Everything You Need To Know About Hormone Replacement Therapy

Why hormone replacement therapy?

No man was ever made to live a life that lacked greatness. No man was truly ever satisfied with being mediocre and just scraping by. Even if mediocrity felt comfortable, man wasn’t made to live in a comfort zone that would soon turn into his own self-destruction. We get one shot at life and it goes by pretty fast! I want you to think about the happiest times in your life: not the events, but the feelings you had when the events unfolded and you put forth some real effort to make something happen. Now I want you to ask yourself one simple question: are those feelings the same now as they were back then? Do you get out of bed pumped up and ready to start your day? Or is it just another day of a living hell?

What I have found is that sometimes life isn’t as bad as we make it out to be. We mentally turn small things into a major crisis, and it’s easier to do this as we age and our natural testosterone production gets lower. Things like bills, money, that small dent in your car door, or that annoying tree limb that needs to be cut down in your yard, none of these things are really that bad!! But we mentally transform everything in our lives into some sort of damn crisis because we become accustomed to a life of shit, because we constantly feel like shit!!

Nobody ever wanted to be the guy who sat on the sidelines and watched his kids play baseball, or lacked the energy to chase them around the yard. It’s pretty easy to see that the majority of men turn into programmed drones as they age, with every last bit of life and enthusiasm sucked out of their bodies!! It’s easy to chalk it up as “just getting older” and accepting boring everyday existence as normalcy. Sure, you may look forward to an annual vacation, taking the boat out once a month, or your company Christmas party, but what is in between all of that? I want to know why it’s not OK to feel like fucking Superman on a day to day basis!! I’m here to tell you, YOU CAN, and life is passing you by faster than you think, so you better pay attention to what I’m about to share with you.

There is a way to get your old self back. There is a way to become better than your old self, if your old self totally sucked. It’s called testosterone replacement therapy.

I want you to clear your mind for a moment and forget about all of this natural versus unnatural bullshit. You aren’t natural and you’ve never been. There isn’t anything natural about taking headache medication, laying in a tanning bed, drinking soda’s and eating French fries, or putting on the deodorant you wear every day before going to work. You think because someone does a two week detox they erase damage they’ve done over the past 3040 years or so? Nah, it doesn’t quite work that way. Society and media have done a great job at putting it in everyone’s head that if you take a hormone through a needle then you’re in the same category as a heroin addict, and that is total bullshit!! But I’m here to fill you in on a little something: replicating hormone levels from when you were 18 years old is a hell of a lot closer to natural than all of the antidepressants doctors want to prescribe people now, since they think that is the real solution to feeling like shit all the time.

I get a lot of guys who come to me and tell me, “I don’t want to have to take this stuff forever.” Well what the hell kind of sense does that make? So they’d prefer to feel like shit forever? There is such a stigma when it comes to taking a medication through a needle.

I’m a firm believer in that the medical community would prefer you to be sick all the time so they don’t lose your business. Think about it for a second: if people got healthier and stronger, they wouldn’t spend as much time at the doctor’s office. I believe that this is the biggest reason that the medical board is cracking down on doctors who prescribe HGH, HCG, Arimidex, and testosterone to men and women. Every year millions and millions of dollars gets spent on clinical research for every other known disease, but yet they still think hormone replacement is dangerous!!

The ironic part is what they prescribe a lot of patients with weakness, wasting syndrome, growth disorders, muscular dystrophy, and other life threatening diseases. They prescribe steroids!! So what the fuck sense does this make? I can take a steroid if I’m dying, but I can’t take one if I just want to be healthier and get my energy and libido back. God forbid someone takes something to feel better and potentially save their sex life, marriage, and overall sense of well-being!!

I’m here to tell you how the other side lives. I take prescribed hormone replacement through my doctor and I feel incredible. I have been on testosterone replacement for the past 3-4 years now. I needed to go on testosterone because I had used anabolic steroids since I was about 19 years old and my natural production was pretty much gone. I knew this was the road I was going down, and truthfully I didn’t mind it.

