Anabolic Steroid Use Among Women — Here’s The Lowdown

anabolic steroid use among women

Curious about steroid use and what the proper steroid cycle for women should be?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. We know the interwebs offer little insight on the topic, and one is often hard-pressed with outright contradictory information, so we dutifully created this article to guide you.

Steroid use among women for the purpose of physical enhancement is not as widespread compared to men. There are obvious reasons for this, one of them is that it is simply the case that men are more interested in looking ripped than women.

Of course, another reason is that one of the side-effects of steroid use among women is the development of masculine characteristics, some of which can be irreversible and debilitating. It goes without saying that masculinization coupled with side-effects isn’t something most women want.

To make matters even more complicated, some powerful compounds — like Dianabol and Trenbolone — are simply too powerful, have too many side effects, or have too high an androgenic rating to be safely used by women. Even women hell-bent on muscle growth should avoid these compounds because it might not be worth the side effects.

To be sure, unwanted effects needn’t come with the territory. Indeed, with the right compounds, and with proper care and use, it’s totally possible for women to get significant health and physical benefits without the dreaded androgenic effects associated with long-term steroid use.

In this article, we’ll help you understand the interesting, albeit complicated, world of female bodybuilding, the common types of steroids that women use for performance enhancement or contest prep, and the important precautions to keep in mind.

What You Need to Know

womens bodies as opposed to mens

You might think this part is obvious — and, indeed, if your curiosity has led you far enough to even google the topic beyond surface levels, then you’ve surely heard it many times before. But it’s too important to skip, and any article on the topic would be remiss not to mention that, when it comes to using steroids, female bodies simply aren’t capable of handling the same doses that men are. This might sound like a sexist statement in this day and age of political correctness, but it isn’t. It is a biological fact and a consequence of how men and women are built.

There are many biological reasons for men and women to be built differently, and to get into each one will take an entire book, so I’ll talk about the most important one below and discuss a few precautions women should take because of it.

Women’s bodies, as opposed to men’s, don’t require testosterone as much. Testosterone is an androgen and is a male hormone whose purpose is to regulate things such as sperm production and muscle mass. Low T-levels can lead to a variety of ill effects in men such as brittle bones, less energy, and depression, among others.

The simple fact of the matter is that men need testosterone to maintain a healthy body. This is why testosterone levels are correlated with age; the older a man gets, the lower his T-levels become.

Of course, this isn’t to say that women don’t need testosterone — they do, and largely for the same reasons that men do. But having the hormone in quantities comparable to men can lead to serious health conditions in women.

Infertility, excessive hair growth, diabetes, and heart disease are but a few of the possible effects of too much testosterone in women.

Given this chasm in testosterone requirement, it’s not safe for women to be anabolic stacking, as this could lead to serious and irreversible damage. Anabolic stacking, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is the process of combining more than one type of steroid for the purpose of enhancing or hastening the desired effect.

Manipulating your body and messing with your hormones through anabolic stacking will not be a good strategy in the long run — especially if you’re a woman whose body requires a cycle tailored for more specific needs.

Lastly, women, always remember to keep your cycle length SHORT — nothing longer than a month per cycle. This will allow you to keep any side effects in check so you can immediately halt if necessary. After all, you don’t want to get an unwanted effect only to find out there’s no going back.

With these reminders out of the way, we can now get into the nitty-gritty.

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Common Steroids for Women

common steroid for women

Let’s face it, the word steroid evokes images of veiny, muscle-bound bodybuilders carrying dumbbells and gritting their teeth.

Of course, the truth is that steroid users don’t always have the goal of looking like a Terminator these days — especially female steroid users for whom building lean muscle and burning fat are the most common objectives.

Let’s face it, anabolic steroids are supposed to be synthetic, man-made versions of male hormones. They are both anabolic (i.e.,muscle building) and androgenic (will produce male-like changes to the body). Given these facts, they have clear downsides for women.

Most women in one study shared that cutting weight was the primary reason they got into anabolic steroids, followed by a desire to build more lean muscle. While anabolic steroids will definitely work for these purposes, there’s always risk of side effects when taken beyond the recommended doses. This is why it’s important for women to minimize their dosage and limit themselves to compounds that are, to some degree, “female friendly.”

Among the sea of steroids recommended for women, the top three ones are Anavar, Winstrol, and Clenbuterol.

Anavar, Winstrol, and Clenbuterol.


Anavar, a controlled substance in some countries, is one of the most popular oral steroids on the planet, and one that most who are well into using steroids would’ve already encountered.

Also referred to as Oxandrolone, it’s chiefly used to burn fat and develop muscle.

Anavar was originally developed and prescribed in the ’60s to help with muscle growth among people suffering from catabolic disorders that have led to unintentional weight loss.

It’s come a long way since then and has garnered a somewhat bad reputation because of illicit use among bodybuilders and athletes looking for competitive advantage. Of course, when used properly and in the right quantities, Anavar proffers a lot of benefits, including:

1. Reduced Body Fat.

Anavar reduces body fat in two ways; by reducing cortisol levels and regulating insulin.

