When it comes to diagnosing and treating any hormone deficiency – including testosterone, growth hormone and thyroid – your doctor should be the first stop. A primary care physician may run some tests, but eventually he or she will probably send you to an endocrine specialist (endocrinologist). The primary care doctor needs to know a little about everything, while the specialist needs to know a lot about a little, and that little happens to be the well-studied, FDA-approved, time-tested treatments for problems with your endocrine system (aka your hormones).
What the endocrinologist may not know, however, are the many alternative treatments, unapproved (by the FDA) ways to combat side effects, and other tidbits that come with the territory of injecting yourself with more than ten times the amount of male hormones (androgens) that would be found naturally in any human being. Bodybuilders have been doing exactly that for a very long time. Think back to when the governor of California was a teenager living in Austria and television was black and white. And yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did steroids (he has admitted to taking them, including Dianobol).
Once again, I want to make this very clear: Your DOCTOR is who should be consulted when it comes to your health, including Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). But what I’m getting at here is that there are decades of accumulated, anecdotal information and opinions to be had out there on the web. All you have to do is look up “bodybuilding forums” on Google and find the steroids section.
While I would never take some random bodybuilder’s advice over that of my doctor’s (at least the one I have now, who I happen to trust – unlike the last one) some of the stuff I’ve read in these forums has given me the necessary background and confidence to ask my doctor the tough questions, such as: “Why are we treating the symptoms of secondary hypogonadism with something that will cause the much worse condition of primary hypogonadism?” Or how about the question: “Could you check my estradiol levels please? Because I read online that high estradiol levels can suppress testosterone production“.