Steroid Information

Side-Effects of Steroid Use

The side-effects of steroid use, more times than not this is the forefront of discussion when it comes to anabolic steroids. Before we go any further, let’s be clear on two very fundamental truths. Yes, without question, the side-effects of steroid use are real, but at the same time, the side-effects of steroid use are often blown way out of proportion. If you don’t really know anything about anabolic steroids but already have an opinion, you probably read that last part and became angry. After all, we have been told for years to hate anabolic steroids, we haven’t simply been told to stay away from them but to detest them as substances borne out of the pits of hell. If that’s your opinion, even though you know very little about anabolic steroids you might as well stop reading, because when your opinion is born out of emotion there’s usually very little hope for you.

Steroids vs. Everything Else

When discussing the side-effects of steroid use the discussion often implies adverse side-effects are absolutely guaranteed. Further, it is often implied that they will always be of a horrific nature with very little you can do about them. Again, there are side-effects, this is true, but to imply they are absolute is not only irresponsible it further shows how uneducated most are; even the supposed “experts.” The truth is something rather different; all things in life carry side-effects, for our purposes here we are only concerned with things we put into our body. Anabolic steroids carry side-effects, but so do all medications of all types, steroidal and non-steroidal; this includes all over the counter medications you may use. Of course, you feel safe taking many of these medications, why, because you’ve been told to feel safe. Take a look at Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s), many of which you might have in your medicine cabinet. NSAID painkillers include Ibuprofen, Aspirin and Naproxen Sodium; you most commonly know them as Advil, Motrin, Bayer and Aleve. Have you ever looked at the side-effects associated with these over the counter medications? If not you’re in for a real treat. Let’s look at Aspirin, just Aspirin:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Angioedema
  • Bloody Stools
  • Bone marrow toxicity
  • Bronchospasm
  • Bruising
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Duodenal Ulcers
  • Gastrointestinal Bleeding
  • Gastrointestinal Irritation
  • Hearing Loss
  • Heartburn
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Ringing Ears
  • Severe Stomach Pain
  • Swollen Mouth, Face, Lips or Tongue
  • Tightness in Chest
  • Tinnitis
  • Vomiting

As you can see, those are some pretty serious side-effects, and there is one we left off that is more serious than all. NSAID medications, including Aspirin lead to more than 15,000 deaths per year. Of course, the question now is how this compares to anabolic steroids; the following is a list of possible side-effects of steroid use:

  • Acne
  • Anxiety
  • Clitoral Enlargement (Females)
  • Deepening of the Vocal Chords (Females)
  • Disrupted Menstrual Cycle (Females)
  • Excess Body Hair Growth (Females)
  • Excess Water Retention
  • Gynecomastia
  • Hair-Loss
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High LDL Cholesterol
  • Insomnia
  • Liver Toxicity
  • Low HDL Cholesterol
  • Night Sweats
  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Testicular Atrophy

These are the side-effects of steroid use, and of the effects, each one is reversible and in most cases completely avoidable. Of the possible side-effects of steroid use, only one is unconditionally guaranteed; men who supplement with anabolic steroids will experience testicular atrophy. This occurs due to anabolic steroids suppressing natural testosterone production. For this reason, most will include exogenous testosterone in their plan, but more importantly, once all anabolic steroid use has been discontinued and the hormones clear your system, natural testosterone production will begin again, and your testicles will return to their normal size.

Of course, the next question is can you die due to anabolic steroid use? We’ve used NSAID painkillers as our means of comparison, and we have learned NSAID painkillers claim the lives of more than 15,000 people per year. What about anabolic steroids? Since synthetic anabolic androgenic steroids came into existence nearly 100 years ago, there has yet to be a single recorded death directly linked to anabolic steroid use. This does not mean it’s impossible to abuse anabolic steroids, of course it is, you can abuse anything. It also does not mean there are not serious risks we are unaware of, there is still much to learn regarding the side-effects of steroid use, but so far they have an excellent track record.

Responsible Use

To avoid the side-effects of steroid use, the best thing you can do is to supplement responsibly. There is an important factor you must be aware of, the higher the dose often the greater the reward, but the higher the dose the greater the potential for adverse side-effects. It is a tradeoff, and there is a fine line to be walked. Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all answer regarding dosing. We are all unique individuals, and we will all carry our own genetic response to the hormones. Some will be able to supplement with a certain steroid at a very high dose and be problem free, while others may have problems with the same steroid at an even lower dose. It is impossible to predict where you’ll fall, but again, there are other things to consider.

Beyond being responsible with our doses, we must mention our original state of health. Healthy adult men will respond in a positive fashion far more so than men with existing health problems. For example, men who have high blood pressure or cholesterol should not supplement, as supplementation may seriously exasperate the problem. Further, when we supplement, ensuring we live a healthy lifestyle will do more for us than anything else. Living a lifestyle that promotes a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol, and one that is also liver friendly will substantially protect you from the side-effects of steroid use.

Last but not least, to protect from the side-effects of steroid use there are other items we may supplement with to provide protection. Such items include Aromatase Inhibitors and Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators. Such items will protect against many of the adverse reactions. Are they always necessary, absolutely not, again, individual genetic response and total dosing will determine a lot, but these items are quite useful.

The truth is absolute, healthy adult men can supplement with great results when responsible use is at hand, but what about women and children? Women are far more susceptible to the side-effects of steroid use than men, but they can supplement safely. While men have a vast array of products to choose from, women will necessarily have a much smaller list. Further, women will need to keep their dosing levels extremely low and keep an eye on virilization. If virilization symptoms begin to show the woman should discontinue use immediately and if she wishes to supplement again begin with lower doses, and perhaps other steroids. As for children, adolescents should not supplement with anabolic steroids, period. The high influx of hormones is more than their body can take, and can greatly stunt their growth and lead to developmental complications.