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HCG Side Effects & Bodybuilding

author image Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell
Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell is a broadcast journalist who began writing professionally in 1980. Her writing focuses on parenting and health, and has appeared in “Spirituality & Health Magazine" and “Essential Wellness.” Hellesvig-Gaskell has worked with autistic children at the Fraser School in Minneapolis and as a child care assistant for toddlers and preschoolers at the International School of Minnesota, Eden Prairie.
HCG Side Effects & Bodybuilding
A man is training in a gym. Photo Credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone that is naturally produced during pregnancy. Some people use HCG for its touted body-building effects. According to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) of Australia, when taken from non-medical reasons, HCG is typically used in combination with anabolic-androgenic steroids to enhance body-building results.

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are synthetically created variants of the male sex hormone testosterone. There are a number of reported side effects associated with HCG and muscle building

Hormonal Effects

NDARC says the use of HCG for an extended period of time or in very high doses can inhibit the natural production of luteinizing hormone (LH) or desensitize the testicles to its effects. The NIH says LH is a hormone released by the pituitary gland that encourages the production of testosterone in men. In women, a rise in LH signals ovulation.


HCG may also result in an abnormal enlargement of breasts in men, a condition called gynaecomastia. According to NDARC, this happens because use of HCG encourages the body to convert testosterone to estrogen, a female hormone that supports the development and maintenance of female sexual characteristics. In an attempt to prevent gynaecomastia, some users of HCG often take it in combination with an estrogen blocker.

Prostate Hypertrophy

Some men who take HCG may experience prostate hypertrophy (an enlargement of the prostate). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says an enlarged prostate means the gland has grown bigger. It is not a malignancy, and does not increase your risk for prostate cancer.

Pregnancy & Multiple Births

Women who use HCG injections are more likely to become pregnant, according to I-Health says the use of HCG can also increase the likelihood of having a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc). A multiple pregnancy can place both mother and the fetuses at a high risk. HCG Diet advises that you talk to your doctor before using HCG f you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Miscellaneous Side Effects

Other possible adverse reactions in connection with HCG use for body building include acne, mood swings, irritability, restlessness, fatigue, hair loss, fluid retention and irritation in the area of use.

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