If abused, the short term and long term effects of growth hormone can impede on your overall health.

When it comes to bodybuilders, athletes, or fitness junkies looking to get the edge with their gains, taking growth hormone (GH) is a highly sought after option. Growth hormone is a peptide hormone used to stimulate growth, cell reproduction and regeneration, and is vital for human development. Getting that shredded physique is something we all seek and when done right, big gains comes from growth hormone use. It is when it’s abused that things start to go awry.

We sat down with Dr. Testosterone to discuss growth hormone and the short term and long term effects of using it. How it works, why its prescribed, and the role it plays with acne are all key questions Dr. Testosterone addressed for us. We even took on the challenge of asking him whether conventional steroids or selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) were more effective for bodybuilding.

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Dr. Testosterone is one a small selection of certified doctors whose mission is to improve the health and safety of bodybuilders. As someone who understands the laws and regulation surrounding steroid and PED use, he does his best to educate bodybuilders on the safest ways to enhance their overall physique and performance while staying the most safe. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Dr. Testosterone talks about the truth surrounding growth hormone and the effects abuse can have on the body.

What Is Growth Hormone & How Does It Work?

Growth hormone is a peptide hormone used to stimulate growth, cell reproduction and regeneration, and is used as anabolic agent for performance enhancements. It is prescribed for those with Dwarfism, Turner Syndrome, HIV/AIDS patients who suffered from muscle wasting, and recovery and recuperation post-surgery (1).

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How growth hormone works is that all organs have receptors or Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and when released, it works as a fat burner and can aid in cell recovery and recuperation. When we fast, we burn through growth hormone. Once it exceeds a certain limit, then we start to see skeletal muscle growth and visceral muscle growth, but also the negative effects.

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Negative effects of Growth Hormone

In the short term, negative side effects of abused growth hormone include carpal tunnel syndrome and a pre-diabetic state. Growth hormone is responsible for the swelling which causes compression of your wrist tendons that pinch your medial nerve. Surgery is required to release this tension (2). Since GH liberates glucose from your liver into the blood stream, glycemia can occur. With little cardio and an elevated glycemic state, this can lead to Type 2 diabetes which is often why people take Insulin along with growth hormone as a regulator.

In the long term, while abuse may come with muscle growth, you are at an added risk of more severe side effects. Enlarged organs become a serious risk as a result of organomegaly and cardiomegaly. Enlarged jaw, cheekbones, forehead and other internal organs become enlarged and your heart can seriously increase in size causing its own series of side effects. Thicker skin, enlarged nose, lips, and tongue, and potential tumor growth if predisposed are all other effects that may come from GH abuse.

Acne Prevention From Steroids

When taking steroids, many report increased acne which can cause pain but can also just be uncomfortable and hurt your confidence. Since acne effects everyone at different times and is very common, there are many ways to treat acne, some naturally and others may require a doctor. Acne is a result of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is an androgen metabolite of testosterone (3). DHT stimulates the production of oil that leads to clogged glands and pores and often times these are unable to release oil leading to inflammation. Steroids metabolize to estrogen in the body and then to DHT causing all of the above.

Anti-androgens are one way to treat this but they may block DHT and you may feel the effects of low sex drive and depression. Other creams or antibiotics, purified alcohol, or UV light can also help. Diet is a key natural way to reduce acne and eating clean goes a long way. Avoiding trans or saturated fat is big, but consuming unsaturated fatty acids like fish oil can be very beneficial. Sugar causes inflammation through Insulin so removing as much sugar from your diet as you can is also a big bonus (4).

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Conventional Steroids Vs. SARMs For Bodybuilding

While this may be a matter of opinion, Dr. Testosterone is a trusted voice when it comes to something like this topic. To start, selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) are a new kind of androgenic drug claiming to have more uses than your conventional steroids (5). The issue with many people is that this is still new and regulated like conventional steroids. Still with a gray area surrounding this treatment, many are suspicious without further evidence to back up claims that they have the same effects as anabolic steroids, but could be faked with other things that aren’t regulated.

For Dr. Testosterone, he feels comfortable with conventional steroids because they’ve been around for a very long time, amassing ample evidence as to their ability to work properly. Instead of going to the new kid on the block, we use pharmaceutical grade, legitimate steroids where we know of the side effects and proper dosages.

Wrap Up

Dr. Testosterone enlightened us with new and valuable information about growth hormones and the negative effects that come with too much. While trying to get to the next level is something we should all strive for, knowing how to safely and effectively do so is incredibly important. As someone who understands the science and the law behind these drugs, Dr. Testosterone is a great source of knowledge for all of us looking for that valuable information. Check out this GI Exclusive to learn more about growth hormone, the negative effects, and other aspects of health and safety to know when looking into something like this.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Goldberg, Linn; Rogol, Alan D.; Sonksen, Peter H. (2009). “Growth Hormone: Use and Abuse”. (source)
  2. Cohn, L.; Feller, A. G.; Draper, M. W.; Rudman, I. W.; Rudman, D. (1993). “Carpal tunnel syndrome and gynaecomastia during growth hormone treatment of elderly men with low circulating IGF-1 concentrations”. (source)
  3. Bergler-Czop, B. (2014). “The aetiopathogenesis of acne vulgaris- what’s new?”. (source)
  4. Masterson, Katrina Nice (2018). “Acne Basics”. (source)
  5. Negro-Vilar, Andres (1999). “Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs): A Novel Approach to Androgen Therapy for the New Millennium”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.