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Are Steroids Worth It? A Look Into the Risks of Using Anabolic Steroids for Bodybuilding

For a while, steroid use had once been the big open secret of the fitness community, where being found out about it could bring you serious judgment from those who prefer to take the natural approach.

Are Steroids Worth It

Nowadays, though, the general consensus is that as long as you’re not using them in professional competitions or lying to people about it, you’re free to do as you please. As steroid usage becomes more and more normalized in the world of fitness (and just influencers in general), people have begun to use them more often to achieve their dream bodies.

It’s understandable why people would want to use steroids. Sometimes they’re doing it for weight loss purposes, while others are trying hard to impress, but most want to just be able to enjoy how they feel in their own body. Many also don’t want to work tirelessly for years and micromanage their diet and routines for slight differences. Not to mention, many of the perfect bodies you may see in movies or online aren’t possible to achieve naturally, but there’s nothing wrong with taking performance enhancing drugs to achieve your ideal image.

However, the one thing you shouldn’t do is be convinced that something like steroids are completely safe. You have to remember that they’re illegal in the United States without a doctor’s prescription (something you will be hard-pressed to get for fitness purposes), and they’re illegal for a reason. These drugs can cause many unfortunate side effects, some small, and some major.

While you’re unlikely to receive major side effects from short-term use (such as trying it out for a year or so), long-term use can certainly do irreparable harm. Short-term can still cause harm as well, which shouldn’t be ignored, but is just less likely so long as you know what you’re doing. Not to mention, some steroids have higher risks than others, and have different side effects than others.

If you’re considering steroids, but you’re not sure what the risks are, then I’ve got you covered. I’ll go over the most common side effects of steroid abuse that we see from users, and you can use that information to decide for yourself if you feel comfortable using them for yourself or not. Keep in mind that I will always recommend trying out safe alternatives to anabolic steroids first.


Potentially Fatal Issues Caused by Anabolic Steroids

Liver damage from anabolic steroids - stages
Liver damage stages infographic diagram

We’ll start off with some of the more serious correlations that have appeared time and time again: steroids and a number of illnesses that can lead to death. How so? Well, there are a number of things to point to.

For one, there’s high blood pressure. Regular steroid usage can cause your blood pressure to skyrocket, which can damage the heart and your blood vessels over time.

Following on the heels of that, there’s the increased risk of developing heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks. In the same vein are the upped chances of having a stroke. Unlike some of the other symptoms you’ll find on this list, these aren’t as easily fixable.

There’s also liver damage, which can cause a yellowing of the skin (among more serious problems, like liver failure). You may have to be on medication to treat these, and they can easily shorten your lifespan. That, however, isn’t the worst of it.

Lastly, there’s the chance that you may develop certain cancers. While this isn’t very common, there is a genuine link to be found between steroids and developing particular types of cancer.

Whenever people ask me if steroids are worth the risks, I always decline to answer and instead point to these potentially fatal side effects, and I tell them to decide for themselves whether or not using steroids is worth it.


Sexual Health Issues From Steroid Abuse

Sexual Health Issues From Steroid Abuse

“Sexual health” is a bit of a vague term, but that’s because it applies to multiple things.

Whether or not you’re a man or a woman, you’re going to be facing the possibility of infertility through repeat steroid usage. That’s right, you can be risking any future of naturally having children if fate decides to throw the hammer your way, and it will not come back even after you stop taking steroids.

There’s also the problem with impotence for men. For many men in the  gym, being able to perform in bed is critical. However, that can become a problem through steroid abuse. By far one of the most common side effects you’ll see is erectile dysfunction, as well as a loss of libido. In other words, it targets your sex drive and causes you to not be able to get it up in general. There’s also the issue of shrunken testicles and pain when urinating.


Hair Loss

hair loss

If hair is important to you, then you might want to listen up, because baldness is an issue you might have to face through repeated steroid use. Too much of the stuff can cause you to start losing your hair in multiple places, not just your head.

If you’re a woman considering taking steroids, the same can happen to you, as well as the opposite. What do I mean by this? Well, I mean that women who abuse steroids can end up gaining some more masculine features. That means developing a deeper voice and gaining facial hair, both of which are permanent.


Mental Health Issues


Steroids can not only change your physical form, but it can also change you mentally, as well. I’m sure you’ve heard of “roid rage” before. Well, it’s a popular term for a reason. Steroids can cause massive mood swings and general shifts in temperament. Some may find that they’re feeling a boost in their mood while using steroids, while others might find themselves becoming more irritable or depressed.

It’s not just mood that’s being affected, though. There’s also been times where people have developed pretty severe delusions where they believe things that aren’t true. Others have been noted as having severe paranoia, where they feel as though they’re being lied to constantly, can’t trust people, or are just suffering from some severe anxiety.


Sleep Issues

Man with Sleep Issues

Using steroids can seriously mess up your sleep, especially if you’re someone who works out in the afternoon. If you take steroids, you might notice that you’ll have either problems staying awake or staying asleep. Indeed, too much or too little sleep can be a symptom of steroids, as well as some other sleep issues that you might be having.

You can, of course, just take either sleep aid or reduce your caffeine intake to help mitigate the damage, but that stuff isn’t always healthy for you, depending on what you take. Not to mention, no one wants to depend on those things, and we’d all much rather have a stable sleep schedule than have to have a sleep schedule in shambles.


Greater Chance of Injury

Workout Injury because of anabolic steroids

When you’re perfecting your body, the last thing you want to do is injure yourself while doing so. After all, if you get an injury in a certain part of your body, you can work out that area anymore unless you want to face some serious damage and pain.

That’s something that can happen during steroid usage. After all, your body is pushing itself to the max, even past what is naturally possible in some cases. Because of this, your body can end up injuring itself during one of your more intense workouts.


Miscellaneous Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids

Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids

Here are some side effects that I couldn’t really place somewhere else. Many of these are ones that you tend to experience after taking the steroids themselves. They go as follows:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Trembling
  • Aching joints
  • Urinary problems
  • Stunted final adult height
  • Gynecomastia, or the development of breasts

These aren’t as serious as the other problems listed, but are still enough for some to turn away, or might be an indicator that your body really isn’t reacting well to the steroids.


Takeaways and Safer Alternatives

Safer Alternatives to Steroids

So, in the end, whether or not you decide to try out steroids is up to you. Just make sure you know what you’re taking and that you understand the risks.

As for alternatives, here are the most popular steroids and their equivalent safe alternatives >>


We all deserve to be able to see ourselves in our dream bodies, but sometimes we’d just like to see the results sooner rather than years later, and some of the bodies we want may not be achievable without steroids.

However, using steroids to achieve these bodies, like all things, can come with risks. If you’re willing to take them, though, then by all means, go ahead. Just remember to stay safe and stay hydrated during your workouts.