T Nation

AAS & Women Info.


Recently there have been a couple of posts on this site looking for advice on what gear females should use. Response was sparse, which is expected. There's just not much good info out there and any female who is thinking about taking the leap has to really consider the costs versus the benefits. Found this on another board. It makes some good points:

"This is a must read for newbies. And a must read for any woman in fitness who considers herself beyond the "average" gym goer and wants to push past a plateau to build nice quality muscle.

What you think is a clean diet may indeed be one as compared to most Americans however a fitness "clean" diet is so hard to maintain. Even the most celebrated fitness model or competitor cannot keep her bodyfat as low as competition time...it is just not doable nor healthy for the long term.

What you consider a good cardio or good training regmine -- may be that way as compared to others you see day in and day out at the gym however for the body you want that stands out, sacrifices need to be made BEFORE you even consider a cycle of anabolic steriods.

What AAS will NOT do for a women:

  1. It will not, after one cycle, make you the hottest thing in a bikini. It will not make you Monica Brant, Jill Mills, Lenda Murray (or any fitness model -- you fill in the name).

  2. It will not burn fat.

  3. IT WILL NOT BURN FAT...cannot stress this enough.

  4. It will NOT lean you out, nor cut you up.

  5. It will NOT TONE you -- and please remove the word "tone" from your vocabulary if you are serious about fitness.

What AAS will do for most women:

  1. Add a modest amount of strength.

  2. Build some muscle ..... overall muscle size as opposed to defined muscle (I will address this later). It will take more than 1 or 2 or even 3 cycles before you get to your desired goal -- perhaps not even to your goal.

  3. AAS will cause a positive change to your body however unlikely to be a permanent change without followup cycling or incredibly stringent dieting and training. Meaning that once your cycle is over, by and large after your body releases the chemicals and cleanses itself, it will indeed bring your body back to its previous state. YOU WILL retain some muscle (called keepable gains) if you were eating well all along before, during and after your cycle and continue to do so, but the lasting hardness and loss of estrogenic fat will return. Your body composition will become more soft (this does not mean fat) after the cycle is over.

  4. AAS will indeed cause you to become MORE critical of how you look. And therefore be less satisifed with what you see in the mirror. It is a mind game for sure and some people (men and women included become mentally addicted to it).

  5. AAS, even the least androgenic of sorts, will cause sides such as, but not limited to: compromised HDL/LDL levels, increased blood pressure, breast shrinkage, loss of menses, water weight gain, dry scalp, oily skin, hair loss, enlarged or sensitive clitoris, voice changes (starting with raspiness and going further into deepness), coarser hair, increased hair growth (everywhere), darkening of previously light/blonde body hair. These are just a few. And don't think or believe for one minute that more hair or a deeper voice won't bother you -- it will ... especially if you have not gotten what you expected from your cycle. The cost analysis - "risk vs. return factor" may not be in your favor (results vs. sides).

AND I SHOULD MENTION, the chemical changes that can occur to your supply of ovum. There is no data as to how AAS will harm a yet to be concieved baby (i.e., birth defects).

I will say that AAS can be a useful tool in pushing through a muscle building plateau but only if every other avenue has been exhausted. It is by no means a quick fix or even a guarantee. For us hardgainers who push more weight than alot of women natural and have a hard time putting on muscle, AAS can help.

Now -- back to overall muscle vs. defined muscle. Overall muscle is muscle you gain during a cycle. Defined muscle is that muscle AFTER you diet down (cutting). It is very rare for a male (doable but rare) to be able to bulk and lose bodyfat at the same time....which of course, makes it that much harder for a woman to achieve both succuessfully.

In order to build muscle (whether using roids or NOT) is being able to EAT to build muscle. Usually, one will need to eat for mass but inherently bodyfat will be a given so as not to cheat your body from the necessary nutrients for effective and successful muscle building. Cardio done too often and too strenuosly while trying to build robs the energy your body needs for muscle building and repair.

In order to get that muscle to show, you will need to diet down. This requires a calorie deficit to help lose fat while making sure not to sacrifice too many protein calories (so you can keep more muscle). Most often, along with fat, you will lose some muscle.
Now there is some success with dieting down and taking AAS to help preserve that muscle however it works for some women but not all...and even so, you still need diet to lose fat -- there is NO MAGIC PILL.

