Human Growth Hormone is not an anabolic steroid. It is not a steroid hormone of any particular type, and instead falls under the classification as a peptide/protein hormone. It is also not a sex-specific hormone, and so not only does this allow Human Growth Hormone side effects to be completely void of the side effects typical of all anabolic steroids, but this also allows Human Growth Hormone to be utilized in equal effectiveness for both males and females.
With this being said, female users will never ever experience any masculinizing androgenic virilization effects, due to as previously stated, Human Growth Hormone is not a sex hormone of any type. Under this same logic, male users will never experience Estrogenic side effects either. However, it has been found that Human Growth Hormone is an important mediator hormone (working with Estrogen) that is involved in the development of gynecomastia. Certain interactions such as these must be made note of, as it is of very important concern if an individual wishes to run anabolic steroids alongside Human Growth Hormone.
Although HGH side effects include almost none of the same side effects associated with anabolic steroids, Human Growth Hormone does possess various side effects of its own unique nature that must be covered.
Common Human Growth Hormone Side Effects
Joint pain: This is a common side effect experienced by many users, while an unknown number of users will not experience this side effect at all, though the majority of individuals do. This is due to two different mechanisms: 1. The growth of new tissue (in this case, connective tissue in the joints) will often result in pain, however this pain is not an indication of joint damage but instead a positive effect of growth and repair, and, 2. Fluid retention caused by Human Growth Hormone. The side effect of joint pain is often a Human Growth Hormone side effect that will appear in great intensities if high doses are administered suddenly. Often times this joint pain will subside within the first short while of Human Growth Hormone use, but can be either avoided or lessened by the slow introduction of dose. Of course, it stands to reason that excessive and very high doses will cause worse joint pain for individuals.
Carpal tunnel syndrome: A frequent HGH side effect, this is the direct result of fluid retention around the tendons, joints, and connective tissue. What occurs in this case is the water retention in surrounding tissues around the nerves will cause these tissues to press against nerves in various key spots (often around joints). What results is carpal tunnel syndrome, if temporary. Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by Human Growth Hormone administration is characterized by tingling or numbness in the extremities (hands and feet), especially when the user’s limbs are in folded positions for extended periods. In such a case, the extremities will often turn numb but feeling should slowly return after extending the limbs and moving them around, which is followed by tingling and then the return of feeling. Carpal tunnel syndrome is often a temporary side effect of Human Growth Hormone that tends to vanish following cessation of use. In the worst cases, nerve damage in the specific area is possible, which would result in long term or permanent loss of feeling. Once again, the severity of carpal tunnel syndrome worsens with higher doses.
Water retention: As mentioned many times already, water retention is a particular side effect of Human Growth Hormone that frequently diminishes after several weeks of use, although this side effect has been reported to remain throughout the full duration of use by some users. This side effect can increase the potential for blood pressure increases and increase the severity of carpal tunnel syndrome, as described above.
Gynecomastia: HGH side effects do include potential gynecomastia. As mentioned earlier, Human Growth Hormone is an important mediator hormone that works with Estrogen in the development of gynecomastia1. This is why individuals should be aware that the use of aromatizable anabolic steroids in combination with Human Growth Hormone will present increasing potential for the development of gynecomastia. Some users have experienced the development of gynecomastia even without the use of aromatizable anabolic steroids, although these are more rare cases in which the individual’s body is very sensitive to the effects of Human Growth Hormone even in the presence of low or normal Estrogen levels. Individuals can effectively combat this issue with the use of either an aromatase inhibitor (when running aromatizable anabolic steroids with Human Growth Hormone) or the use of a SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator) such as Nolvadex in order to block Estrogen from attaching to and activating receptor sites in breast tissue. This would negate the effect of Human Growth Hormone on gynecomastia development, as Estrogen is a key catalyst for the development of gynecomastia, which must be present in sufficient amounts alongside Human Growth Hormone to produce this side effect.
Acromegaly: This is a condition characterized by excessive bone growth in the body, most notable in the hands, feet, jaw (mandible), and forehead. Acromegaly is usually the result of excessive Human Growth Hormone levels in a human being (either from natural endogenous production or from use of exogenous sources). Gigantism is one such condition of acromegaly that is caused by excessive endogenous Human Growth Hormone production in the pituitary. What must be clarified concerning this side effect is the fact that there are 2 requirements for this condition to manifest itself: 1. Long-term use of Growth Hormone (years upon years of consistent use), and, 2. Excessive and/or very high doses of Human Growth Hormone, especially in long-term use. Intermittent cycles of Human Growth Hormone at sensible and moderate doses should not generate this effect in people. Even so, the enlarging of the hands, feet, and jaw do not occur over night and takes place over the course of years (hence why long term excessive abuse is necessary for this effect). An effect that requires such a long time to slowly manifest itself is also usually never noticeable unless an individual compares a picture of themselves to a previous one 7 or more years old, for example (during which time Human Growth Hormone was constantly utilized).
Hypoglycemia and diabetogenesis: If blood glucose levels are not properly monitored or if Human Growth Hormone use extends beyond a certain length at high doses, hypoglycemia and diabetes can often become a risk. Hypoglycemia can and does occur even at smaller doses and early on in Human Growth Hormone use, and although hypoglycemia is not a severe or life threatening side effect at all in the short term, long-term repetitive hypoglycemic episodes can lead to diabetes. Human Growth Hormone reduces insulin sensitivity in the body and raises blood glucose levels. This can also occur in those who did not previously possess any diabetic conditions.
Organ growth: As Growth Hormone heals, repairs, and grows almost every single cell and tissue type in the body; organ enlargement can become a possible issue as a result. Once again, as with the side effect of acromegaly, excessive doses of Human Growth Hormone must be used in addition to long-term use. The growth of organs is a slow process that takes place over the long-term use (and occurs quicker in the presence of high or excessive Growth Hormone doses). This GH side effect also often causes what is colloquially known as ‘GH belly’ or ‘HGH gut’ often seen in the top tier professional bodybuilders. In such cases, organ growth (in this case specifically the intestines) becomes large enough to start pressing outward against the abdomen, often giving the gut a distended look when un-flexed.
Other minor but more rare side effects of GH that varies among individuals also includes: flu-like symptoms, headaches, back pain, dizziness, nausea, and rhinitis (the inflammation of the mucous membranes in the nose and sinuses, often creating a ‘stuffy nose’ feeling). Often times these side effects are experienced very rarely, and if they are, they normally manifest during the first few days or weeks of use and quickly subside as the body becomes accustomed to the higher Human Growth Hormone levels being administered.