What Are the Negative Effects of Using Steroids to Build Muscle

Are steroids good for you?

Do steroids have a negative effect on your body?

If you are serious about training to compete or just want to look good in a sleeveless t-shirt, you may have been tempted to try out anabolic steroids to give you an edge. And why not? Steroids are known to help individuals increase muscle tissue, strength and power not to mention an increased production of red blood cells. The drugs also help decrease one’s body pat percentage, improve bone density, allow one to work harder in the gym and recover faster when leaving. What could go wrong?

Are All Steroids Bad?

The short answer is no. There are many medical reasons to use steroid drugs. Doctors will prescribe powerful steroids to help treat specific medical conditions. The duration of the drug use is short and the patients are closely monitored for safety. In the world of weightlifting and other pro sports, athletes are tempted to use anabolic steroids which are meant to mimic testosterone, a hormone that the body naturally creates on its own. For the most part, these drugs are illegal, can be unsafe if used incorrectly and it is doubtful that anyone is monitoring another person’s use.

“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,” says Doug Lawrenson, a former competitive bodybuilder. “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” (Muscle and Strength).

Here is what you may risk if you are using anabolic steroids:

Your Independence

You may be surprised to learn that most steroids are considered illegal in the United States if used for non-medical reasons. While the laws might vary depending on where you live, illegal possession of these drugs could find you in prison for up to a whole year. At minimum, a first offense will cost you about $1000 in fines.

Your Mental State

While most steroids are not considered to be physically addictive, the probability of continual use of them often leads the user to become mentally addictive to them. This sometimes occurs from the common psychological side effect of muscle dysmorphia where you can become obsessed with having a super muscular body that you will do whatever is needed to achieve the results you are looking for (Healthline).

Your Health

Since many anabolic steroids are created in illegal labs, there is no set protocol in order to keep the users safe. For the drugs that need to be injected into the skin, there is a risk of contamination and infection and these drugs are often mislabeled or contain counterfeit substances. Some side effects have even been known for creating some cancers. Read below for specific side effects that can occur when taking these drugs:

Roid Rage

Medical studies have found a connection to high testosterone levels and aggressive behavior often labeled as “roid rage,” but other bad things can happen to one’s brain while taking steroids as well including an increase in anxiety, sleep disruptions, feelings of paranoia, depression, mood swings and even changes in one’s personality – and not for the better.

Skin Disruptions

Those who take steroids often find themselves with puffy cheeks due to high levels of water retention. Women taking the drugs will often grow facial hair. Other changes to one’s skin can occur including red blotchy patches, greasy-looking skin, acne can break out on the face as well as the back, the texture of one’s skin can become rough and stretch marks can appear due to rapid muscle growth.

Turning a Blind Eye

People who take steroids for a long time can find that they can do some serious damage to their eyesight including infections or the creation of cataracts or glaucoma.

Bald Eagles

Both men and women will often find that their hair follicles will shrink and become very fine. “Male pattern baldness is common in both females and males due to the conversion of high levels of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone or DHT,” says Lawrenson. “Eventually with continued steroid use the hair follicle dies leading to permanent baldness.”

Broken Hearts

In addition to putting a strain on relationships, steroids can affect the human heart in serious ways too. Steroid use can cause heart disease from increases of high cholesterol levels and thickening of blood vessels which can lead to strokes. There is often a decrease in “good” cholesterol levels as well. One’s blood pressure is likely to rise and blood clots can form which can also disrupt blood flow to the heart or brain.

Stomachaches, Kidney Stones and Liver Problems

It is not uncommon for those taking steroids to experience sensations of a bloated stomach, nausea, and irritation of the stomach lining due to an increase in stomach acids, stomach mucus and bouts of vomiting.

Those taking oral steroids make their kidneys work overtime filtering the poisons caused by the blot clotting mentioned above. Kidney stones can develop from an increase in protein consumption and these stones can block the urinary track which will cause problems when urinating.

The liver’s job is to filter out all the bad stuff one takes including toxins from the blood as well as other duties, but these can come to a stop as steroids have been known to create liver damage and cancers. Other adverse reactions will cause a yellowing, jaundice look to one’s eyes and skin; another sign of liver damage.

Unwanted Body Changes

While the whole reason to take steroids is to see positive changes to one’s body, havoc can ensue instead. Steroids can cause breast development in men while decreasing the size of breasts in women. Men’s testes will shrink and decrease their normal function while the prostate gland will enlarge. Not surprisingly, the drugs can also cause impotence. Women will find a deepening of their voice, changes to their menstrual cycle and possible infertility.

While it is possible to achieve some positive benefits from using steroids, the negative effects far outweigh the positive. It just isn’t worth your health.


Muscle and Strength – https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/steroids-and-their-harmful-side-effects.html

Healthline – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/are-steroids-bad#dangers

Image Credits:

Bodybuilding Man and Woman [ID 134704243 © Davidfreigner | Dreamstime.com]

Stomach and Liver [ID 139791568 © Victor Moussa | Dreamstime.com]