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Anabolic Steroid Side Effects That You Should Know


Anabolic Steroids are the kind of hormones that are synthetic and consumed through the course of the bodybuilding journey. The believers of anabolic steroids claim that it helps them enhance their muscle growth and prepare muscular tissues.

The main thing they miss while using anabolic steroids is severe side effects. Its regular usage may cause several harmful side effects. This could also affect overall body function through misuse while consuming it for bodybuilding purposes.

Listed below are some side effects that may affect body functions during consumption.

Anabolic steroids side effects

Anabolic Steroid Side Effects

Short Term Effects

  • Hairfall

    Several anabolic steroids could affect your hair growth. They may also trigger and enhance the levels of an androgen called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

    Further, it could lead to thinning of your hair follicles. This may cause heavy hair loss in your body. Along[1] with this, it could also obstruct your overall hair growth cycle.

    As a result, it may cause balding and you could also experience difficulty in hair regrowth. High DHT levels may affect your appearance by receding the hairline.

  • Acne

    Anabolic steroid consumption while muscle building may cause[2] acne. Some of the anabolic steroids such as Sustanon could lead to affect your skin and cause acne.

    Acne caused by consuming anabolic steroids is called Steroid acne. This may affect your[3] skin by causing red bumps, blackheads, nodules, etc.

    Through the course of your anabolic steroid consumption and high levels of testosterone may cause acne outbreaks. It could take a few months for acne to wither away.

  • Diarrhea

    Through the course of the consumption of anabolic steroids, it may affect your[4] gastrointestinal tract. Further, it could cause irritable bowel syndrome.

    This may lead to excessive water loss from your body. Resulting in less amount of energy and could affect the body’s functions through the course of its consumption.

Long Term Effects

  • Kidney

    Through anabolic steroids, you may require enhanced filtration from kidneys that could further help in elevated muscle mass quantity.

    The regular consumption of anabolic steroids may cause kidney dysfunction. This could also affect[5] the filtration process and may cause severe stress on the kidneys.

    Along with this, it could increase your blood pressure levels. As a result, you may experience severe kidney damage with an additional burden.

  • Liver

    The consumption of anabolic steroids may cause issues in liver, a risk that could happen from the high levels[6] of toxicity in the gastrointestinal tract.

    This may further affect the enzyme levels in your liver causing hepatoxicity. It could further cause internal injuries[7] and may lead to peliosis hepatis.

    As a result, you could experience abdominal pain due to the tumors occurring in the liver. It may also affect your overall bodybuilding journey.

  • Cancer Issues

    The regular consumption and misuse of anabolic steroids. This may affect your hormone system and could cause severe cancers such as testicular cancer.

    Further, it may also affect insulin growth. This could lead to a glucose spike. As a result, cancer cells may enhance and affect the overall body function.

Anabolic Steroid Side Effects In Men

  • Reduced Sperm Count
    The regular consumption of anabolic steroids may affect your lower abdomen by reducing the testicle size. It could[8] lead to a reduction in sperm production.

    The misuse and consuming anabolic steroids for a long time may cause impotence. This could lead to a reduction in sperm count.

  • Erectile Dysfunction
    Regular consumption and misuse of anabolic steroids may affect the erection process in males. Further, it could lead[9] to Erectile dysfunction.

    As a result, you may experience shrinking testicles, and a drastic decrease in your sperm count and sperm production. As a result, this could affect your overall sex drive.

  • Breast Development
    The consumption of anabolic steroids, in males, may turn fat cells into estrogen. This could further lead to enhancing estrogen levels. As a result, you may experience the development of breast tissues.

    This could let grow your breast gland tissues and is called Gynecomastia. It may affect your hormonal balance between estrogen and testosterone levels.

    Here is the study[10] review on the same.

  • Infertility
    It may affect your fertility as well. Its long-term abuse may as well make you infertile. In addition, anabolic steroids could affect the hormonal signals that may be helpful for sperm production.

    This could also lead to blocking the passage for the delivery of the sperm. Therefore, it may result in a reduction in sperm function[8] and could also affect your sexual drive.

    Further, it may affect your lifestyle choices throughout its consumption while following a muscle-building regimen.

    As a result, if you have been consuming Anabolic steroids for a long time and never knew about their side effects, it would be better that you undergo a male fertility test.

Anabolic Steroid Side Effects In Women

  • Hair Growth
    The issue consumption of anabolic steroids may affect hormonal balances in females by affecting oestrogen levels. This could result in unwanted hair growth throughout your body.

    Further, it may also affect your appearance[11] through the course of its consumption while you are following a muscle-building regimen.

