What Is Post Cycle Therapy and When Do You Need It?

A male body builder's half body shot.

Even though steroids are illegal without a prescription, many men use hormone testosterone and other drugs in a non-medical way to increase muscle mass and strength. If you see a guy at the gym who seems unnaturally large, he could be on performance and image enhancing drugs (PIED, IPED or PED). These are known by many names — human chorionic gonadotropin, growth hormone, anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), prohormones, clenbuterol, and tamoxifen. Men take these in cycles because taking steroids has serious side effects and essentially shuts down the body’s ability to produce healthy levels of testosterone on its own. For the body to naturalise and get testosterone production back on track, men must do post cycle therapy. You need to consider how this entire process affects your body and the consequences that come with using PEDs before you dive in.

What Happens to Your Body When You Use Steroids?

Anabolic steroids, also known as “roids” or “juice”, are artificial substances used by gym rats and professional bodybuilders who aren’t happy with their natural muscle growth. Many professional athletes looking to advance in their sport will also take steroids — even though many athlete associations have banned the use of PEDs. When someone starts taking steroids, they may notice a gain in muscle strength and size, improved recovery and lower inflammation. These gains allow them to work out harder and more often to gain more strength and mass than their bodies would do naturally.

These drugs can be a fast track to bigger muscles and better performance, but they come with many side effects and consequences. The biggest side effect of steroid use is the body stops naturally producing testosterone since it is getting more than enough with the drugs. So when someone decides to stop taking steroids, they’ll experience a “hormone crash”. This crash will produce withdrawal symptoms similar to any drug abuse like depression, headaches, anxiety, loss of appetite, nausea and more. Not only this, but long term abuse of steroids could result in more serious conditions like heart and liver disease. When a man stops taking steroids, this is where post cycle therapy steps in.

What Is Post Cycle Therapy and Is it Necessary?

The longer a man takes steroids, the worse the side effects become. As explained earlier, by the time someone stops taking steroids, the body has stopped making enough testosterone. They could let their testosterone increase naturally, but this could take up to four months to regulate. Most men can’t or don’t want to wait this long because they experience the side effects described above, along with low libido, acne, disturbed sleep, fogginess, erectile dysfunction and more. After a man comes off steroids, if they start taking hormone stimulating drugs, this will help boost their testosterone back to healthy levels. If this applies to you, you will need the help of a qualified doctor to design the best protocol for you to follow when you stop the steroids. We can take blood work to see what method of testosterone is best for you and also watch your progress as your body starts to regulate hormone production. Post cycle therapy is not something we suggest you attempt on your own.

It’s important to realise that even with PCT, anyone who stops taking steroids will feel some side effects and it won’t be easy. You will most likely lose some of the muscle mass you’ve gained, your mood will fluctuate and you may lose motivation and drive to hit the gym at all. If you are thinking of taking steroids, please understand the risks involved, and know that you must include a post cycle therapy supplement or drug after coming off steroids.

Are you using steroids as a way to enhance your performance in the gym and build bigger muscle mass? Book a free, no-obligation consultation with our men’s health experts so we can help you through the process. We offer the best post cycle therapy protocol to meet your needs.

Founder at Harley St M.D.
Dr. Chia Tan is a UK trained medical doctor that specialises in cosmetic and aesthetic medicine and testosterone replacement therapy. He is qualified as a medical doctor since 2003 and has since trained extensively. He has been featured in several leading magazines as well as invited to appear on TV to discuss aesthetic medicine and the latest cosmetic procedures.
Dr. Chia Tan
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