You may have heard about, or even seen the horrific side effects of anabolic steroids.
For many, these stories can sometimes be enough to steer you away from steroids completely. Anabolic steroids are human-made, synthetic variations of testosterone – the male sex hormone. In this article, we’ll look at the anabolic steroids side effects you should know about, if you plan on using them.
Max’s Note: The article you are about to read, is based on my own personal experience, it does NOT promote any illegal use of anabolic steroids (Performance Enhancing Drugs).
Common Side Effects of Steroid Use:
When anabolic steroids are misused, they can cause many side effects ranging from mild and harmful, to life-threatening or even fatal. Most of these effects are reversible when you stop using the steroid, but others are semi-permanent or permanent. These common side effects include:
Steroid misuse can reduce lower HDL (good) cholesterol and increase LDL (bad) cholesterol. When your HDL and LDL levels are below or higher than the healthy ranges, this sometimes can cause issues for certain people.
· Liver Toxicity
Your liver can be damaged with the use of steroids. This is much more common with the oral (tablet) versions of steroids.
· Blood Pressure
Steroid misuse can result in high blood pressure, where your heart’s ventricles function abnormally. This is mostly seen with steroids that increase water retention.
· Fluid Retention
The effects of anabolic steroid use vary from person to person. For example, some people may experience more fluid retention, also referred to as ”edema” or water retention. This of course, is of a far less serious nature than the others here, but nevertheless results in an undesirable look.
· Hair Loss & Ance
Certain people who use steroids, can develop acne, cysts, oily skin and hair loss on the head. On the other hand, people who inject steroids can suffer from abscess formation. Hair loss, depending on the compound, can also be common. Bear in mind hair loss is almost always a result of someone who is genetically pre-disposed to it.
Certain steroids can simply accelerate the process.
· Erectile Dysfunction
The misuse of anabolic steroids can interfere with your body’s capacity to produce testosterone. This can result in testicle shrinkage, low libido, and erectile dysfunction.
· Testosterone Suppression
Excess steroid use can alter your body’s normal production of hormones. These changes can lead to decreased testes function (hypogonadism) that causes low testosterone levels and decreased sperm production.
· Androgenic Side Effects
Anabolic misuse in males is known to cause the inhibition of FSH and LH production, leading to a low endogenous testosterone release. Moreover, excess doses of these drugs can cause mild to severe feminizing effects like gynecomastia.
In women, the male secondary sexual characteristics such as: deepening of the voice, skeletal changes, clitoral growth, growth of facial hair, and pharyngeal enlargement are the common side effects.
· Hepatotoxicity Side Effects
A high, chronic dosage of steroids can trigger various hepatotoxicity side effects. These include an acute cholestatic syndrome (bland cholestasis), transient serum enzyme elevation, hepatitis tumors, and peliosis hepatis (severe vascular injury to the liver).
Max’s Note: For a real, NO-BS info-packed guide on cycling steroids, then grab your digital E-Book copy of ”Straight From The Underground” by John Doe Bodybuilding. This is my #1 recommended underground handbook on EVERYTHING related to steroids. Everything in this book is based on real first-hand experience as opposed to theory.
Male-Specific Steroid Side Effects:
Generally, the side effects of hormonal imbalances caused by misusing steroids have the opposite effect on women and men. The regular abuse of anabolic steroids can result in potentially chronic medical complications, as well as psychological and physical changes. Below are some of the side effects of anabolic steroids in men:
- Stomach pain
- Severe acne
- Breast development
- Increased risk of prostate cancer
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced sperm count
- Hair loss
- Shrunken testicles
Female-Specific Steroid Side Effects:
In women, the most evident side effects of anabolic steroid misuse involve a decrease in feminine aspects and the appearance of male characteristics due to an increase in testosterone levels. When it comes to fetal health and fertility, women are at a much higher risk compared to their male counterparts.
The following are some of the effects of using steroids in females:
- Decreased breast size
- Enlarged clitoris
- Deepening of the voice
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
- Facial changes such as hair growth
What Is Estrogen?
Estrogen is the sex hormone that regulates the female reproductive system and is responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics. It appears in three forms: estrone, estradiol, and estriol.
Estrogen & Anabolic Steroid Use
There are several side effects involved in using anabolic steroids for bodybuilding, including hormonal imbalance and increased estrogen levels. In males, higher estrogen levels can trigger the enlargement of their breast glands (gynecomastia).
what are Normal Estrogen Levels?
While estrogen is usually identified with women and testosterone with men, both hormones are found in both men and women, albeit at different levels. Mayo Medical Laboratories describe the following as the normal estrogen levels. The first figure represents estrone and the second estradiol in pg/ml.
· Prepubescent: Undetectable–29, Undetectable–20
· Pubescent: 10–200, Undetectable–350
· Premenopausal adult: 17–200, 15–350
· Postmenopausal adult: 7–40,
Estradiol levels in premenopausal women and girls will change during the menstrual cycle.
· Prepubescent: Undetectable–16, Undetectable–13
· Pubescent: Undetectable–60, Undetectable–40
· Adult: 10–60, 10–40
Estrogenic Side Effects:
Increased levels of estrogen tend to develop naturally, though certain medications can also influence higher levels of estrogen. As a result, your body may naturally develop low progesterone or low testosterone levels, which can result in hormonal imbalance. Below are some of the common estrogen-related side effects:
Gynecomastia is a condition whereby a male’s breast tissue is enlarged or overdeveloped. The breasts usually grow unevenly. Gynecomastia is often triggered by an imbalance in the male hormone (testosterone) and the female hormone (estrogen).
