This article breaks the steroid side effects down, explaining how steroids affect different body parts. Thinking about taking steroids? Read this first.

The term steroids normally are associated with reference to a class of drugs that are used to treat a variety of medical conditions. Steroids have several uses for medical purposes, such as maintaining sexual characteristics in males following surgery for removal of testes following testicular cancer, in adolescent males suffering with malfunction of the pituitary gland, and following surgery and cancer that involves loss of muscle tissue. These drugs are also used for supporting reproduction, regulation of the metabolism and immune functions. Also used for increasing muscle mass, bone mass, inflammation and other medical conditions.

Anabolic Steroids (AAS)

“Anabolic means use of something that causes a building up of tissue. The term anabolism refers more generally to an increase in lean tissue in particular muscle tissue”.

Anabolic steroids or more precisely anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are a class of synthetic drugs that are designed to mimic the effects of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is derived in the body from cholesterol, and like other steroid hormones, testosterone has its main effect on tissues. Testosterone enters a body cell and attaches to a receptor which crosses into the cell nucleus where it activates the synthesis of protein. Protein synthesis leads to tissue repair and growth. If we are able to increase protein synthesis it would lead to quicker regeneration of the body, and to give faster recovery from illness and injuries.

A steroid used in the treatment of medical conditions usually involves the use of only one type of steroid and medical patients are closely monitored and the doses used are approximately that which would be produced naturally by the human body. In the case of steroid use in sports, people tend to take mega dosages sometimes 10-100 times the dosage that would be administered for some medical conditions and often involving more than one type at a time. Most steroid users, and especially novice users, get their dosage instructions from the seller or from friends who take the drugs, more often without any questions as to the drugs effects, or correct dosages. Many steroids available on the black market are even of dubious quality and often only contain small amounts of the drug. Some of these drugs have even been reported to contain only water and a dye, or contain only normal peanut oil.

Side Effects of Steroids Use

The side effects that steroids have on the body are many and can cause some serious side effects including cancers, but many sports users chose to ignore any information on side effects, even to the point of using the excuse of “its only the drugs abuse that causes side effects” but any drug that alters the homeostasis of the body will have an effect.

Looking at the body in more detail we can look at how steroids can affect each different part of the body:


Studies have shown a pattern between high testosterone levels and aggressive behaviour, which is often seen as the users involved in violent acts. Often steroids have been used as an excuse for a person’s aggressive behaviour. High dose users have also been affected with psychotic syndromes and a high level of anxiety. Other effects that appear are, sleep disturbances, feelings of euphoria, high levels of paranoia, various stages of depression, with some users suffering extreme mood swings, and also changes in their personality. A large number of users become dependant on steroid use which then can lead to addiction.


Steroid use results in high levels of water retention (oedema) leading to the user becoming “round faced” with puffy cheeks. In females reports have shown the effect of a growth of facial hair quite common, bad breath is quite a common effect as is the voice of females becoming husky by a deepening of the voice. Steroids also commonly affect the skin of the face and body by causing acne.


Long term use of steroids can actually damage the eyes, resulting in eye infections, cataracts or glaucoma.


Male pattern baldness is common in both females and males due to the conversion of high levels of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone or DHT, causing the hair follicles to shrink, which only then produces very fine hair. Eventually with continued steroid use the hair follicle dies leading to permanent baldness.


This section the steroid user should be most concerned about, but normally choose to ignore until a serious cardiovascular event happens. Steroid use causes heart disease and becomes evident due to high increases in total cholesterol levels, causing a build up of cholesterol on the walls of the blood vessels which can also lead to strokes. Also shown is a decrease in the levels of the good cholesterol (HDL) and increase in the bad cholesterol (LDL). Blood pressure is known to increase and blood clots in blood vessels disrupting the blood flow causing damage to the heart muscle leading to heart attacks.


Normal signs of problems to the stomach from steroid use include feelings of being bloated, a feeling of being nauseous leading to bouts of vomiting with blood sometimes being evident in the vomit caused by irritation to the stomach lining and increased stomach acids with a lower level of stomach mucus.


The kidneys are important for the elimination of waste material from the blood and the regulation of salt and water levels. Another important function of the kidneys is the regulation of blood pressure; high blood pressure damages the blood vessels and filtering system of the kidneys. The occurrence of kidney problems occurs mostly with the use of oral steroids with a suppression of blood clotting factors leading to increased blood clotting time following cuts or injury. The kidneys have to work harder with oral steroid use due to increase requirements to filter the blood. Steroid users also normally resort to ultra high protein intake, sometime far in excess of normal intake involved with weight training which can lead to kidney stones. Kidney stones can block the opening of the urinary tract leading to problems with urinary excretion. High blood pressure can also cause problems to the kidneys by damaging the blood vessels by causing thickening and narrowed blood vessels leading to a reduced blood supply and filtration.


