I want to discuss our package. Countless articles and threads on the forums are devoted to our manhood. For most of us our tools are directly connected with our feeling of being a “Real man.” Many outside influences determine the size of our package, you can walk into an ice-cold lake as a proud man and walk out, hung like a 12 year old, right? Also the use of many drugs, and bodybuilding practices like dieting, can shrink our package.
But First our Testes (balls)
A common problem amongst bodybuilders and other strength athletes is that of testicular shrinkage during the prolonged use of androgens / anabolic steroids.
Administration of anabolic steroids (including therapeutic doses of testosterone) suppresses pituitary LH and FSH secretion, which in turn reduces testicular size, testosterone production and sperm production. After a cycle of anabolic steroid use, the recovery of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis may take months to years, depending on the dose and duration of prior androgen use.
During this period, testosterone levels may fall to very low levels as the effects of the supplemented testosterone wear off and the HPT axis has yet not recovered, known as anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadism. It is not uncommon for male users to experience testosterone levels below 200 ng/dL despite abstinence from anabolic steroids for up to 4 years. Sometimes testosterone levels may drop as low as 20-50 ng/dL, which is in the female range. Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadism (ASIH) is a potentially under-recognized cause of hypogonadism in young men.
The hypothalamus in the human brain has a detection mechanism which regulates the release of many hormones which control the production of androgens by the testes and the adrenal glands. If this detection mechanism detects an abnormally high amount of androgen / anabolic steroids, which it recognises primarily as testosterone, then the hormones responsible for testosterone release will have their production decreased, and so the testes etc. will no longer be stimulated by these hormones, and so will cease, or decrease, production of natural testosterone, and so cause testicular shrinkage.
Oestrogen (androgens can aromatise in the body into oestrogens) have even more of a shut-off effect upon the release of androgens via the hypothalamus, and so we have a "double-edged" problem, with both androgens / anabolic steroids (which are all basically androgens) and oestrogens causing shut-down of hormonal stimulation of the testes, and thus testicular shrinkage.
During this post-cycle period, users may experience troublesome symptoms of androgen deficiency, including loss of sexual desire and sexual function, depressed mood, and hot flushes. Some find these withdrawal symptoms so difficult to tolerate that they go back on another cycle before their HPT axis has recovered, or may seek other psychoactive drugs, thus creating a vicious cycle of anabolic steroid use, withdrawal symptoms, and dependence, also known as “hooked-on-hormones” syndrome.
Anabolic steroid induced hypogonadism is typically secondary hypogonadism, caused by a deficiency of LH due to a shutdown of the HPG-axis. In contrast, primary hypogonadism is caused by testicular insensitivity to LH. It should be noted that post-cycle therapy only works for secondary hypogonadism. Some anabolic steroids (for example nandrolone decanoate) may potentially cause testicular toxicity when used in high doses for a long time. Whether this may cause primary hypogonadism is not known, but possible. In such cases, none of the post-cycle therapies will help. The only solution would be lifelong medical testosterone replacement therapy.
Not only bodybuilding haters think that the penisses of most bodybuilders look disproportional, people within the sport know it – see it. The hormonal disbalance not only ruins the size, but also causes erectile dysfunction and loss of libido.
It is well known that stress can disrupt proper functioning of our endocrine. Not only can it throw our hormone balance off, it can also affect our reproductive organs in vicious ways. For men, high stress hormones and high cortisol levels reduce their testosterone levels, decrease hGH, and affect growth factors of erectile tissues that eventually lead to shrinkage of penis size.
When you are under stress, your body releases increased levels of adrenaline and other "fight or flight" hormones to help you deal with emotional emergencies. Not all men respond to stress the same way. And not all men developed affected or damaged stress hormones the same way. Scientists believe that high-strung Type A personality males are affected more by the adrenaline and the cortisol that secretes shortly after exposure to stress, and this does the most devastating long-term harm.
Regardless of personality type, strenuous exercise, anxiety, depression, and an extreme diet ( such as a BB contest preparation) can reduce the testicular function, overwork the liver, and decrease nitric oxide production that effectively leads to shrinkage of penile tissues.
Usually the Leydig cells in the testicle regulate the balance of testosterone production, nitric oxide synthesis, and growth factors for the erectile tissue. However, in times of stress and exhaustion, a mass production of cortisol stress hormones is released, but there is simply too much cortisol versus 11BetaHSD-1. This imbalance ratio leads to a decrease in your testosterone production and nutrient supply to the erectile tissue.
