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Steroid Side Effects

Updated: 27 August 2017

What are Steroids?

Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones that were made initially to treat many different medical problems. These days anabolic steroids are used by many athletes and bodybuilders. Mainly to increase their athletic performance, increase their strength and help them build more muscle.

How are they Administered?

Steroids can be administered in many different ways, with the most common being orally or by way of injection into the muscle tissue. While taking steroids orally may be more convenient, oral steroids cause more damage to the liver than injectables do. This side effect is due to oral steroids having a chemically modified structure to allow them to pass through the liver without being destroyed by it.

steroid side effects

Side Effects

There are many dangerous side effects related to anabolic steroid usage. Steroid usage can lead to heart attacks, liver damage, tumours and even HIV (if sharing a needle with someone).

Breast Development (Gynecomastia)

Gynecomastia is caused by an increase in either estrogen or progesterone. For Steroids that aromatise (convert to estrogen) such as Dianabol, Testosterone etc. A SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator) such as Nolvadex can be used to bind to the estrogen receptors, which will help reduce the risk of gynecomastia. An aromatase inhibitor such as Letrozole can also be used to help prevent breast growth. Letrozole works by stopping the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. For steroids that cause gynecomastia by increasing progesterone in the body, the drugs mentioned above will not help much. A product such as Cabergoline will be needed.


While on a steroid cycle it is quite common to be temporarily infertile, not everyone has this side effect, so be sure to take the right precautions when engaging in sexual activities, even while on a cycle if you don’t want to have a baby. Although not common, becoming permanently infertile does happen to some who use steroids, especially after prolonged usage and not doing a proper PCT after a cycle.

Baldness (MPB)

Male pattern baldness (MPB) generally only affects people who have it in their genes, if your father and grandfather (your fathers, father) have full heads of hair, chances are you won’t suffer from MPB. For those who do have MPB in their genes, using anabolic steroids generally speeds this process up.

Shrinking of Testicles

When using steroids, your body stops producing Testosterone, and this causes the testicles to shrink. Taking higher dosages and doing longer cycles will increase the amount of shrinkage in your testicles. Shrinking of the testicles is a temporary side effect, once your cycle is over, you have completed your PCT, and your body is making testosterone again, your testicles should go back to their original size.

High Blood Pressure

A common side effect of steroid usage, often caused by water retention. Taking an AI usually helps with this. Be sure to monitor blood pressure regularly when on a cycle. If your blood pressure goes up and you cant get it back down, its best to stop your cycle.


Steroids can increase LDL (bad cholesterol) and decrease HDL (good cholesterol). Especially steroids that harsh on blood lipids such as Trenbolone, Dianabol, Winstrol and Anadrol to name a few.

Oily Skin and Acne

Acne is a side effect many people suffer from when using steroids, while some people never have this problem, there are others who get terrible acne. Steroids increase sebaceous gland activity, which causes oily skin, this causes pores to get clogged which leads to acne. Showering or bathing multiple times a day to keep the skin clean can help keep acne under control.

Water Retention

Mainly caused by steroids that aromatise heavily. Using an AI will help reduce water retention and using a natural diuretic such as dandelion root may also help. If you want to avoid this side effect entirely, it is best to stay away from steroids such as Dianabol, Anadrol, testosterone and Deca.

Stunted Growth

People who are not yet done growing can have their growth stunted from using certain anabolic steroids. Not all steroids stunt growth, in fact, some steroids have been used to increase the growth rate of people.


An increase in aggressive behaviour (roid rage) is often associated with steroid use. Roid rage is often called a myth, most people who use steroids do not get more aggressive. People often say if you are naturally an aggressive person, then using steroids will increase the aggression. Many people seem to use roid rage as an excuse to act like a complete idiot when using steroids.


Jaundice can be caused by using oral steroids at high dosages and for long periods of time. Most oral steroids are chemically altered so that they can survive their pass through the liver and enter the bloodstream. This alteration causes a lot of strain on the liver, especially when large doses are taken.