There is still an ongoing debate as to whether female bodybuilders and athletes should use steroids. This is because the use of steroids by women tend to give them a more masculine appearance that many are contesting its use by females. Though there are plenty of issues surrounding steroid use by women, there are still plenty of users in both men and women athletes and bodybuilders. That said, let’s take a look at steroid use in females and find out which ones are best for them.
Introducing Anabolic Steroids
Anabolism is a process that our body undergoes wherein smaller units like cells, amino acids, or even nutrients are bound together to build a bigger structure. A good example of this is when your body is in the process of healing a cut. What happens here is that the body produces layers of tissue and structures where the cut has been made to heal it. Anabolism also plays a part in a child’s growth as well as your muscle growth too.
That said, Anabolic Steroids are compounds that are designed to support muscle growth which is one of the reasons why they are commonly used by athletes as well as bodybuilders. The more muscle mass that they build, the better their performance will be in their respective areas. Though steroid use is not uncommon in physically demanding industries, not everyone is talking about women using steroids because of how it can make them look more masculine, not to mention the potential side effects that can crop up.
To understand what anabolic steroids are designed for, we need to discuss how the natural anabolic hormones inside of us work. Medical experts often refer to them as endogenous androgens that are typically found in males. These hormones are the ones that aid in the sexual development in males which usually occur during adolescence. Basically, the physical changes in male teens, such as having more muscles, appearance of facial hair, and even other signs means that the endogenous androgens are working. Examples of this natural hormone are estradiol, testosterone, and dihydrotestosterone.
So, what is anabolic steroid then? This is a man-made hormone designed to replicate the function of endogenous androgens like testosterone. Using it for bodybuilding or for sports is usually illegal but it can be used in medical situations like low hormone levels.
Those who have taken anabolic steroids have reported the following:
- Bigger muscle mass
- Relief from joint pain
- More appetite
- Intense training levels
If you are considering taking anabolic steroids to enhance your performance in sports, keep in mind that medication falls under the DEA class III type of drug. This means that it is illegal to be used unless it is for medical purposes. There have been several athletes who were caught using steroids that caused them to be disqualified from a tournament. Worse, it can also lead to being indicted for the use of illegal drugs.
Female Athletes Caught Using Steroids
The sports industry has its fair share of athletes who were caught injecting themselves or taking steroids orally. Since women athletes are fewer compared to that of male athletes, there are those who assume that women don’t use steroids at all. But this is not the case.
You might be surprised to find that there are reports that around 30% of athletes, both in college and professionals, have been using this medication to boost their performance. In fact, the number is higher in the bodybuilding industry where around 80% are using performance enhancement drugs in the United States alone. The numbers include both genders which means that women are also into using steroids.
That said, let us take a look at sports history with regards to steroid use. Here are a few examples of female athletes who were caught using anabolic steroids in their profession:
The tennis sensation, Maria Sharapova, was on a meteoric rise in her career after winning four Grand Slams. However, she tested positive for a banned substance which she had been using for a decade. The substance was included in the banned list of substances by the International Tennis Federation as well as World Anti-Doping Agency.
Sharapova was disqualified from the joining competition and was banned for a year. Though her case was the least controversial, discovering that an athlete has been using a banned substance had a ripple effect in the tennis industry.
Marion Jones brought fame to the United States for bringing home the Olympic Gold for track and field three times. But she was also involved in one of the biggest steroid scandals in the country.
The athlete was called numerous times in a court case against BALCO. It was alleged that BALCO was supplying performance enhancement drugs to athletes. Jones denied all the allegations of her steroid use since she has been passing her drug test since she started her career back in 2004. However, her tests were always under suspicion. The athlete eventually pleaded guilty to using steroids which ended her career.
Carina Damm is a popular MMA fighter but her name appeared in the list of fighters who have been taking hormone replacement as well as testosterone therapies. She was found taking the steroid, Nandrolone, which led to her being banned from the ring for a year.
Hope Solo was a goalkeeper who won two gold medals during her career. However, she failed her urine test after testing positive for steroids and other performance enhancement drugs. She was not banned from the competition since she was able to prove that she was taking them because of her medical condition.
Cris Justino is yet another MMA fighter who was caught using steroids back in 2011 along with Cristina Damm. The athlete was banned for a year and was fined $2,500. She tested positive yet again in 2017 but this time the ban was lifted because the medication she was taking was for a medical condition.
Steroid Benefits in Women
Steroid use by female bodybuilders does have some positive effects on them, but these won’t last that long. What’s more, there is also the risk of medical complications down the road. Here’s what you can expect when you use steroids.
Improved Muscle Size
Based on a research that was conducted in 2007, there was a significant increase in muscle size as well as performance on those who are using steroids. The research was designed to study the effects of the testosterone enanthate on the subject. The findings showed that the body mass of those who were taking steroids were higher including their performance in different strength training workouts.
Additionally, the results of the study showed those who were taking steroids showed better performance in doing bench presses as well as cycling compared to those who were not taking any performance enhancement drugs. This means that it is true that steroids do play a part in increasing one’s muscle mass.
Athletes do use steroids to speed up their recovery process. There are performance enhancement drugs, that are not specifically related to building muscle mass, that can assist in faster healing. Studies on the effects of man-made testosterone prove that this medication does play a part in muscle recovery.
Enhance Body Mass/ Performance
It is not unusual for athletes to want to gain the upper hand in a competition. This is why there are those who are taking steroids to help increase their body mass since it can help boost their performance. A study that was conducted in 2009 showed that those who were taking steroids were able to perform better and faster when doing any tasks that require strength. The results of the study also show that there is a link between steroid use and increase in muscle size and body mass.
