Both injectable and oral steroids can bring about undesirable side effects, some of which can be irreversible. Whilst sensible and moderate use of steroids by educated users is not likely to induce the verity of side effects talked about in the media, it would be ignorant to think steroids are safe.
Introducing any foreign substance into your body can potentially have profound effects, both positive and negative in the eyes of the user. Below is a list of common side effects which may be experienced by steroid users. This list is not inclusive, and there are many other side effects which could be experienced.
Sebaceous glands beneath the surface of the skin secrete sebum, the oil which helps the skin retain its suppleness. Over productive sebaceous glands will produce excessive oil which results in oily looking skin and an increased chance of blocked pores, which can lead to acne. Testosterone is believed to heighten the activity of the sebaceous glands, hence why many teenagers experience oily skin and acne, as do steroid users.
Moderate acne may be tolerated by some, but excessive acne can impact a person’s self-esteem, especially if a steroid user is administrating steroids to try to improve their own aesthetics and is image conscious. Acne can leave red markings on the skin, and in some cases leave scarring.
Oestrogen related side effects are possible from steroid use, and therefore users will commonly opt to keep anti-aromatase and anti-oestrogen drugs on hand in case any undesirable side effects are experienced. A user should also be aware of this condition post steroid cycle, as the natural production of hormones is being restored. Gynecomastia, or breast formation, is a side effect which is associated with many steroids. The condition typically begins with the user experiencing itchy nipples, and then the nipples can become puffy or lumpy. If left untreated the condition can worsen and result in notable breast formation which can only be corrected with surgery.
Some oral steroids, such as Dianabol (an extremely popular oral steroid produced by many underground labs), are hepatotoxic and potentially harmful to the liver. Such oral steroids are 17 alpha-alkylated, which increases the steroids bioactivity, but as a result can be harmful to the liver for those people who have pre-existing liver conditions, consume other drugs which stress the liver, drink alcohol, or follow a course of the steroid which is long in duration or is high in dosage.
Some supplements can be taken which may help the liver, such as Milk Thistle, Liv-52 and ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid), but these are by no means miracle supplements.
Androgenic steroids, such as testosterone and Dianabol, can increase the rate of baldness in males. Those particularly prone may opt for another steroid, or decide against steroid use completely. Finasteride (Proscar) may help which reduces the conversion of testosterone to DHT.