Even if, for some of you it isn’t sexy at all. You’ve still got to take your hat off to those with the sheer determination and will power to get there.
No drugs/ all the drugs – they’re still really suffering to push themselves to body fat percentage many will never even get to.
With that however there are some massive draw backs; Severe hunger, lethargy, mood swings, constant feeling of cold, sleep issues, peeing all the time to name but a few.
There is one big issue that isn’t really talked about and you only really discover when you try and push to those levels of body fat that represent something that looks like an anatomy poster.
The loss or lack of wood, a boner, its actual term of an erection. Basically what happens is a couple of tubes in your manhood are influenced by nitric oxide dilate, they fill with blood and you get an erection
A case study in 2013 actually looked into natural bodybuilding preparation over 12 months. This tracked everything from mood to body fat percentage to resting heart rate.
One particular marker they measured was testosterone and how it was effected at 3 month intervals.
An acceptable level for your testosterone to be at is around 2.7 to 10.7ng/mL with the average being around 6.79ng/mL. During this case study the natural bodybuilder dropped from start at 9.22 to 2.25ng/mL which is below that acceptable or recommended level. It didn’t even return back to where he was until 6 months post competition.
Could this drop in testosterone have affected the ability to get an erection?
Now again there does appear to be a lacking body of research with lean dudes, low testosterone and erectile dysfunction. However, we do know that there is an age related decline in serum total and free testosterone. Basically a 75-year-old has about 50% of the testosterone a man aged 25.
Now erectile dysfunction can occur based on psychological issues normally tested by assessing nocturnal function but other health issues like diabetes and vascular disease can cause problems.
As you can imagine there aren’t really many studies directly looking at males, very low body fat percentages and sexual function.
The first study I wanted to look at was the Minnesota starvation experiment. If you’re not aware of this, then it was basically a load of men dieting on 1600 calories and walking around 3 miles per day in an attempt to lose 25% of their bodyweight.
It was seriously extreme to the point where one man cut off 3 of his fingers due to the stress. As suspected sexual appetite reduced to basically nothing. But the most disconcerting finding regarding sexual function was that their testicle size actually reduced.
Rajfer (2000) looked into the relationship between testosterone and erectile dysfunction. There are some interesting cliff notes:
“Normal adult testosterone levels are not necessary for normal erections” “..exogenous androgens may not improve sexual function.”
Basically injecting yourself with test didn’t do much to help. Treating your erectile dysfunction with testosterone doesn’t seem to improve sexual function. However low testosterone may explain lack of libido.
What could be causing the lack of ‘good wood’?
This now leads me down the path of stress and the Thyroid gland.
Stress symptoms are described as mood swings, inability to concentrate, anger and sadness. Physical symptoms would be weight loss, sleep disturbance and chronic fatigue.
If you have ever dieted for a long period of time you can easily attest to these symptoms. There are two things we want to consider as part of this cocktail. The first is hypothyroidism. This is where the thyroid isn’t producing as much as it should be. In turn this could affect testosterone levels causing issue with sexual desire which then leads to weak or erectile dysfunction.
The second is cortisol. People who suffer with a condition called Cushing’s syndrome produce too much cortisol. It is rare but dieting for a bodybuilding show is an extreme situation. These individuals suffer with loss of libido and sexual function.
Let’s go back to the case study I discussed above (Rossow 2013). As you can see from this graph the individual in question’s hormones were completely out of whack, certainly towards the end of his prep: Cortisol – 100% above baseline T3 – around 75% below baseline T4 – around 75% below baseline.
So testosterone lower than recommended, thyroid through the floor and cortisol literally off the scale.
I would have been very surprised if this individual wasn’t suffering from erectile dysfunction. To add to a psychological state that was 37 points higher on contest day I’m almost certain he would have been suffering.
So what can you potentially do to prevent this dysfunction beyond the obvious? and does it really matter?
To answer the second question, it quite frankly doesn’t. Your girlfriend might not be best pleased but the goal is to get into the best condition you can without losing too much muscle mass.
Whether you can get it up or not is actually irrelevant and there’s likely nothing you can do about it. There are maybe some considerations to slow this onset and to try and keep your hormones from going off the charts.
What Can We Do?
Most bodybuilders know that after a cycle you need a post cycle therapy to restore endogenous hormone production. Many bodybuilders also make sure their balls don’t shrink to much by injecting small amounts of hCG during their cycle. This blogpost is not meant to describe PCT, thus again the small penis.
