Do Anabolic Steroids Have Performance-Enhancement Effects in Female Athletes?

Do Anabolic Steroids Have Performance-Enhancement Effects in Female Athletes?

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Athletes and bodybuilders use anabolic steroids to increase their strength, muscle size and overall performance. They can also help people who have certain medical conditions.

Steroids increase the levels of testosterone in your body, which can boost athletic performance. However, they can also cause harmful side effects. These include increased hair, a deepening voice and a change in the way you menstruate.

What are the Risks?

Anabolic steroids are drugs that mimic the effects of male sex hormones, such as testosterone. They have a number of health risks and side effects, and they should not be used by women.

Anabolic steroids may also cause sexual dysfunction or cancer. They can also cause heart problems, high blood pressure and clotting disorders. Some steroid users also experience physical changes in their bodies, such as weight gain and hair growth. They can also develop a number of other health problems, including high cholesterol, low blood sugar levels, and problems with their liver, kidneys or pancreas.

It’s not safe for young girls to take anabolic steroids, and it is important that parents discuss these concerns with their daughters. They should know that these drugs can have serious negative health effects, and they should be aware of the dangers of obtaining them from an online provider or without a doctor’s prescription.

In addition to the physical health risks, anabolic steroids can have psychological side effects. Some people who take these drugs develop delusions, paranoia and extreme feelings of mistrust or fear. They may also become overly aggressive or combative.

These behaviors are called “'roid rage.” They can lead to trouble with the law, and they can also be harmful to other people. Those who use steroids are also more likely to try suicide than those who don’t take them.

Anabolic steroids are not legal in many countries, including the United States. They are classified as Schedule III Controlled Substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

They are synthetic (man-made) versions of testosterone, a male sex hormone that is important for developing and maintaining the masculine traits that men develop during puberty. Testosterone helps build muscle and increases male sex characteristics, such as deep voice and facial hair.

People use anabolic steroids for many reasons - including to improve athletic performance, build lean body mass, reduce fat and speed recovery from injury. But the risks of long-term use outweigh the benefits of these drugs, and it's illegal to take them without a doctor's prescription.

Steroids can have serious side effects, especially if they are taken in large doses for a long time or under the influence of other drugs. For example, they can cause high blood pressure and heart disease; liver damage and cancers; stroke and blood clots; and severe psychological problems such as mania or depression.

Some people who misuse anabolic steroids become addicted, or feel the need to keep taking them even when they know they're doing harm in fear of losing their hard won gains.

There are some legitimate medical uses for steroids, such as to treat low testosterone levels in men with a condition known as male hypogonadism. They are also used to stimulate muscle growth in some patients with certain types of cancer or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS.

But there are also some people who abuse steroids, such as athletes and bodybuilders. These people take large amounts of the drug in order to achieve fast results.

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Do Steroids Improve Female Athletic Performance?

There is a growing body of research showing that anabolic steroids have performance-enhancing effects in female athletes. They can increase the size of muscle, enhance athletic performance and help athletes to win more games.

Anabolic steroids mimic the male sex hormone, testosterone. Testosterone is a key androgen in the male sex hormones and is naturally much higher in men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB). Girls are born with low testosterone levels, which may be due to their low levels of gonadotropin and luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH).

However, while there is evidence that AAS are do help improve female performance, there isn't really a large body of studies. This can be due to the ethical issues and legal challenges around doping athletes. 

That said, some females who have used AAS have reported muscle mass, strength and performance improvements when taking doses that are similar to the testosterone levels of male athletes. 

2020 study looked 48 physically active women who were administered testosterone. They were then tested on a number of physical parameters such as anaerobic fitness, strength and also body composition

The administration of testosterone among these women brought increases in aerobic running time and improved lean mass.  

The German Democratic Republic (GDR)

While it may be unethical to prescribe AAS to cometitig athletes to collect data, back in the 1960s stretching until the late 1980s the GDR were heavily involved in state sponsorship of administering AAS to their athletes in order to win competitions. 

The GDR employed hundreds of scientists who were documenting and recording their efforts when administering AAS to female athletes.

Their research suggests that AAS were particularly effective for competition that required strength and speed. 

The result of this continued doping of female athletes saw significant improvements of shot putt, discus throwing plus much faster 400m and 1500m running times. 

It is reported that the doctors and physicians were aware of the negative side effects of AAS but nevertheless continued with the doping program. 

Why do Female Athletes use AAS?

report published in 2021 examined the motivation behind female AAS use. 

It is reported that the ideals of perfectionism has increased over the recent decades, this may be due to cincreased perceived competition, higher demands and expectations that forgo reality. 

The report also acknowledges that the people of the Western world are continually commited to improving themselves physically and intellectually.

Furthermore, the female participants of the research reported that acheivement was of a high importance to them and a fear of not acheiving their performance goals made them work harder.

Due to the nature of being an athlete and the necessity for a strict eating procedure, many of the participants found that monitored food intake was an easy task duue to previous eating dissorders. 


Despite the fact that anabolic steroids are a well-known performance-enhancing drug for male athletes, they have only been shown to be effective in a small number of studies. Most studies have used relatively untrained subjects. They have also tended to use a lower dosage of the drugs than is commonly taken by athletes.

Some researchers believe that anabolic steroids help reduce muscle damage from a hard workout. This may help athletes recover more quickly, enabling them to work out harder and more frequently.

Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of the natural hormone testosterone. Testosterone drives the development of secondary male sex characteristics, such as hair growth, sex organs, muscles and voice depth.

When males abuse steroids, they can have shrunken testicles and reduced sperm count. They can also develop breasts, a condition called gynecomastia.

Females can also become more masculine, with deeper voices and increased body hair. They can lose their periods or get them much less often than before they took the steroids.

The effects of anabolic steroids can be very dangerous. They can cause serious side effects, including mood swings, aggression and high blood pressure. They can also harm the liver and heart. 

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