Aromatase inhibitors are used with some types of breast cancer to help suppress estrogen levels where cancer is related to the production of estrogen. However, that is not the only use for aromatase inhibitors because athletes can suffer an overabundance of estrogen as well.
Aromatase inhibitors have been part of the toolbox of almost every athlete using anabolic steroids for years. In some cases, aromatase inhibitors were taken as a prophylactic measure during a steroid cycle when it was relatively unnecessary.
Today’s athlete has a better grasp of biology and although aromatase inhibitors are, useful athletes are a lot more cautious about taking them as a prophylactic.
The metabolism is a wonderful thing and the human body works hard to maintain a balance between hormones and that includes testosterone and estrogen. On a cycle of anabolic steroids, testosterone levels are very high and consequently with certain aromatizable steroids they convert to estrogen in order to maintain a balance between the hormones.
A certain amount of estrogen is perfectly normal in males but when testosterone levels shoot up, estrogen levels also increase. This can result in some unpleasant side effects because after a cycle of anabolic steroids testosterone levels are depressed.
The most dreaded of all post steroid cycle problems is that of gynecomastia
Gynecomastia is a growth of breast tissue in males due to depressed testosterone output and an overabundance of estrogen.
During a steroid cycle although estrogen levels are high, testosterone levels are higher and because hormones are in balance few side effects are seen. However once the cycle is over then estrogen levels remain high while testosterone plummets. This effect may not be evident with very low doses of steroids but those used by athletes are rarely very low.
That meant that post steroid cycle therapy was in order and the most common treatment has been with aromatase inhibitors. The only other alternative was the non-aromatizing anabolic steroids that for the most part are slow acting and used as supporting steroids for muscle gain.
While there are many problems that might arise due to taking moderate to low doses of anabolic steroids by far the most common is gynecomastia and once breast tissue has grown, it takes surgery to remove it which will cost literally thousands of dollars.
Athletes onPost Steroid Cycle Therapy
Most athletes will plan on post steroid cycle therapy which includes a aromatase inhibitor for several weeks until testosterone levels are back to normal and estrogen levels are in normal balance as well.
Aromatase inhibitors are not to be taken lightly and label directions should be followed as suppressing too much estrogen can result in health complications.
Generally, post cycle therapy lasts from two to three weeks but medication directions should be followed very carefully. Trying to completely suppress estrogen is just as bad as having an excess. Normal estrogen levels may be maintained without attempting to totally eradicate estrogen.
Keeping everything in balance should be the goal of the athlete who chooses to use anabolic steroids and subsequently requires aromatase inhibitors.