· Water Retention
Several studies have suggested that progesterone and estrogen can affect your body’s fluid levels and later result in increased body water weight. Generally, the increased water weight decreases once your monthly period begins.
Estradiol Valerate, and Estradiol Cypionate are the common forms of estrogen injection that are used to treat vaginal dryness, burning and itching sensation in women experiencing menopause, or hot flushes. Additionally, these estrogen injections can be used to treat young women with low estrogen production.
Anti-Estrogens, also referred to as estrogen blockers or estrogen antagonists, are a category of drugs that act by inhibiting the estrogen receptor (ER). They prevent estrogens like estradiol from triggering their biological effects in your body.
Gynecomastia, a noncancerous condition, can be associated with hormonal changes. Gynecomastia is typically caused by imbalances in the male hormone (testosterone) and the female hormone (estrogen).
Gynecomastia resulting from anabolic steroids:
Unfortunately, using certain steroids such as Dianabol and Anadrol can trigger gynecomastia. This medication is usually converted into estrogen in the body resulting in hormonal imbalances and, subsequently, triggering the enlargement of breast tissue.
Diagnosis, Prevention, & Treatment of Gynecomastia:
There are a number of ways to diagnose gynecomastia. They include:
- A low dose X-ray of the breast (mammogram)
- Urine tests
- A biopsy, a small breast tissue sample may be extracted and examined for cancer cells.
- Blood tests, including hormone studies and liver function tests.
In some cases, choosing a healthy lifestyle can prove to be effective enough to prevent gynecomastia. Some of the recommended lifestyle guidelines include:
- Avoiding illegal substances such as amphetamines, marijuana, androgens, and methamphetamine.
- Avoiding medications that contain high estrogen levels.
- Avoid the excessive consumption of alcohol as it increases the risk of liver cirrhosis.
It is advisable to prevent self-medicating as it can lead to gynecomastia. If a medical condition is causing breast enlargement, the disease will have to be treated through hormone therapy. Surgery may be needed for severe cases.
Prolactin: what is it?
Prolactin is a natural hormone produced by your pituitary gland. It influences the growth of breasts and the development of milk for breastfeeding. Naturally, both women and men have tiny amounts of prolactin in their blood. It affects sperm production in men.
Prolactin Side Effects, & the Role & Effects of Prolactin in Men:
In women, excess amounts of prolactin in the blood result in a condition known as hyperprolactinemia. In men, increased prolactin levels can cause reduced sex desire, impotence, infertility and agalactorrhea. The following are symptoms of high prolactin levels in men:
- Abnormal loss of body hair
- Low sex drive
- Breast enlargement
- Erectile dysfunction
- Nipple discharge
Prolactin and Anabolic Steroids:
Generally, prolactin secretion is regulated by hypothalamic inhibiting and other factors. Estradiol, a gonadal steroid hormone, is the most potent stimulator in increasing blood prolactin levels.
Control, Prevention, & elimination of Prolactin:
In addition to the use of bromocriptine to help control excess levels of prolactin, there are other steps to lower your high prolactin levels, such as:
- Taking vitamin E and vitamin B-6 supplements
- Avoiding intensive activities or workouts
- Keeping your stress levels down and changing to a healthier diet
- Staying away from clothing and activities that overstimulate your nipple
FAQ’s Related to Steroids Side Effects:
How long do steroid side effects last?
This is all dependent on the steroid compound itself, as each of them have different chemical properties. Each has its own half-life, and impacts the body differently. Side effects can range from a few days, to as long as a few weeks.
The anabolic to androgenic ratio of a steroid, can offer insight into its impact on the body. Some steroids have a very high anabolic to androgenic ration (ex. Trenbolone is 500/500) whereas others have a much lower ratio (ex. Equipoise is 100/50).
Are anabolic steroids safe?
More so when prescribed by a medical professional. If taken for personal use, anabolic steroids can potentially pose physical, hormonal, and psychological risks.
You must really know what you’re doing if you’re going to take steroids without a doctor’s supervision.
What happens if you stop taking anabolic gear?
In most cases, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as: loss of appetite, mood swings and an overall craving for more steroids.
will steroids affect you sexually?
Using the steroid Prednisone can result in low serum testosterone, which causes low sex drive and erectile dysfunction.
Do steroids shorten your life?
According to an Internal Medicine study, men using testosterone have a higher chance of experiencing early death and numerous hospital admissions.
will steroids change your personality?
Yes, excessive use of anabolic steroids can increase aggression and irritability. This usually only becomes a problem when A) they are used in excess (too high a dose, or for too long a duration) or B) the person already has anger issues, and/or a short fuse.
Now that you understand these Steroids Side Effects, it is crucial to point out that anabolic steroids are class C medication. They (legally) are prescription-only compounds, and personal, un-prescribed use is illegal in many countries and jurisdictions.
If you wish to use them outside of the parameters, you’ll have to find them on black market in underground labs.
If you enjoyed this article and you’d like a more real, NO-BS info-packed guide on cycling steroids, then grab your digital E-Book copy of ”Straight From The Underground” by John Doe Bodybuilding. This is my #1 recommended underground handbook on EVERYTHING related to steroids. Everything in this book is based on first-hand experience instead of theory.