T Nation

Worse Results from Higher TRT?

Back in September I dropped my TRT down to 80mg. Surprisingy, I did not notice a decrease in results and was still able to hit my moderate goals. After my last MRI I decided things were safe enough for me to try bumping up my TRT back to 125mg. I figured a 50% increase in test was bound to show some benefit.

I did this on March 11th. At this point I was 200lb with a 34in waist and 17in arms. That is the biggest my arms have been at that weight despite not blasting for over a year (Yea, I’m no mass monster).

By May 1st I was up to 209 (not because it just happened, I force fed myself to gain weight), waistline was almost 35in and arms hadn’t budged. Usually a 9lb increase in weight would be 1/2in on my arms or more. Strength had not improved at all. I was shocked. I figured maybe I just gained too quickly (though really about 1lb per week which isn’t drastic) and so I cut back down to 202 and figured I’d go more slowly.

Well today, June 5th, I am at 205lb, 34.5in waist, and just over 16.5in arms. Gained 3-5lb, gained half an inch on my weight (checking it multiple days) and lost about a quarter inch off of my arms.

I changed my routine on 4/19 but by that point was worse results were already mostly there and honestly it’s still very similar, it was just a slight increase in volume and rep ranges (8-15 instead of more 4-12…minimal difference). I also started taking Uceris (a corticosteroid for Crohns) but not until 5/1 after the bad results had already come and due to the formulation of the drug it stays localized to the colon with only 0.9mg going systemic.

Any thoughts? Those results are literally what I would experience coming off a cycle (gaining 3-5lb while gaining all fat and losing some size). I always had a very poor response to injectable AAS. Is it possible I actually experienced this due to bumping TRT from 80 to 125mg?

For what it’s worth, on 80mg my levels were about 280-500 with E2 around 20. On 125mg my levels are 600-1100 with E2 around 50.

Also during my last cycle 2 years ago I used ~1000mg of Test and my levels were 9000ng/dl (yes, absurdly high) and I barely noticed a difference compared to TRT. So I can say I am a very poor responder to test…but I’m still shocked to see a negative result.

Your E2 levels are too high now. I suspect that is what’s causing your issues.

I think that could be it. I thought E2 had some mild anabolic properties though?

If by anabolic you mean…gaining fat easily, gyno, water retention, decreased libido, ED then yes…

lol well I’ve read numerous times that estrogen too low can cause issues and estrogen up to 50 or so is OK and can help you gain more…

But maybe not in this case…

Nashtide has a good point. Your E2 is very high. Low E2 for men is probably under 10 or 15.

At E2 of 32, I wanted to scratch off my nipples. It wasn’t a good time.

OK, I was under the impression my level was OK but I guess not.

I don’t want to be on an AI for life, so I guess I will bring my TRT back to 80mg/week and see how that works.

Don’t believe the steroid sites you visit, are you on trt cause you’re hypogonadal with symptoms or for enhanced muscle building? High e2 is bad for both. People who cycle think e2 control is bad for gains only look for one think when they are running high doses- weighing scale. High e2 would lead to a lot of water weight and that’s why they see 5-6 lbs of weight gain within 2-3 weeks of their cycle. This weight goes as soon as they end their cycle. So even if you’re looking for maximum muscle gains on trt, water weight is not muscle and high e2 is bad for health and quality of life and negates many benefits for hypogonadal males.

I used steroids for 2 years. I am now on TRT because I am scared to come off at this point. I will be done with med school in 1 year, at which point I will probably try to come off.

Additionally I have seen 2 studies showing that people who took 125mg of Test showed about a 10% increase in muscle growth. However, I must have the worst response to testosterone ever because as stated in this thread, I have seen worse results from 125mg it seems, and even when I did a heavy test-only cycle I essentially saw no benefit.

I do have some letrozole to bring down E2, but for health reasons I do not want to be on an AI for life. so I guess that means I have to just drop to 80mg and accept that I will not be experiencing any additional muscle growth

I am curious to hear what your aversion to arimidex is.

Yes, there are plenty of side effects in studies of females with cancer, but the goal for cancer patients is E2 = 0. I’d posit that the side effects aren’t directly from the arimidex, but from completely tanking E2.

I think any drug long term can cause side effects. I would rather not add another drug to my stack as I already have some heart issues and Crohn’s disease.