The liver, the largest organ of the body is used to filter harmful toxins from the blood and for storage of certain nutrients like vitamins/minerals. It is also important for the managing levels of chemicals such as proteins, cholesterol and sugars. The liver is also used for the production of bile to aid in the digestion of food. Steroid use has been shown to cause irreversible liver damage and cancers. Oral steroids are difficult for the liver to metabolise leading to a decrease in the ability of the liver to clear waste products. Some counterfeit steroids have been known to carry all kinds of bacteria and virus leading to adverse liver function. Hepatocellular jaundice which is evident by a yellowing of the skin and eyes, can be caused by an abnormal liver function as the liver cannot effectively filter the blood.


Breast development (Gynocomastia) from steroid use is a very common and an often seen side effect of long term steroid cycles or high dose steroid use, causes a formation of breast tissue which begins as visible lumps under the nipples that normally requires surgical intervention. The breasts of female steroid users can actually shrink in size.


Use of steroids by teenagers and males in their early twenties who have not yet ceased growing can impair bone growth leading to being shorter in height in adulthood due to premature closure of epiphyseal growth plates. Bone pain can also be a side effect of steroid use.

Muscle and Tendons:

The use of steroids can make a person feel stronger than they actually are, resulting in trying to lift heavier weights than their body is actually capable of, which can lead to muscle tears. The muscle can get stronger more rapidly than the strength of the tendons then a greater possibility of tendon rupture is likely to occur.


Steroid use can have an effect on the user’s skin by affecting the skin pores and causing roughness in the skin texture. Other skin conditions that are often seen are red blotchy, greasy skin with acne on the face and back. Stretch marks can also appear due to rapid growth of muscle or a thinning of the skin. As mentioned above steroids affect the liver and a side effect is jaundice, this becomes evident by a yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Impaired immune system:

An impaired immune function can occur with steroid use with problems occurring after cessation and effects becoming more visible.


This means the appearance of being bloated and is caused by an accumulation of fluid which is mostly seen as swollen ankles and fingers.

Prostrate gland:

The prostrate gland is specific to males and located just below the bladder, its main functions are the production of prostatic fluid, a component of seminal fluid and are also for maintaining sperm activity. Steroids are known to cause an enlargement of the prostrate gland, and as the prostrate gland encircles the urethra any swelling of the prostrate can cause interference in the urine flow. Males should be made aware that any changes in the prostrate gland can also affect sexual activity. Other effects that can happen are abnormal sperm and a decreased sperm count.

Blood Poisoning:

Many steroid users are often frightened to go to a needle exchange to obtain a supply of sterile needles in case they are labelled addicts, often resulting in the use of, or sharing of non sterile needles, which can cause blood poisoning with a higher risk of infection and infectious diseases. The user’s injection site can also become swollen and tender and can lead to abscesses which can then lead to the requirement of painful medical intervention.


Taking steroids will cause the testes to decrease its normal function. When stopping the testosterone supplementation it takes a while for the pituitary gland to signal the testes to once again begin manufacturing testosterone. In long term or high dose testosterone use the testes can actually cease production or can actually atrophy which can lead to a long delay in the testes beginning manufacturing testosterone naturally. Impotence occurs after the steroids cessation, and long term drug use causes lack of erections.

Females and Steroid Use

Many more females are now using anabolic steroids to improve performance, increase muscle size and or increase strength for performance, but as with males there are side effects to the female body, Many of the side effects are identical to those of males, but other side effects can be the growth of facial hair, male pattern baldness, deepening of the voice, breast size reduction, infertility. Other effects include menstrual cycle changes, infertility and possible clitoral enlargement.

From the side effects listed above we can see that steroid use suppresses the production of normal bodily hormones. The body will attempt to adjust its own level of hormones, but disrupting or increasing the body’s natural hormones will cause disruptive changes to the users own physical and mental environment. Having been in the fitness industry and the world of bodybuilding for many years I have heard all the excuses that people use to justify their use of anabolic steroids some quite hilarious. I have also seen people; and this includes friends, experience the drugs side effects. Some more serious than others but serious health problems have in the end become evident. My advice to anyone who is taking or even contemplating taking these drugs either for appearance, ego or as an easy option to hard training is to stay well away from them. They will affect you in some way, some minor effects with short term use, but more serious side effects with high dose long term use.

