Using Steroids – The Long-Term Side Effects

Steroid supplements belong to the synthetic compound class that replicates the effects of natural hormones of the body – for instance, testosterone. Steroids are of three major varieties: androgenic, anabolic and corticosteroids. Corticosteroids and androgenic steroids are usually used for treating a variety of medical problems. Anabolic steroids, which could be used for treating specific medical conditions, are steroids that often get abused by weightlifters and athletes. Not to mention, long-term anabolic steroid usage can cause multiple complications.

Lack of Growth

If steroids are abused or used as per prescription for an extended time period, some people could develop growth and development issues. Kids, in particular, are more likely to experience major growth issues, which could delay their puberty or influence physical development aspects such as height.

Weight Gain

People who indulge in long-term steroid use could gain weight. Steroids could influence water or salt levels retained by the body and result in the buildup of fat around the face, upper back or stomach. Steroids could also stimulate appetite, which may lead to overeating habits.

Behavioral Alterations

Illegal or legitimate steroid usage could cause several behavioral changes in some people. Major mood swings that may include periods of irritability, depression, aggression or hostility could severely affect the workplace and social relationships of individuals using steroids.


In some people, steroids could cause recurring levels of high blood sugar circulating throughout the body. Such inflated blood sugar levels cause diabetes in most people. Diabetes refers to a medical condition wherein the body is unable to regulate its blood sugar levels effectively.

Heart and Liver Damage

Long-term steroid side effects could include heart or liver damage in some people. Women and men using steroids have increased chances of getting a heart attack, liver cancer and high cholesterol level issues. Some people who use steroids could also develop jaundice or high blood pressure.

Reproductive and Sexual Disorders

Steroid usage could lead to several reproductive and sexual disorders in both genders. Men could experience long-term negative influences such as diminished sperm count, decreased sex drive, prostate and breast enlargement, decreased sterility or hormone levels. Women could undergo infertility or irregular menstrual cycles. Some females may even develop man-like traits such as an irreversible deepened voice or facial hair.

Let us talk more about the side effects for women.

For women, doctors typically prescribe steroids to cure specific medical problems, such as wasting diseases and delayed puberty. The following are the common side effects experienced by women using steroids.

Infertility and Menstrual Abnormalities

Testosterone is produced by both the female and male human body. In women, testosterone gets collected in the ovaries, in addition to other reproductive system tissues. As steroids mimic testosterone effects, using steroids could cause hormonal shifts. Consequentially, women could experience menstrual problems. They may have infrequent and/or fewer periods, heavier or lighter menstrual flow, strange premenstrual symptoms, or erratic periods. If a women doesn’t menstruate anymore, it could indicate infertility. This condition is called amenhorrea. Infertility is another likely steroid side effect.

Masculine Effects

The word “androgenic” means changes that males go through during puberty. Thanks to steroids’ androgenic traits, women could experience issues that are much like the symptoms men undergo during their pubescent years. The side effects include increased facial or body hair and a masculine voice. Steroid use could also lead to unusual clitoris development and hair loss. Women may notice their breasts decreasing in size and the change in voice could be forever.

Emotional Impact

Steroids also play with a woman’s emotions. The side effects on the emotional front include mania, mood swings, depression, a fake feeling of invincibility, irritability, hostility and anxiousness. Though steroids’ emotional side effects could affect both men and women, women are likely to experience worsened moods before and during menstruation. Women with past mental illness issues, such as anxiety or depression, could risk relapses or an increased need for psychological care. Some women may develop the steroid habit, which may cause increased emotional issues during and post steroid use.

Physical Impact

Besides menstrual changes, steroids could cause serious acne, bloating or water retention, sexual disorders, liver disorders, and bad cholesterol levels. Steroids-caused high cholesterol could lead to cardiovascular problems. Also, administering steroids during pregnancy could hinder healthy fetal growth.