt, your changed for life.

thanks for the inputs,seekonk. appreciate it. i have edited some details and posted recent blood work.would you please take a re-look and suggest the next course of action?
i plan to do low dose serm cycle but confused about hcg…appreciate the inputs.thanks

I noticed at the grocery store that there are containers if non-iodized salt right beside the iodized salt and the containers are very similar in appearance. Look at what is on your shelf at home to be sure.

shift work is a lot of stress

you were absolutely right and i was absolutely wrong. i got more bloodwork done after you said it should be ft3 and ft4. these are the numbers-

ft3- 3.98 range(4-8.3)
ft4 - 20.77 range(10.4-19.4)

lh- 2.87
fsh- 2.53( this is down from last time…why???)
tt- 300 240-850(no improvement)
e2- 23 0-40(no improvement)

liver function test
bilirubin total- 0.80 0.2-1.2
conjugated (d.bilirubin)- 0.2 0.2-05
unconjugated- 0.6 1-1.2
total protein -7.2 4.0-8.0
albumin- 4.4 3.5-5.2
globulin- 2.8 1.5-3.0
sgot - 18 0-37
alkaline phosphate- 57 47-119

kidney function test
blood urea- 49 15-55
serum creatinine-1.3 0.6-1.3
serum uric acid- 5.30 3.2-8.0
sodium-137 130-150
potassium-4.3 3.5-5.0

  1. a) both ft3 and ft4 are outside the ranges. the blood sample was given at 11am after a full meal.what do they mean? what should i do? im worried.
    b)iodized salt is being used in the house, the label reads- "IODINE CONTENT IS 15PPM"
    C) i tested body temperature on waking up. this is absurd but the thermometer read 95.5. dont know if i should throw it away and buy a new one or get admitted in the hospital.

  2. most levels in the liver and kidney function test are towards the higher ranges. i dont know how to interpret these numbers. should i be worried?

3)t ,e2, lh,fsh are not improving at all even after supplementing with zma, tribulus and some herbals. should i start low dose tamoxifen?anything at this point?

4)will focusing on the thyroid fix the t too?should i focus on both?

i am doing everything i can to bring the body back to health. lifestyle ,diet,exercise,supplementation. but i don’t know what to do at this point. need your expert advice.

had it not been for you, ksman, i would never had looked at the thyroid an would have kept on unawares. im glad i came to this forum but now im panicking. pls hlp…

[quote]KSman wrote:
I noticed at the grocery store that there are containers if non-iodized salt right beside the iodized salt and the containers are very similar in appearance. Look at what is on your shelf at home to be sure.

shift work is a lot of stress[/quote]

update- got a new thermomemter. i checked my temp twice in the morning -
8am while in bed- 96.2
10am while in bed- 96.8
1 pm - 96.4(???)

reiterting other numbers for ease of reference-
t3 - 1.87 range 0.92-3.3
t4 - 102 range 60-120
tsh - 1.39 range 0.25-5.
ft3- 3.98 range(4-8.3)
ft4 - 20.77 range(10.4-19.4)

numbers look horrible but i dont have the body of someone with a chronic thyroid condition. in fact, i lose weight easily and dont put on fat very easily. although, metabolism has become relatively sluggish in the past few years.

ksman, calling out to you for help…

You use iodized salt and TSH is reasonable. But fT3 is below mid-range and body temperatures are low. So it appears that not enough fT3 is getting inside your cells to stimulate mitochondrial metabolism.

First thought is a possible combo of:
ft3 simply too low, it really is below mid range
possible some rT3 blocking fT3 at T3 receptors - adrenal fatigue, stress, stress events, chronic starvation, infection, inflammation.

When fT4 is high and fT3 is low, there is impaired T4–>T3 conversion. Enzymes are responsible for this and all of the enzymes seem to have a metal atom in their structures as a catalytic reaction site. The first element that comes to mind is selenium. You should be using a good B-complex multi-vit that has selenium, iodine and a handful of other trace elements.

Please read this:
I am quite in-the-dark with this, a great comfort for you! You can do further web searches. Rx T3 doses to restore body temps with temps as a dose guide might be useful if nutrients do not help.

You can test for inflammation: -and
CRP - general inflammatory marker
homocysteine - cardio specific
review CBC antibodies
fish oil, flaxseed meal/oil, nuts for EFA’s [Flameout from store here a possibility]
essential trace elements
Good multi vit
gums healthy?
joint pain or hints of arthritis?
PSA in case of prostatitis - any discomfort there?
Probiotics - better quality will have many bugs and sold refrigerated
occult blood test [blood cells in poop]
Bromines from drinking citrus sodas?
Heavy metal exposure?


thanks to you,ksman, i am feeling a lot better. mood,mental foginess,anxiety and depression are all BETTER. the symptoms have alleviated to some degree. as you had recommended , i did the following-

  1. adrenal fatigue- reading dr wilsons book. following a good lifestyle and diet. supplementing with adaptogens. but still lot of work to be done here

  2. thyroid- started using low sodium salt with higher iodine content. energy levels have improved. started supplementing with sellenium. will gate another thyroid panel done but i dont think that the problem is resolved.

  3. sex hormones- supplementing with ZMA and some herbals. sex drive is still non-existent.i really want to attempt a hpta restart. need your thoughts on this.

( i will get another complete bloodwork done and post in a day or two.)

you asked about some symptoms:-
C.Bromines from drinking citrus sodas?NO .

i need your thoughts on the HPTA restart…this is the one tormenting me the most. i understand the tripod analogy but the feedback i get from the body keeps telling me that the sex hormones will not come to the normal range unless i do a proper pct. please advice…

hi all,

sorry i let the thread drop for a while.

update- got new blood work done. want to attempt a HPTA restart. these levels are baseline. will get bloods at day 30,60 and 90.

baseline as on 16\2\2015 :-

estradiol E2 = 16.4
testosterone = 320
FSH = 2.57
LH = 3.38

fT3= 4.79
Ft4 = 13.23
TSH = 1.34

RESTART PROTOCOL-( ksman this is basically what you suggest in the stickies and other threads. im trying to use the minimum amount and number of drugs but will tweak as needed along the way.)

HCG - 250 IU EOD untill testes have regained size and fullness. will ramp up and down as required. no changes till the first 12 days as hcg takes that long to show its effects.

AI - have anastarazole at hand. will use if E2 rises too much

TAMOXIFEN/NOLVADEX - AFTER hcg therapy only.(there are so many differing opinions on this. still confused)

the recent bloods are better than a few weeks ago. the lifestyle changes seem to be helping. but levels are far from optimal.

so yh,im going into this with my fingers crossed.

what do you guys think are the chances of a successful restart?

what would you tweak?

i appreciate all your inputs and am grateful for the help i have received so far.

Any update bro how you feeling

I know it’s been 2 years well since the last post. I’d you are here and still see this. I’m curious to your updates? To be honest when one starts to use steroids I think they should be looking at a trt. As I feel steroids do permanent damage to a degree to hpta function. It seems they won’t get back to where it was. Been looking at friends and friends of friends whom have used. Majority of them ended up having to do trt. I’m not someone who’s qualified to confirm this but just sharing based on what I know and am wondering how are you with your condition now