  1. Drugs in Sport. Second edition. David R Mottram.
  2. Principles and Practice of Resistance Training. M. H. Stone. M Stone. W A Sands
Posted on: Sat, 10/06/2018 - 22:08

hi im on antidepressants from driving axiety from a previous car trauma, will these sterioids make it worse or no?

Posted on: Mon, 01/16/2017 - 20:36

It is not the Prostrate Gland. It is the Prostate Gland. Whoever wrote this is not familiar with anatomy.

Posted on: Mon, 12/19/2016 - 17:08

I believe you meant,"Prostate" as in the male gland...not,"Prostrate" with an r, meaning to lie face down.

Posted on: Tue, 02/09/2016 - 19:30

Every athlete pictured and advertising workouts is on steroids, hypocrisy

Posted on: Wed, 04/27/2016 - 18:53

no they don't

Posted on: Thu, 06/23/2016 - 23:58

is the same thing I was thinking, I was like " so probably there's nothing wrong with their products" hahaha hypocrites

Posted on: Mon, 10/31/2016 - 11:46

The same crossed my mind, Sites like this use pictures of guys on roids to promote the supps market, and after that come with articles like this?! And the article it self could be a lot better and written on a more scientific approach.

Posted on: Mon, 11/30/2015 - 10:41

shut up, steroids are amazeballs

Bruce Lee
Posted on: Mon, 12/15/2014 - 14:40

Sometimes I forget where im at. And then bane comes out

Posted on: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 22:17

No detail whatsoever just a list of things that a lot of people are aware about.

Posted on: Sun, 09/28/2014 - 03:02

We belong to sikh religion. My cousin brother was suffering from severe headache. Whenever he ties turban, his head starts aching before all this started happening, He was a gym freak. He wants to be hulk,and brought tin of protien powder. I doubt that it was mixed with steroids. Actually there is a vein before sideburns which swelled in his case and the same ached. I just wanted to know whether this is due to that powder or its something else.

Posted on: Wed, 04/26/2017 - 05:18

Hi, Sam.
This is the year 2017 and I'm just reading this!
Hope your cousin is fine now.
As regards the symptoms you mentioned, they weren't too clearly described, but I have in mind a condition called Arteritis.
Pain over the artery in the temporal region of the head.
Trust he has seen his doctor. Do tell if you don't mind, what was the final outcome?

Posted on: Thu, 09/18/2014 - 17:10

I need information for my homework

Leah Young
Posted on: Mon, 12/14/2015 - 08:43

same fam

Siaan Rosado
Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 21:27

Me too

Posted on: Sat, 07/12/2014 - 04:27

sir i have an acne problem on my chest and back so what can i do for this pls tell me

Posted on: Sat, 03/29/2014 - 21:06

I hate steroids it not good for the body, I known cause it have hurt me

Posted on: Tue, 03/04/2014 - 22:16

AAS just like any drug, prescribed or otherwise, can have various effects on each person individually. Yes all of these side effects and more are POSSIBLE, but that doesn't mean they will happen. Which means the people who commented that the guy who wrote this is ignorant are wrong, and the people who said that they hoped it wasn't too late for their kid are wrong. The fact is is that you can see any commercial for any drug on television these days and the side effects are in the hundreds, usually ending in death, and this only applies to a limited number of people. The only truly ignorant statement about AAS would be the myth of roid rage. There was one guy who commented who seemed to have a lot of experience, and I agreed with him on this point. Roid Rage is a myth. However, if you take AAS then happy people are not necessarily happy people, sad sad, angry angry, etc etc. AAS are hormones. If it is not closely regulated you are going to have mood swings, and emotions that you wouldn't normally feel. Just like a woman on her period, pregnancy or menopause (what do you think those are anyway?) when a man OR a woman messes with their hormones, especially with something synthetic, it is going to affect your body and mind. Also, I agree with whoever wrote about doctors not knowing what they are doing. “Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing.” Voltaire

Posted on: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:14

Im not sure who wrote this article but they did it with extreme prejudice and lack of current knowledge. If you do your homework on usage and consult with a doctor( who may advice against it ) combine that with proper eating and lifting/ cardio regiment then you can reach desired results. Keep in mind everyone is different and theres aways bumps in the road but with proper guidance it could be a positive experience. Plus I wouldn't put much faith in an article that wasn't proof read lol...Prostrate? Never heard of it lol

Posted on: Wed, 01/22/2014 - 16:54

I have strong feelings my son who is 25yrs old .. is using .. his moods and respect levels have changed. I'm researching to see if the visible signs are close to what i'm seeing . I did find 3 vials of anavar and needles with alcohol preps .. and he does have acne and mood swings .. not sure how to approach him with this .. But as a MOM i can't sit back and let it continue ! any advise ??