I was fortunate enough to have friends who were much older than I was and were a great example of what testosterone replacement could do for someone. These guys didn’t act like they were older and they outperformed guys in the gym half their age!! I never looked at these guys as if I was hanging out with someone my father’s age because they didn’t act the same. Age was just a number to these guys and it’s as if their life never missed a beat from when they were 20 years old.

So no, it never bothered me when I got on hormone replacement. I think I probably celebrated with a few drinks and said cheers to a new me forever. What I’m going to give you in the next section of my book is all of the information you should know about hormone replacement and how to do it safely. Who knows, maybe what you’ll read here will help change your life forever.

How do I know if my testosterone is low?

Sometimes you may not think your testosterone levels are low. Your body is so adapted to functioning on below average test levels that you have no idea. But as a general rule, you will be experiencing extreme fatigue all the time, possibly a lack of sex drive, trouble burning body fat, weakness, anxiety, and depression. You may have all of those symptoms or you may just have a couple. When I was off testosterone for about 8 weeks prior to getting a script, my anxiety was absolutely terrible!! It was the worst anxiety I’ve ever experienced in my life and nothing in my life felt right.

But I knew what I was going through, that is the difference between other men and me. I knew I just had to wait long enough for those levels to drop enough to get a prescription. When I had my hormone levels checked my total testosterone count was only 89. Now, there are a few different reference tables that are out there now, but generally anything that comes in at 350ng/dl – 1100ng/dl is considered normal. But you have to go by the symptoms as well. For example, I would probably feel like total shit with a test level of 450ng/dl while someone else might feel fine. It’s very person specific.

Also, your estrogen levels have a lot to do with how you feel as well. Your testosterone may be normal, but your estrogen levels may be elevated. So something like an anti-estrogen may be all you need to take. But the first step in the process is getting to a doctor and talking to him about getting your hormone panel tested. A good doc will check for your total testosterone, your level of free testosterone (which is the actual testosterone your body can use that is available at the time), your estradiol and estrogen levels, and your IGF-1 levels. It’s also a good idea to have your thyroid checked, and before writing a prescription most doctors will want to do a prostate check.

I highly recommend searching in your area for a doctor who specializes in anti-aging and hormone replacement. You may find that an endocrinologist is the best option in your place of residence. I would do my research first. You’d be shocked at how many general practitioners know absolutely nothing about this topic!! They are afraid of prescribing something they know nothing about and view it as a liability.

Types of Testosterone Replacement

To my knowledge there are three different types of testosterone replacement. You have “AndroGel” which is a cream and sometimes comes in a patch. There are testosterone pellets that you can have implanted every few months, and there is good old fashioned injectable test!! I have never messed with creams, patches, or pellets. I think a bottle of straight testosterone is the best possible option, because it’s a steadier release and won’t have the constant elevation and drop of test levels. Not to mention I do not like the idea of walking around with pellets in my ass or having to rub cream on my skin every day that could potentially damage my skin or rub against someone and possibly cause them adverse effects. I would opt for good old fashioned injectable testosterone!!

Now, a lot of doctors will want you to come into their office once every 2 weeks for a shot. This is not optimal for me, because by day 9-10 after my shot I’m starting to drop lower. I think 2 weeks is just too damn long to go between shots. Also, it’s more expensive since you have to pay for every visit (or at least a copay) which is another reason why they want you in there every 2 weeks. There is absolutely no reason you cannot do shots yourself in the comfort of your own home. Once per week shots will make you feel much better than once every couple weeks, trust me on that!! The standard protocol for 90% of men is 100mg of testosterone cypionate every week or 200 mg every 2 weeks. This may not be enough to get you to an optimal level.