Some people are actually born with a small penis or with a very small penis, a condition that is called “Micropenis.”
Seeing these pictures will make clear to you that those suffering from this condition are eager, even more eager then you are, to find a way to increase the length and width of their penis. Every “guru” on the forums will tell you, that adult man can’t change the size of his penis, but is that true?
In this post we will examine the findings of a study published in 2011 that has some very promising results on adults with the micropenis condition. The name of the study is "Penile Growth in Response to Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) Treatment in Patients with Idiopathic Hypogonadotrophic Hypogonadism."
It is long known that the standard testosterone treatment applied on pre-puberty boys with a micro-penis yields no penile growth when given to adult men.
This is why adult males with a very small penis are left with little options ( surgery) regarding their condition. However, this study shows that a different hormone approach may have the potential to induce penile growth after puberty.
In this study, a total of 20 males with idiopathic hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism participated. All of them presented with the micropenis condition as well. The mean age of the group was 18.9, with the youngest man being 12 and the oldest 24 years old. The participants received intramuscular injections of 1,500 IU to 2,000 IU hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone) on a 3 times per week basis, for a total of 2 months.
Penile lengths (flaccid and erect) were taken regularly, both during the trial and four months after the end of the treatment. All penile length measurements were taken by the same doctor. The doctor used a wooden spatula that was pressed against the pubic ramus, depressing the suprapubic pad of fat as much as it was possible to ensure that the whole part of the penis buried in the fat was measured. Foreskin length wasn't of included.According to the paper, the mean flaccid penis length increased from 3.39 cm to 5.14, whereas the stretched mean penis length increased from 5.41 cm to 7.45 cm. These results can also be seen in the graph above.
The hCG treatment had some additional and positive "side effects":
*A significant increase in the mean serum testosterone concentrations.
*An increase in testicular volume. The testicular volume increased from 5.45 cc to 6.83 cc on the left side and from 5.53 cc to 7.03 cc on the right side
It should be mentioned that none of the participants reported any adverse effects.
The study is very promising, let's hope someone proceeds to a clinical trial so that adults with micropenis can one day enjoy a normal-sized penis with a simple hormonal treatment.
Another very interesting study named "Transdermal dihydrotestosterone therapy and its effects on patients with microphallus". The study was published in 1993 and what I find very interesting is that the treatment protocol involved no injections, no oral administration of drugs, no surgery, no use of penile extenders, no nothing. Just the topical application of a Transdermal dihydrotestosterone cream on the genitals, for 8 weeks.
Considering the simplicity of the method, the reported results are mind blowing: "All patients demonstrated growth of the penis during treatment. The mean increase rate (153%) in the first 4 weeks of treatment was higher than that (118%) of the second 4 weeks."
What is even more surprising is that the treatment was a success in patients were intramuscular testosterone had previously failed: "Of importance is that responses were noted in 4 patients who had failed testosterone therapy for microphallus."
Here's is the full abstract of the study:
"To investigate the efficacy of transdermal dihydrotestosterone therapy on 22 patients with microphallus, we applied dihydrotestosterone gel for 8 weeks to the external genitalia at daily doses of 12.5 mg. and 25 mg. for ages less than and older than 10 years, respectively. All patients were evaluated for penile and prostatic growth, pituitary-gonadal axis function, serum sex hormone binding globulin, lipid metabolism, hepatotoxicity, bone age and height velocity. All patients demonstrated growth of the penis during treatment. The mean increase rate (153%) in the first 4 weeks of treatment was higher than that (118%) of the second 4 weeks. Of importance is that responses were noted in 4 patients who had failed testosterone therapy for microphallus. The pituitary-gonadal axis was transiently suppressed during treatment, and serum sex hormone binding globulin and lipid metabolism were transiently affected during treatment. Serum alkaline phosphatase increased, mainly due to change of bone isoenzyme but bone ages and mean height velocity were not significantly affected. In conclusion, transdermal dihydrotestosterone therapy is an effective and relatively safe modality in the treatment of microphallus."
Jose Conseco wrote in his book titled “Juiced” where he details his own usage of hormones and steroids: “ Using growth hormone can make your penis bigger, and make you more easily aroused.”
“My husband was on a combo of test and hgh for awhile. Defiantly a difference. It's really about blood flow and allowing the organ to reach its potential and not really "Growth". Enjoy while you can.”
On the net and on the forums you can easily find these statements, are they true? Who knows…