And let me add in addition to dieting, cardio is the only other tool for fat loss. Not easy cardio .... but sweat breaking, chest heaving, side-stitch, "I think am going to die" types of cardio in shorter bursts. Long easy cardio is great for cardiovascular health but not all that effective at burning fat and not muscle. Sprints or intervals are great explosive bouts of cardio to help burn off fat and not disturb too much muscle mass.

I am sure after I post this, I will have forgotten a key element. However when the mods here ask for your background and diet and try to steer you away from AAS as a first choice -- it is not that we are trying to be unhelpful nor to convince you that a cycle is for only the elite of athletes, but too often young women opt for a cycle and end up with terrible sides, lasting compromises and adding muscle over fat which produces are more stocky look. All of that can be avoided with research, asking questions, doing your homework and talking to women who care and have had experiences with it. Too many boards are filled with -- "this is what my boyfriend told me to do -- now what?" -- types of threads.

Men try to be helpful but what works for them is so far and away different than what works for us. So please, the dude at the gym that tells you deca is great and hit yourself with 150 mgs a week ....is not telling you the whole story, when it comes to a woman."

Please refrain from the "Eww, women who take steroids look like men" crap. Yes, some of the pros look very masculine. Not a look I would choose for myself, but that's their business. However, many of these fitness models you guys are drooling over use limited amounts because that's their business too.
And it is just as unnatural for a man to be pumping artificial hormones into his body to try to look like Ronnie or bench like the Westside boys as it is for a woman.
So let's try to have some constructive discussion here.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


I'm surprised there has not been more discussion. But this tends to be a subject a lot of people either ignore or don't have anything constructive to add.


Thank you very much for going out of your way with supplying this information. Highly appreciated!..May I ask..do you have any experiences...good or bad... with AAS yourself??.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


That is really interesting, thanks for posting it. Honestly, I never even read this forum, but happened to see the title of the thread on the home page. I've wondered about this topic in a purely speculative way and this was very informative.


gogira, thanks for the post. It's kind of what I expected. I am trying to find out info. on females and aas use but unfortunately the majority of testimonials are from guys who have hooked their girl up w/ some var, and not the women themselves.
My g/f has shown a lot of interest here lately and I have tried my best to steer her away from it. But if she ultimately does decide to, I want to be able to assist her in doing it the right way. It's just hard for me to offer advice since I weigh more than 2x her bodyweight and have drastically different goals. LMK if you or any friends have used and your thoughts on it.



EVERYONE who takes AAS becomes more critical of there appearance?

is there scientific evidence for this assumption?

if so, please post a link...

if not, why not change the implication of EVERYONE to SOME?

interestingly I know some people that take AAS and are MORE satisfied with what they see in the mirror...not LESS.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


As I said at the beginning, I am not the original author of the info. It was a sticky on another site.

I think Busidobadboy hit the nail on the head. Being critical does not necessarily mean you think you look (or perform) bad. It just means you are more focused on it, and that may be because you know you've made this commitment that carries some risks.

I do not use AAS's (I can't due to a medical condition), but I think it can be done safely and wisely. I know several women who use and it has not been an easy path for them. Due to the lack of info for women they have had to experiment more to find out what works for them and what does not. Women are much, much more sensitive to the drugs and we require much lower doses (I think this has to do with our receptors, not body weight).

In regard to the side effects, contrary to what you hear again and again, most are reversable depending upon how long you were on. For example the "myth" about the enlarged clitoris - well that pretty much returns to normal when you go off cycle. Now, I'm talking about moderate and low doses, I've never talked to an IFBB pro about the size of her clitoris, LOL. Most women do experience an increased sex drive, which can be a good thing (as long as you're not inviting the UPS man in).

The deepened voice improves over time when you go off cycle too, but I'm not sure if it ever gets back to were it was. I think this takes longer. And you will get hairier. The women I've talked to noted increased hair on their legs, arms and pubic regions. One woman is of Italian descent so she was already dealing with facial hair. The others just had to do a little plucking here and there (no, they did not shave).

Overall, I think it is personal choice just like whether ot not you want to wear a motorcycle helmet. You know the risks and you take your chances.