A body’s cortisol levels are linked to its ability to store fat. The more cortisol in the body, the more fat it can typically store, and by reducing cortisol levels, Anavar effectively reduces the body’s ability to store fat. Also, by regulating insulin — the hormone that plays a vital role in breaking down fat in the body — Anavar also increases one’s ability to burn fat.

2. Preserved Muscle Tissue

By preventing the depletion of nitrogen in the muscles and enhancing protein synthesis, improvements in both muscle mass and strength can be noticed only after a month of daily Anavar use (with proper dosage, of course). This will result in the maintenance of lean muscle mass despite reductions in caloric intake.

3. Better Blood Circulation

Another benefit of Anavar is that it promotes red blood cell production, effectively improving overall blood circulation in the body, resulting in increased strength. Optimum levels of blood-oxygen improves stamina and endurance, especially during workouts.

4. Faster Recovery

Because of Anavar’s ability to preserve muscle tissue and oxygenate the body, it’s clear another benefit is that it promotes faster recovery of muscles from injury.


Winstrol, also referred to as Stanozolol, is another anabolic steroid used by bodybuilders for cutting and building lean muscle. It’s been around longer than Anavar and was in fact common in the ‘50s among athletes.

Winstrol was synthesized for the purpose of increasing red blood cell production and improving blood circulation. This is why it’s used in the treatment of blood and swelling disorders such as anemia and hereditary angioedema.

Indeed, the ability of Winstrol to carry oxygen throughout the body for extended periods of time is one of the reasons it’s become so popular among endurance athletes.

While many say Winstrol is better than Anavar in most regards, it’s important to note they are different compounds, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Anavar and Winstrol are similar in many ways. In fact, the benefits of Winstrol mirror those of Anavar. There are differences between them, however, that are worth discussing.

When comparing the benefits of both compounds, Winstrol has Anavar beat in almost every respect. However, because Anavar produces less side effects and is less virilizing, it is generally considered safer for women.


Clenbuterol, also known as Clen, is not an anabolic steroid but a stimulant that is commonly used to burn fat.

It was originally synthesized to treat equine asthma and other respiratory disorders among horses, but nowadays, it’s popular among celebrities and athletes and is generally used for weight loss. Although it is illegal in some countries, when taken in the right doses, it can help in muscle development and enhance athletic performance. Among the benefits of Clen are:

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1. Increased Fat Burning

As a compound with thermogenic properties, Clen increases metabolism and therefore fat burning by producing effects on the body similar to that of amphetamine and epinephrine.

2. Muscle Mass Retention

Like Winstrol and Anavar, Clen increases protein synthesis and thus induces muscle retention and growth. Some studies also show that Clen, when taken in the right doses, helps in the growth of muscle cells, overall increasing strength and power output.

The Side Effects

side effect of steroids to women

If you’ve gone this far in the article, then you probably needn’t be reminded that every steroid carries a risk of side effects. Whether these are anti-inflammatory or androgenic steroids, there will always be risks.

The three types of anabolic steroids we discussed above are no exception. To be sure, they can be considered weaker than some esters of testosterone available in the market, but they will generally have the same side effects. Given their mildness, however, it will take larger doses for the side effects to appear.

It goes without saying that side effects will depend on the dose and how often they are taken. Naturally, the smaller the dose and the shorter the cycle, the smaller the risks for serious side effects will be. In any case, anyone who intends to take steroids should know what these risks are, and the proper precautions needed to mitigate them.

To that end, let’s dive in and talk about the side effects of the three most common types of steroids for women below.

Let’s start with Clenbuterol.

Clen is technically not a steroid, but it’s one of the most popular—if not the most popular—compounds used by women for cutting weight. The main reason it’s so popular among women is because, unlike other androgens (e.g., Anavar and Winstrol), Clen doesn’t produce androgenic effects. Indeed, Clen is often referred to as a “female friendly” steroid because of this.

In a nutshell, women can rest assured that with Clen, there’s no risk of acquiring male physical characteristics such as a deepening of the voice, or a squaring of the jawline.

Of course, this isn’t to say that Clen can be taken with minimal precaution. As with any anabolic compound, misuse and overuse will cause side effects. Remember what we said above about how Clenbuterol works to increase metabolism and preserve lean muscle? Well, the very mechanisms that Clen uses to achieve these are what can cause side effects. Among these side effects are:

  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Tachycardia

That’s not even the complete list. What anyone looking to get into Clen needs to understand is that long-term exposure to the compound can seriously damage your health. Clen is basically a stimulant that affects the body in the same way amphetamines do, after all, so it’s not really safe to be taking too much of it and be doing long cycles. In fact, the long list of complications from extended Clen use is precisely why it’s not legal to use in many countries (including in the US).

The short-term gains from Clen misuse won’t be worth the long-term health complications, which is why dosage and cycle length are things we can’t stress enough. It is very—very—important to not overdose and over-extend your cycle.