Posted on: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:25

They make you big and strong grrrr

Posted on: Fri, 11/08/2013 - 15:20

steroids suck

Posted on: Sun, 08/18/2013 - 04:43

First of all this article doesn't include any resources and doesn't give complete information. For example only oral steroids causes stomach. Or only certain type of steroids causes kidney problems. When you say "steroids" You are speaking about up ro 20-30 different kind of drugs which acts totally different. Even when aboused steroids doesn't cause more harm than alcohol or smoking. As there are bad examples there are same amounts of good examples. If you use them with getting your blood work done and with getting your liver and kidneys checked your doctor will say before you get any problem. You get problems from steroids as you use them with ignoring the signs such as high collestrol. And i say; I get your concerns about steroids you don't want people to get hurt their selves but lying to them is far more worse in my opinion you cut the good side of it and give only the bad side. And i find you guilty for that...

Posted on: Mon, 12/26/2016 - 20:05


Posted on: Wed, 07/10/2013 - 19:50

Cant believe how many of you morons think this is fact, there is no evidence showing steroids cause heart, kidney or any other organ disease, there is no evidence showing they cause cancer and if they were so 'dangerous' the whole professional bodybuilding world would be dead. Alsothe mild side effects such as gyno and testicular atrophy are highly avoidable with the right knowledge, do some research before believing articles like this

Posted on: Tue, 08/13/2013 - 23:29

Do some reasearch before contradicting articles such as these. There is infact evidence to show that these effects occur to OVERUSE of the drug.

Posted on: Mon, 10/31/2016 - 11:39

I don't know if you are trying to convince ypurself, but you are playing the fool, you know...

Pius Buchukundi
Posted on: Mon, 06/17/2013 - 13:39

what is the management for the patient with steroids side effects, especially with round face?

Posted on: Tue, 05/28/2013 - 16:42


Posted on: Thu, 05/23/2013 - 05:39


Posted on: Thu, 11/16/2017 - 10:17

It's very cool how steroids can be used for many things such as medical reasons.

Posted on: Wed, 05/22/2013 - 23:03

As a high school student I was a gold medal winner in track and field, a star ball player - soft ball, basketball, volleyball; however I had very irregular menses - 3 mons, 5 months, hence the following 'experimental remedies' by two top gynecologists in the Kingston Medical School.
At age 21, I was injected intramuscularily with steroids to 'jump-start- menstruations. Resultsd - after 6 months I had surgery that found a cyst the size of a grapefruit on my rt ovary and several smal cysts on left ovary with an infintile uterus. -
The next TOP gynecolgist put me on costasteroids; left me there for 8 months on the 'most pure form - prednisone. I have had 2 nervous breakdowns;
At age 75 I have been left with aching, flabby muscles - legs, arms, upper back, instep of feet; I am an Herbalist and am attempting to keep my knees! my DC says the pain in my left hip is ALL MUSCLE RELATED. X-rays have confirmed no real damage in the hip itself.
AS an Experiment with steroids, I would say I was a failure!!

Posted on: Tue, 05/07/2013 - 12:41

your nuts if you want to do steroids.

Graham Wilmore
Posted on: Fri, 04/26/2013 - 06:28

So you advertise steroids but offer no purchasing system? Where do I go? I wanna shop online!

jake the bake
Posted on: Tue, 04/23/2013 - 11:57

shut it all you gays

Posted on: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 07:36

I know all this crap already. It says so all over the place!! I know WHAT steroids affect, but HOW? How do steroids affect the human body?

Megan Longdon
Posted on: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 11:24

I love steroids soo much, i think im in love everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Poopie Maquire
Posted on: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 21:00

My pet child eats fish bones all the time! How about yours?

Posted on: Sat, 02/23/2013 - 04:37

I have been on 80 mlg of prednisone for almost two years and yes to Ct...these side effects do happen and are real. I have gained sixty pounds even not being able to eat as much as I normally would have due to extreme muscle weakness in jaw and swallloing issues due to myasthenia Travis. My face is as round as a beach ball plus other symptoms related....very hard to deal with esp when the family wants to take family PHOTOS:( I hats it but always remind myself that after three months in the hospital ICU...I am happy to be alive and my looks shudder not be the priority.