I'm not quite sure how they came to that assumption..I'm a 32 year old female, 5'11 and have been lifting 'heavy' weights for a little over 10 years, which the last 4 years on a strict diet and training scheme..

I work almost around the clock in summer (I live on a holiday resort..)and have 4 months off in winter..Last winter I did an 8 week cycle of Anavar, 10mg.. which enabled me to get rid of a little 'summerfat' which is inevitable if you have to focus on work that much and can't dedicade to diet and training a 100%, and bring my lifting to another level.

Of course, after the cycle you loose a bit of strength and muscle mass, which is not more then logic in my book...but was able to maintain 'the next level' and an acceptable amount of leaness throughout this summer...

I don't think my self image changed not before or after. I think the key is to be realistic and plan ahead..the only way I can see a self image changing for the worse by AAS, is if you set yourself up for disaster by working up an unrealistic expectation..

AAS or any steroids for that matter don't do the work for you...they enable you to work more, and harder..but maybe I'm wrong. That's how it works for me at least...nothing for nothing..:wink:


I think what the original author meant is that you should not depend on the gear to cut you up. You have to change your diet and training. Just simply taking the drugs will not make you ripped. What I do think happens with women on gear is that they loose some of the estrogen induced fat deposits; some fat on the back of the legs, subcutaneous fat, etc. But that is a hormonal effect. It changes how and where your body stores fat. The drugs may help, but as stated before, it is not a magic pill.


While it's true that the duration and dosage play a role in the likelihood of experiencing virilizing side effects, they (e.g., hirsutism on the face and body, voice deepening/lowering or hoarseness, androgenic alopecia and yes clitoral enlargement) are generally irreversible upon cessation of use. This has been confirmed, clinically within the literature over the past 20-30 years. The dosages used clinically, are also often the same as those used by women recreationally, if not lower, so the possibility is very real.

Even with the androgens which are considered the least androgenic (stanozolol, oxandrolone, methenolone) permanent virilizing side effects have been recorded within the literature at relatively low dosages, although the occurrence is obviously much lower than with other androgens.

In short, while many women may not always suffer such adverse effects, it's important not to give one a false sense of security, reasoning that they won't be permanent. Women who use androgens should be fully aware of the potential for virilizing side effects as these are something they'll have to deal with for the rest of their lives and can be very painful, psychologically.


Thanks for chiming in, Cy.

Cy is absolutely correct. With respect to the posters on this thread, the notion that clitoral enlargement is reversible is plain wrong.

Changes to vocal cord thickness and clitoral size are largely permanent.

By the same token, a man's penis size will not shrink if he suddenly becomes hypogonadal. Neither will his vocal cords shrink, causing his voice to get high.

Besides being supported by the research, I've known and worked with plenty of pro female bodybuilders who would agree with Cy.


I think the key phase here is "Pro female body builders". Due to the competitve nature of the sport, many pro females use large amounts of anabolic aids which may result in long lasting side effects. I don't use the term irreversible because I don't know if anyone has done a study years later to see if their conditions have improved over time. If you know of a study like this I would appreciate the reference. I am not inflexible and am able to admit when I am wrong.

However, if your position it that all clitoral and vocal changes are irreversible, then I must respectfully disagree. It is my opinion that some of these changes are reversible depending on the dosage and length of use. I had my own brush with this twenty years ago when I was young and stupid. My voice dropped and and I experienced some "enlargement". But everything returned to normal off cycle and I was smart enough not to do THAT again. (But then I don't compete, so I had no pressure to do so. I was just curious and impatient - like so many newbs) Based upon women I have talked to and corresponded with on the web, this experience is not unique. But as I said, it is dose and time dependent. I remember watching the Victor Conte interview on TV and they interviewed one of the runners (not Marion Jones; can't remember her name) he was dosing with THG. She talked about how her voice dropped and she could hardly talk. But during the interview, her voice sounded fine to me. Now granted, this was years later, but the changes were not "irreversible".

Yes, I've read some of the studies. Being a scientist myself I am always sceptical about how studies are done and tweaked. Many are biased before the sampling even begins. If you have some good references, please PM me. I would be very interested in reading them.