  • Problem With Periods

    Females regularly consuming anabolic steroids may affect the menstrual cycle. This could derange[12] the maturity and release of eggs from ovaries.

    It could further cause difficulty in conceiving. Further, this may affect your mental stability and could cause mood swings, stress, depression, etc. Along with this, it may act as a toll on your overall body function.

  • Increased Sex Drive

    The regular consumption of anabolic steroids through the bodybuilding regimen may enhance the sex drive in females. It could trigger masculinity in the female body function.

    As a result, this could enhance unwanted hair growth on the face and a reduction in breast size may affect tissue development. Further, this could impact your mental health through the course of its consumption.

  • Swelling Of The Clitoris
    The regular consumption and misuse of anabolic steroids may affect the lower abdomen[13] in females. This could lead to irreversible enlargement of the clitoris.

    Further, it may affect your mental stability throughout your bodybuilding journey. This could also irritate you with unnecessary itching. As a result, you may experience drastic changes in your lifestyle.

    It may also enhance the cytokine storm[14] in the lower abdomen which may trigger a powerful effect on female sexual desire and arousal central nervous system.


As I conclude here, you may be aware of the side effects that could affect your overall body function by consuming anabolic steroids through the course of their consumption during your muscle-building journey.

Always consult a medical professional while considering anabolic steroids as your health support substance. This could help you in avoiding misuse through your bodybuilding regimen.

As a result, you may keep yourself away from severely harmful effects that could affect your body function from the consumption of anabolic steroids.

13+ Sources/References

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Jay R. Hoffman and Nicholas A. Ratamess. Medical Issues Associated with Anabolic Steroid Use: Are They Exaggerated?. J Sports Sci Med. 2006 Jun; 5(2): 182–193. Published online 2006 Jun 1.
  2. Bodo Melnik, Thomas Jansen, Stephan Grabbe. Abuse of anabolic-androgenic steroids and bodybuilding acne: an underestimated health problem. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2007 Feb;5(2):110-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1610-0387.2007.06176.x.
  3. Sarah Purdy and David de Berker. Acne. BMJ. 2006 Nov 4; 333(7575): 949–953. doi: 10.1136/bmj.38987.606701.80.
  4. Ryan Modlinski and Karl B Fields. The effect of anabolic steroids on the gastrointestinal system, kidneys, and adrenal glands. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2006 Apr;5(2):104-9. doi: 10.1097/01.csmr.0000306529.74500.f6.
  5. Dorna Davani-Davari, Iman Karimzadeh, and Hossein Khalili. The potential effects of anabolic-androgenic steroids and growth hormone as commonly used sport supplements on the kidney: a systematic review. BMC Nephrol. 2019; 20: 198. Published online 2019 May 31. doi: 10.1186/s12882-019-1384-0
  6. Mark W Niedfeldt. Anabolic Steroid Effect on the Liver. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2018 Mar;17(3):97-102. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000467.
  7. Bethesda. LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548931/
  8. Rabih El Osta, Thierry Almont, Catherine Diligent, et al. Anabolic steroids abuse and male infertility. Basic Clin Androl. 2016; 26: 2. Published online 2016 Feb 6. doi: 10.1186/s12610-016-0029-4
  9. Joseph Matthew Armstrong, Ross A. Avant, Cameron M. Charchenko, et al. Impact of anabolic androgenic steroids on sexual function. Transl Androl Urol. 2018 Jun; 7(3): 483–489. doi: 10.21037/tau.2018.04.23
  10. D A de Luis, R Aller, L A Cuéllar, et al. Anabolic steroids and gynecomastia. Review of the literature. An Med Interna. 2001 Sep;18(9):489-91.
  11. A Tosi, C Misciali, B M Piraccini, et al. Drug-induced hair loss and hair growth. Incidence, management and avoidance. Drug Saf. 1994 Apr;10(4):310-7. doi: 10.2165/00002018-199410040-00005.
  12. O H Bolch Jr, J C Warren. Induction of premature menstruation with anabolic steroids. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1973 Sep 1;117(1):121-5. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(73)90738-2.
  13. Annica Börjesson, Nina Gårevik, Marja-Liisa Dahl, et al. Recruitment to doping and help-seeking behavior of eight female AAS users. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2016; 11: 11. Published online 2016 Mar 5. doi: 10.1186/s13011-016-0056-3
  14. Tierney K. Lorenz. Interactions between inflammation and female sexual desire and arousal function. Curr Sex Health Rep. 2019 Dec; 11(4): 287–299. Published online 2019 Oct 28. doi: 10.1007/s11930-019-00218-7

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