I don’t want to be average; I want to be at the high end of hormone replacement. I take 200mg each week and that is enough to put me right around 1200ng/dl the day after my shot and about 6-700ng/dl by around day 7 after the shot. The lowest I want to be at is 6-700ng/dl. So for me, 100mg each week would not be enough. But for someone else it may be enough to feel good and perform better. I don’t think I’ve been outside of that range now for the past few years, and this is even when I use other steroids alongside my hormone replacement.

What to Look for in your Blood Work and Precautionary Measures

I do not suggest hormone replacement for anybody who isn’t going to go into a doctor’s office for regular blood work and checkups. When you simply “self-supplement” for an indefinite length of time, you are playing with fire without knowing how your blood work looks on a regular basis. Blood work is most commonly required once every 12 weeks, and your doctor

will make you come in to have it done in order to renew the prescription and continue on with testosterone injections. The insurance company may also require it, but just know that most insurance companies will only cover labs that are performed 12 weeks apart from each other. So the dilemma can often lay in a small gap of 2 weeks between your last shot and when you’re eligible for another blood draw.

Allow me to explain more here: I get 200mg/wk of testosterone for 10 weeks, but I cannot do my blood work until week 12, therefore I have a 2 week lapse. So with my regimen, usually by about week 8-9 I am lowering my testosterone dosages so I can hit another shot between the end of week 10 and week 11. This isn’t a bad thing, because the last thing you need is to go in for your blood draw with higher levels than average. When your blood is drawn and your test level is 600, then you’re fine, but if it’s 1200-1300ng/dl, then it may throw up a flag to insurance providers, or even the doctor. With that being said, we want to ride on the higher side of hormone replacement, so I strongly suggest making your last shot about 1 week before the lab work or even cutting the shot to 100mg rather than 200mg.

Cholesterol Levels

Now, understand that I’m certainly no doctor here, but this is what I normally check for in my blood work. Cholesterol levels are going to be a big one to look out for, and over time testosterone replacement can increase bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol. Your (LDL) is going to be your bad cholesterol and your (HDL) is your good cholesterol. I always come in a bit lower on my good cholesterol and on the high end of average on my bad cholesterol.

But the biggest factor to look for is a total number which is basically a ratio for future “risk of cardiovascular event” (AKA a heart attack). The ratio number on the chart for this corresponds to a list of odds for “risk of cardiovascular event” and the odds are normally listed as “½ average risk, average risk, 1.5 times higher than average risk, 2 times higher than average risk, and 3 times higher than average risk.” So keep an eye out on your cholesterol levels during hormone replacement. The first few years on testosterone you may be fine, but things may start creeping up on you down the road. Your blood work chart will have a reference range next to your number and if anything is too high or low it will usually be highlighted.

Hematocrit Levels

The next thing on my blood work that I look for is my hematocrit levels. Hematocrit is the measure of the percentage of red blood cells in your body. It does become easier to have elevated hematocrit levels while on testosterone replacement therapy. When hematocrit becomes too high, you are at a possible increased risk for a stroke. Dehydration can also elevate hematocrit levels so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water on hormone replacement, which you should be doing anyway. An elevation in red blood cells can enhance performance to a major degree, which is the primary reason why endurance athletes do blood doping (withdrawing blood for several weeks leading up to an event, and then pumping it back into the body before the event). But prolonged elevation/too high of elevation can be very dangerous and should be avoided. It’s best to keep your hematocrit and red blood cell count in normal range. Honestly I float at the upper end of normal range, but if I hydrate myself enough I can drop down into average range.

Liver Values

The liver is one of the most important organs in the entire body. It’s responsible for hundreds of chemical reactions in the body and used to detoxify the blood. Without a healthy liver, you’re no good. The liver also plays a major part in protein synthesis, the production of bile to break down foods, breaking down insulin as well as glucose production, and clotting factors. The liver stores chemicals and other vitamins that are used by the body on a daily basis, and stores iron that is used for the production of new red blood cells.