Allow me to state that I appreciate that you are trying to prevent women from making a mistake they may regret down the road. Especially if they are young and want to have children (fertility is another issue that we never touched on). Unfortunately because many women will not talk about their gear usage, there is very little info for women who are interested in learning more about it (and as you know scientic studies regarding anabolic steroids often do not translate well into the real world). Also, just like the guys,if they are determined to take the plunge, they will. They often get advice from men who are guessing at the appropiate dose for a female, unless he has experience in this arena. This is where the problem lies. They often start with too high a dosage and experience unwanted sides. But as I stated earlier, these usually subside off cycle. Hopefully, the individual learns from this lesson and adjusts her cycle accordingly or decides it's not for them.

So be judicious with your use of the term irreversible. It sounds too much like "don't run with scissors".


I agree. I don't feel qualified to discuss it in depth. But the drawbacks do seem to far, FAR outweigh the benefits for most women to me. Particularly for women who want children and don't have them. Why would they ever risk it? To met, this only, perhaps, seems appropriate for serious PLing or bodybuilding professionals who are prepared to accept whatever [potentially permanent]reproductive and adrogenizing consequences may result.


As I said previously, the specific virilizing side effects listed in the previous post are generally permanent and this a pretty well-established phenomenon even with clinical dosages which I know personally are equal to, even in the most responsible users, and far less than those who aren't responsible recreational users.

As you know, if trying to establish and confirm if something is irreversible or not in a study, a follow-up after cessation of use is performed, and it is for this very reason that the authors in these references conclude that they are permanent. Or, as you also know, in some of these clinical studies you have a few main authors who are collecting data from participating clinics throughout the US. This too is where it has been established, especially with oncologists who were using androgens in women, as these are not simply temporary subjects, but lifelong patients. It's very easy to give a follow-up in such cases. This is what has lead to the well-known Gilman's citation and of course from the product inserts themselves as the manufacturers are the first to state this. Even ignoring the clinical data, just from a logical standpoint, it wouldn't make sense for the manufacturer itself to state specifically that those effects are generally irreversible as that's certainly not going to help with sales when it comes to convincing the clinician and patient.

Clinically, stanozolol is typically administered at 2 mg, 3 times daily and 5-8 mg daily with oxandrolone (given as one dose). The following references are all supportive of the said side effects listed in the first post, being irreversible.

Again, the likelihood of experiencing virilizing side effects is dose and duration dependent, but again, to say these side effects are then completely reversible or that they usually subside, is not correct.

If there is data which contradicts this and that these side effects are reversible, I'd be interested in seeing it.

Scott MJ Jr & Scott MJ 3rd: Dermatologists and anabolic-androgenic drug abuse. CUTIS 1989; 44:30-35.

Strauss RH, Liggett MT & Lanese RR: Anabolic steroid use and perceived effects in ten weight-trained women athletes. JAMA 1985; 253:2871-2873.

USPDI: Drug Information for the Health Care Professional, 8th ed. US Pharmacopeial Convention, Inc, Rockville, MD, 1988.

Product Information: Winstrol(R), stanozolol. Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, New York, NY, (PI revised 5/97) reviewed 5/2000.

Product Information: Oxandrin(R), oxandrolone. BTG Pharmaceuticals, Iselin, NJ, 1998.

AMA Department of Drugs: Drug Evaluations Subscription. American Medical Association, Chicago, IL, 1991.

Naeraa RW, Nielsen J, Pedersen IL et al: Effect of oxandrolone on growth and final height in Turner's syndrome. Acta Pediatr Scand 1990; 79:784-789.

Notter G: Treatment of disseminated carcinoma of the breast by metenolone enanthate. Acta Radiol Ther Physics Biol 1975; 14:545-551.

Schlesser JL (ed): Drugs Available Abroad. A Guide to Therapeutic Drugs Available and Approved Outside the U.S., 1st ed. Gale Research Inc., Detroit, MI; 1991:72-73.

Gilman AG, Rall TW, Nies AS et al (eds.): Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 8th ed. Permagon Press, New York, NY, 1990.

Pain JA, Wickremesinghe SS & Bradbeer JW: Combined tamoxifen and anabolic steroid as primary treatment for breast carcinoma in the elderly. Eur J Surg Oncol 1990; 16:225-228.