Posted on: Wed, 06/19/2013 - 21:09

Prednisone isn't an anabolic steroid, and none of your symptoms are those of an AAS. Yeah, prednisone can make you fat and weak if you sit on your butt, but if you control your diet and get plenty of low resistance excersise you can lead a normal life.

Robin Christopher
Posted on: Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:28

Dear reader,
I read all above. I've few comments as I think that Anabolic Steroid, at least at present, isn't that harmful as it was in the past. With due respect, I wish to address the writer of "Steroids And Their Harmful Side Effects" above whom I think wrote this article basing on 'diagnosis' of steroid' about 15-20 years' ago. I took steroid, under the strictest guidance of medical expert/s who continued (1) monitor my blood and other internal body parts through MRI etc and (2) strictly restricted overdose and idiotic mix-ups of the drug. Furthermore, he always used needles so that liver isn't effected. Yes, I strongly would like to comment on the writer's comments on the effect of anabolic steroid on brain, face, eyes, hair, kidney, liver and and most importantly impotence! I cannot figure out as to how and why he wrote that 'Impotence' may/will occur! Libido during taking of steroid gets so strong and high that I knew of a friend of mine (a steroid-taker) who after few times sleeping with his wife as she couldn't take any more (for the day), he used to go to the brothel! And in relation to aftermath of steroid-taking, libido remains stronger than normal and in my case, as I took 'em more than a decade ago and quit after 1 & half year, I still enjoy very strong sex and believe it or not (its upto you), I go (an example, not that I do or permitted to do by my partner) 3 hours continuously and my partner had 7 times orgasms and I had 3 times within this 3 year's period! But I didn't stop there, I checked up everything with the help of my doctor, everything found to be normal, blood, image everything!
Yes of course, I've concern about heart as understandably, blood-cholesterol goes up fast while taking steroid. In this case, I think along with other vitamins, supplements etc., a taker must take medication like Lipitor upto 80 mg., and there is no side-effect or harm in taking Lipitor.
Re: brain, face, eyes, hair, kidney, liver etc., I would strongly comment that if you take steroid through monitoring by a sports' physician, you may be completely safe. AS for myself, though now I crossed 60, I've no organ is effected, eys are fine and the incredible thing is that my hair never lost a single hair and not a single hair went grey to date!
Can Arnold Swartznigger not be an example? When people talk over him, only one comment comes out of them "its all about money". Then prove that money kept this 68 years' old man so beautiful, handsome, strong and muscular! I need proof, if you cannot prove, then better forget the above article (not totally though as there is of course some side-effect like in all other drugs, I only say that these side-effects can be controlled in this new millennium unlike the time when I used to see that in gym-changerooms, the steriod-takers used to sniff the drug, put the powddered steroid under the tongue and what not (specially without being monitored)! No wonder why they would get sick.

Posted on: Mon, 10/31/2016 - 11:44

Arnold looked like a freaking whale a couple of years ago, so... don't get what you mean there. And as for your Knowledge in the whole, as soon as I read "there is no side-effect or harm in taking Lipitor", I understood that you don't know nothing about health science. I only agree that the article is very poor...

Dimi G
Posted on: Thu, 02/21/2013 - 01:23

I copied basically all of the information for my pd assignment from this site lol! so helpful hope my teacher doesnt find out XD

Posted on: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 11:08


Posted on: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 11:08


Megan Longdon
Posted on: Fri, 02/08/2013 - 05:28

i LOVE steroids!

Carmel Kalani
Posted on: Fri, 02/08/2013 - 05:14

OMG that person with the acne is me... the doctor promised not to give out my picture :0

Megan Longdon
Posted on: Fri, 02/08/2013 - 05:13

I love how we can use steroids enhance our performance, It allows me to get in touch with my feminine side!!!!

Joshua Allen Purdy
Posted on: Mon, 02/04/2013 - 10:35

This information is awesome. its goes non-stop. i only need a one page report. lmfap

Gary Goubeau
Posted on: Sun, 02/03/2013 - 21:54

Liked the discussion, but it's the "prostate", not "prostrate" which is what you are when are lying down. It's the prostate gland that get in the way of urination. Older men know this.

I don't like nitpicking, but such things tend to compromise your credibility, and we wouldn't want the good information to be doubted.