Anavar, “Female Friendly”?

Anavar is another “female friendly” steroid with decreased androgenic effects. In other words, Anavar can help women build muscle and lose weight without producing too much male-like changes to the body. To give you an idea of how “female friendly” Anavar is, consider that testosterone has an androgenic rating of 100 while Anavar is listed at the 20 range. Trust us, that’s a huge difference.

Of course, Anavar is still androgenic, and masculinization can still occur with overuse. Women planning on taking Anvar should always consider a moderate dose and a short cycle to avoid the compound’s virilizing effects. Indeed, some women who’ve overused Anavar described the experience as similar to going through male puberty.

Ultimately, Anavar is still an anabolic steroid, the misuse of which can produce side effects ranging from mild to life-threatening. Among the side effects of Anavar misuse include:

  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Infertility and other Menstrual Abnormalities.
  • Androgenic effects

This shortlist isn’t complete and doesn’t even account for the wide range of emotional effects that are known to result from Anavar misuse. Depression, aggression, mania, delusions — these are some of the psychological effects that occur following Anavar misuse. One study even revealed that as high as 75% of women who’ve used anabolic steroids have experienced an adverse psychological effect.

The good news is that it will take an inordinate amount of Anavar to produce a negative effect. Of course, even if this is the case, many still overuse Anavar.

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Generally, however, someone dosing moderately and following a short cycle won’t have to worry about side effects from Anavar.

Winstrol Risks

The side effects of Winstrol pretty much mirror that of Anavar. Like we mentioned a few slabs of texts ago, Winstrol, in terms of gains, is better than Anavar. You get more weight loss and lean muscle with Winstrol, pound for pound. In fact, this is why most male steroid users prefer Winstrol over Anavar. Of course, men have less to worry about virilization, so it’s not really an apples to apples thing.

However, one of the reasons that a lot of women (in particular) choose Anavar over Winstrol is because the former has a higher safety profile.

All those side effects of Anavar that we mentioned — yes, those ones — they can happen from overusing Winstrol, too. In fact, compared to Anavar, it will take lower doses and shorter cycles lengths of Winstrol to produce those same negative effects.

Another thing, Winstrol is much worse on the heart than Anavar. Some research has shown that it only takes 6 mg of Winstrol to reproduce what 20 mg of Anavar does to the heart. This means that beginners should opt for Anavar over Winstrol. Sure, the desired effects might not come out as fast with Anavar, but if you’re a beginner, it’s always better to include the safest compound in your cycle rather than the most effective.

The Bottomline

why do you turn to these drugs

The first thing to note is that any anabolic steroid will, in the right doses, produce androgenic effects. This is simply the case with these steroids — they are, if anything, anabolic-androgenic steroids.

If you’re a man, then these effects might be of no consequence — hell, you might even like them. But if you’re a woman, then you’ll really have to keep watch of your dose and cycle length to mitigate any such effects.

It doesn’t matter how “female friendly” a particular compound is said to be, or how many say they’ve taken it and ended up fine. The inescapable fact is that if it’s an anabolic steroid, then it will have androgenic effects.

Of course, some will produce more of these effects than others. Depending on the dose and type of steroid, a woman can end up with a decreased waistline, more muscles than she needs, or a mustache and a squared jawline.

If you’re a woman — especially if you’re a woman — a good thing to do is to educate yourself on a steroid’s androgenic rating before including it in your cycle. Like we mentioned above, beginner’s need to pay special attention to the compounds they’re using and stick to the ones that produce the least side effects. You can always increase your dose or use a stronger compound when you’re ready.

Anavar and Winstrol have a relatively low androgenic rating compared to, say, Dianabol or testosterone, but the risk of masculinization still exists (moreso for Winstrol) with increased dosing and cycle length. Keep this in mind.

Again — and it bears repeating — all those bad effects can be avoided with the proper dose and cycle length.
But when all is said and done, the decision is up to you. Your body, your choice.

Ask yourself, why do you turn to these drugs in the first place? Do you intend to get in shape for a show or do you want to get in shape in general? Because you can do both without steroids, you know.

Of course, without steroids, it will take longer and require more effort. But if you’re not in a rush, then that shouldn’t matter. If you are, and want to look the best you can, then go for it. There is nothing a conscientious and responsible user should fear.

Perhaps you’re well aware of the risks and think they’re worth it. Or maybe, you’re smart enough to know what the necessary precautions are and are disciplined enough to consistently follow through.

That’s fine. Go for it. We’re not here to judge.

If you think a particular drug will go a long way to helping you achieve your goals, then do what you think is right for you.

Your life, your choice.

All we ask is that you take the necessary precautions, refrain from taking doses higher than is necessary, and opt for drugs on the “relatively safe” side of the spectrum. If you do this, there’s no reason you won’t be safe.

Anabolic steroids are serious compounds. They can get you in shape faster than you can manage on your own, but they can come at a cost. Some are riskier than others, and some can be used safely in low doses and short cycles.

As with anything, educating yourself before using them is key.

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