There are studies that show that those who take anabolic androgenic steroids have weight gains between 4.5 to 11 pounds and strength gains that range from 5 to 20% which is due to the creation of lean body mass in the user.
Side Effects of Steroids to Watch Out For
Since men already have anabolic steroids in their system, women are more prone to experience severe side effects when taking this medication. This includes the same adverse effects that male users go through as well.
For women, however, the results can be overwhelming. There is the issue of looking more masculine compared to before because of the elevated levels of testosterone. Another potential risk is the possibility of experiencing long term medical problems that can lead to a fatal outcome.
Women who are taking steroids should be aware of the physical as well as psychological effects which are stated below:
Physiological Side Effects
- Reduced breast size
- Enlargement of the clitoris
- Male pattern baldness
- Deeper voice
- Changing menstrual cycle
- Fluctuating libido
Aside from these physiological side effects, women are also prone to exhibiting signs of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Cushing’s Syndrome, and Adrenal Gland Dysfunction.
Psychological Side Effects
- Aggression and violent tendencies
- Dependence on steroids
- Abuse of PEDs
- Depression and mania
- Suicidal thoughts
- Body dysmorphic problems
Which Steroids are Best for Women?
Now that you are aware of the risks involved in taking steroids, but you are still interested in using one, you need to choose the best product for your current condition. The good news is that there are several steroids out there that can work in your favor, but take note that the risk will still be in place.
The steroids that are found below are among those that are commonly used by female athletes because they have not experienced significant side effects on their psychological and physiological health. Here you will read about the suggested dosage, as well as the pros and cons of using them.
Anavar has been referred to as the girl steroid by users because of its positive effects on female users. Those who have been taking this medication will not suffer from virilization. However, the risks will be higher to those who use it for long periods of time. The ideal dosage for this product in women is one that lets you increase your intake per cycle. The recommended dosage is listed below:
- 2.5 mg for the first two weeks
- 5 mg for weeks 3 and 4
- 10mg at the 5th week
- 15 mg on the 6th week
- 5 mg for the 7th week
- 2.5 mg for the 8th week
Anavar is actually a good choice if you are planning on shedding some weight. Other benefits include:
- One of the best brands that support weight loss in women.
- Enhances endurance so you will be able to train more and longer.
- Boosts your strength so that you will be able to perform better.
- Libido levels go up and down.
- Triggers high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Vomiting and nausea
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Oily skin
- Mood changes
- Risk of irreversible male pattern balding
This steroid has the mildest effect on the lot. You can get it in injectable or oral form. It has also been found to be effective in reducing fat because it binds to the androgen receptors well thus triggering fat loss. The recommended dosage for this medication is 50 to 100 mg a week with 5 to 10 mg of steroids taken daily.
- Supports muscle mass retention
- Ideal for cutting cycles and for losing weight
- Easy to tolerate in women
- Triggers acne
- It can increase the possibility of aggression and violence
- Hair loss
- Masculine traits are enhanced
- Variation in menstrual cycle
The ideal dosage for those who are taking Winstrol is only 10 mg each day. For those who can tolerate higher doses can go up to 20 mg especially when you are doing physically taxing training. There are some instances when this medication is stacked with Anavar to achieve the best possible effects. However, this steroid is not much recommended for use by women because of the high risk of virility. But when taken in small doses, it can have a positive effect on its users.
- Does not cause water retention and swelling compared to others.
- Boosts speed, agility, and performance so you will be able to do more during your training.
- Improves strength and muscle mass.
- Can enhance the development of masculine traits in women.
- Reduces libido
- Prolonged use of the steroid can lead to liver problems or failure.
- Can cause your blood pressure and cholesterol levels to spike.
- Trigger skin and hair loss problems.
Nandrolone (Deca Durabolin)
This particular steroid is typically injected into the muscles to boost muscle growth. Female athletes who will be using this product should take 50mg per day for 4 to 6 weeks. Keep in mind that the longer you use this steroid, the higher the chance that you will experience virility.
- Supports muscle growth
- Raises blood cell count as well as speed up the healing process
- Boosts strength while minimizing the effects on the joints
- Enhances endurance levels so you can perform longer
- Swelling due to water retention
- Acne breakout
- Difficulty in sleeping or insomnia
- Dysfunctional liver
- Enhancement of male characteristics like deep voice, facial hair, and others
- Increased libido
- Clitoris enlargement
This is one of the best steroids that women can use to bulk up. Though it is often thought that women should not take it, there are studies that show that women are not at risk of virility whe using Anadrol. The recommended dose for this steroid is 1 – 5mg/ kg of your body weight each day. For example, you weigh 60kg. This means that you will need to take around 60 to 300 mg of this steroid every day.
- One of the best medications for weight gain
- Boosts oxygen delivery in the muscles
- Enhances your endurance and strength levels
- It can trigger restlessness
- Mood swings
- Lower libido
- Water retention around the feet and ankles
Taking steroids is not really recommended unless it is prescribed by a doctor. Women who are using this performance enhancement drug are putting a lot at risk in favor of more muscle mass and better performance. Compared to men, the side effects of steroid use in women is much worse.
It doesn’t matter if you are training to become a pro-athlete or you want to become a bodybuilder, you should never, in any way, compromise your overall health. After all, the reason you are working out is because you want to feel and look better, but you will not be able to do this if you are relying on PEDs.
However, if you are still determined to try adding steroids in your fitness journey, you should consider the ones mentioned above. These are the ones that are commonly used by female athletes and fitness gurus because they have less side effects compared to others. You can choose based on whether you want to bulk up or lose weight. Do not forget to weigh the pros and cons of these steroids so you can decide which ones will work better for you. And finally, make it a point to go and visit your doctor if you experience any adverse effects after using these medications to help alleviate the problem.