Here is a copy and paste from Lexicomp:

Adverse Reactions


Cardiovascular: Vasodilatation (25% to 36%), ischemic heart disease (4%; 17% in patients with pre-existing ischemic heart disease), hypertension (2% to 13%), angina pectoris (2%; 12% in patients with pre-existing ischemic heart disease), edema (7% to 11%)

Central nervous system: Fatigue (19%), mood disorder (19%), headache (9% to 18%), pain (11% to 17%), depression (2% to 13%)

Dermatologic: Skin rash (6% to 11%)

Endocrine & metabolic: Hot flash (12% to 36%)

Gastrointestinal: Gastrointestinal distress (29% to 34%), nausea (11% to 20%), vomiting (8% to 13%)

Neuromuscular & skeletal: Weakness (13% to 19%), arthritis (17%), arthralgia (2% to 15%), back pain (10% to 12%), ostealgia (6% to 12%), osteoporosis (11%)

Respiratory: Pharyngitis (6% to 14%), dyspnea (8% to 11%), increased cough (7% to 11%)

1% to 10%:

Cardiovascular: Peripheral edema (5% to 10%), chest pain (5% to 7%), venous thrombosis (2% to 4%; including pulmonary embolism, thrombophlebitis, retinal vein thrombosis), myocardial infarction (1%)

Central nervous system: Insomnia (2% to 10%), dizziness (5% to 8%), paresthesia (5% to 7%), anxiety (2% to 6%), confusion (2% to 5%), drowsiness (2% to 5%), malaise (2% to 5%), nervousness (2% to 5%), carpal tunnel syndrome (3%), hypertonia (3%), cerebrovascular insufficiency (2%), lethargy (1%)

Dermatologic: Alopecia (2% to 5%), pruritus (2% to 5%), diaphoresis (1% to 5%)

Endocrine & metabolic: Hypercholesterolemia (9%), increased serum cholesterol (9%), weight gain (2% to 9%), increased gamma-glutamyl transferase (2% to 5%), weight loss (2% to 5%)

Gastrointestinal: Constipation (7% to 9%), diarrhea (7% to 9%), abdominal pain (6% to 9%), anorexia (5% to 8%), dyspepsia (7%), gastrointestinal disease (7%), xerostomia (4% to 6%)

Genitourinary: Mastalgia (2% to 8%), urinary tract infection (2% to 8%), pelvic pain (5% to 7%), vulvovaginitis (6%), vaginal dryness (1% to 5%), vaginal hemorrhage (1% to 5%), vaginal discharge (4%), vaginitis (4%), leukorrhea (2% to 3%)

Hematologic & oncologic: Lymphedema (10%), breast neoplasm (5%), neoplasm (5%), anemia (2% to 5%), leukopenia (2% to 5%), tumor flare (3%)

Hepatic: Increased serum alkaline phosphatase (2% to 5%), increased serum ALT (2% to 5%), increased serum AST (2% to 5%)

Infection: Infection (2% to 9%)

Neuromuscular & skeletal: Bone fracture (1% to 10%), arthrosis (7%), myalgia (2% to 6%), neck pain (2% to 5%), pathological fracture (2% to 5%)

Ophthalmic: Cataract (6%)

Respiratory: Flu-like symptoms (2% to 7%), sinusitis (2% to 6%), bronchitis (2% to 5%), rhinitis (2% to 5%)

Miscellaneous: Accidental injury (2% to 10%), cyst (5%), fever (2% to 5%)

<1%, postmarketing, and/or case reports: Anaphylaxis, angioedema, cerebral infarction, cerebral ischemia, decreased bone mineral density, dermal ulcer, endometrial carcinoma, erythema multiforme, hepatitis, hepatomegaly, hypercalcemia, hypersensitivity angiitis (including anaphylactoid purpura [IgA vasculitis]), increased serum bilirubin, jaundice, joint stiffness, pulmonary embolism, retinal thrombosis, skin blister, skin lesion, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, tenosynovitis (stenosing), urticaria

For those reading along, again, those side effects are probabaly at 1mg/day or better. I go with the lowest dose I can without nipple itch.

You consider letrozole to be a better option as far as side effects?

From the wikipedia on letrozole, emphasis mine:

The most common side effects are sweating, hot flashes, arthralgia (joint pain), and fatigue.[16]
Generally, side effects include signs and symptoms of hypoestrogenism. There is concern that long term use may lead to osteoporosis,[2] which is in certain patient populations such as post-menopausal women or osteoporotics, bisphosphonates may also be prescribed.[citation needed]

No, I would probably consider letrozole the harshest.

If I had to take an AI I would probably go aromasin > arimidex > letrozole, personally.

And you are right that the doses are probably higher than we use, but there would still be the potential for those side effects, just a lower risk.

I am not saying people who are otherwise healthy should really be concerned with taking a low dose of an AI. I’m just OCD about my health at this point after experiencing some heart issues. I may very likely just come off TRT in a year or so.

Lastly, if I was experiencing superior size and strength gains on 125mg TRT compared to 80mg TRT, but also just experienced some water retention or some other estrogen side effect, then yes I would probably be inclined to take an AI or find some other way to bring down estrogen. However, since my results were at least the same on 80mg and maybe even better, I don’t know if I see a point even bothering trying to stay at 125mg TRT when both my free test and E2 are too high and I could see either of those leading to issues down the road.