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 look at the anabolic steroids side affects you should know about if you plan to use these compounds.
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 if 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 the healthy ranges, you will be at a high risk of heart disease.
· Liver Toxicity
Your liver can be damaged with the use of steroids. In some cases, you can also develop tumors or a rare condition known as peliosis hepatis, where blood-filled cysts form in your liver.
· Blood Pressure
Steroid misuse can result in high blood pressure, where your heart’s ventricles function abnormally. You could also develop cardiovascular diseases such as artery damage, strokes, and heart attacks.
· Fluid Retention
The effects of anabolic steroid use vary from person to person. For example, some people may suffer from fluid retention, also referred to as edema or water retention.
· Acne & Hair Loss
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 and pain at the injection sites.
· 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.
· Cardiovascular Side Effects
Anabolic steroid use can result in the development of cardiovascular side effects such as; increasing your body’s level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and lowering your body’s level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Low HDL levels and high LDL levels increase the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty particles are deposited inside your arteries and interfere with normal blood flow.
Once blood is hindered from reaching your brain or heart, you are likely to develop a heart attack or stroke, respectively.
· Androgenic Side Effects
Anabolic misuse in males is known to cause the inhibition of FSH and LH production, leading to 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 Steroids 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 Steroids 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).
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
Estrogen 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).
Anabolic Steroid Induced Gynecomastia
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.
What Is Prolactin?
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.
Role & Effects of Prolactin in Men, & Prolactin Side Effects:
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 & 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, Elimination, & Prevention 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?
Common steroid side effects tend to be moderate and last for a few days to a few weeks.
Are anabolic steroids safe?
Only when prescribed by a medical professional. If taken for personal use, anabolic steroids pose several physical, hormonal, and psychological risks.
What happens when you stop taking anabolic gear?
In most cases, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as loss of appetite, mood swings and 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?
Many studies suggest that excessive use of anabolic steroids increases aggression and irritability.
Now that you understand these Steroids Side Effects, it is crucial to point out that anabolic steroids are class C medication. They should only be taken if you have a prescription because personal, un-prescribed by a medical professional use is illegal in many countries and jurisdictions.
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.