Liver values are expressed on a lab chart as 2 main values called “AST” and “ALT”. To simplify what these values mean, they’re basically measures of liver damage or possibly tissue damage from other places in the body such as your heart or kidneys (since elevated liver values can also indicate damage in other organs in the body).

One thing to note here is if you work out on a regular basis these levels can simply be elevated due to muscle damage. My liver values are always a little high and they’ve stayed around the same markers for a number of years now. Each value is usually about 20 points higher than normal. This doesn’t mean that my liver is unhealthy and not functioning properly. There is a lot of mixed information on what unhealthy liver values are, despite a common reference range on lab charts. When there is damage to the liver or signs of organ damage somewhere else, these numbers may be elevated by a lot, or elevated by just a little. Just know that if you lift weights a lot, it will almost always cause these two numbers to be at the top end of normal range or slightly above normal range. In some individuals these numbers can even double the top end of the normal range just from lifting weights!! Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to keep close watch on them.

Triglycerides

Triglycerides are the measure of fat content in your blood. You need some triglycerides to be healthy, but too many triglycerides can lead to heart disease and metabolic syndrome. The biggest factors that contribute to high triglycerides with most people are being overweight and consuming alcohol. Other contributing factors include poorly controlled diabetes, an underactive thyroid, and kidney disease. Triglycerides usually aren’t as big of an issue with people who eat healthy and exercise, but it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on them.

The Benefits of Donating Blood

Your doctor may want you to start donating blood if you’re on testosterone replacement. But even if he doesn’t mention it, it’s never a bad idea to start donating blood to keep your organs healthier and your lab numbers in check. Donating blood makes a huge difference in your lab results and it’s a healthy practice to get into. It’s believed that women statistically outlive men because they have a menstrual cycle each month for over half of their lives, and in this process new blood is made as old blood is being flushed out. This pulls toxins out of the organs of the body and is sort of like a detox for your body. Think of this as giving your body an oil change!!

To donate blood you need to first find a donor center such as Red Cross or the organization that handles blood donation where you’re located. You will have to fill out some paperwork and/or an electronic questionnaire before you’re allowed to donate. This questionnaire asks you all sorts of things about your health, sexual practices, tattoos, and travel in places outside of your country. It usually takes about 15-20 minutes to fill this out and you will be required to do it each time you donate.

DO NOT TELL THEM YOU ARE DONATING FOR HORMONE REPLACEMENT OR FOR THERAPEUTIC REASONS!!! They aren’t supposed to take blood from people doing it for therapeutic reasons. All they need to know is that you’re a good citizen and doing your part to help out!!

Now, in many donor centers you have the option of donating “whole blood” or what is called “double reds.” I always donate double reds. Donating double reds is only allowed every 120 days or so, and this process involves taking twice as many red blood cells as whole blood, and pumping your plasma and platelets back into you. It’s pretty neat actually: during the donation you can see the different parts of the blood getting separated into a few different bags and then your arm gets a little cold feeling as the components of the blood get put back into your body. I was a little squeamish the first time I did this, but after a few minutes it was no big deal!!

Donating double reds usually takes me about 20-25 minutes or so, and I usually sit there on my phone checking emails and doing whatever to kill the time. Donating whole blood only takes about 10 minutes. With whole blood you’re allowed to donate every 2 months. A lot of guys opt for donating whole blood, but I always just go with double reds. And in all honesty, it does feel good knowing that my steroid tainted blood is helping to save lives!! I wonder who out there is walking around with my blood in them?

After the donation they encourage you to have a snack before leaving. Sometimes I’ll hang out and have some popcorn and a drink and talk to someone else there at the snack table. All joking aside, it’s a very nice feeling when I donate, and the people there are very friendly to me. It’s an even better feeling when I raid the snacks and drinks and bring home stuff for the kids’ school lunches too. They haven’t complained yet, and a few times I’ve even gotten T-shirts, bowling tickets, and coupons for free ice cream. Once you get over feeling like a junkie with a needle in your vein, it’s actually a pretty decent experience!!