25 Most Awful Side Effects Of Steroid Abuse

Posted by , Updated on November 12, 2021

There are many different kinds of steroids and many different uses. In this list, we’re going to be talking about the short-term and long-term effects of anabolic steroids being used for vanity or to increase athletic ability. You are free to do as you wish, but you are not free of the consequences. So when people use steroids to look more ripped, what are the negative side effects other than sick gains? Here are 25 Most Awful Side Effects Of Steroid Abuse.

Please note that we are not, in anyway, at any point, referring to steroids (even anabolic) that are prescribed by a doctor to treat a medical condition.

Subscribe to List25


Bile and Liver Problems

bilebeansSource: http://www.everydayhealth.com

Your liver produces a wonderful and necessary substance called bile that helps you digest food.  When steroids are abused, however, it causes something called cholestasis, which means the bile doesn’t go where it’s supposed to – through your digestive tract and flushed away – but starts to leak into your blood stream. This can cause jaundice, itchiness and loss of appetite among other things.


Testicle Shrinkage

SkrinkageSource: https://www.evolutionary.org/

It’s temporary, supposedly, but steroids will send a message to testicles (that make natural testosterone) to shut down since you’re flooding your body with synthetic testosterone, and they’ll start to shrink.  This should go back to normal after the cycle of steroids is finished, but…eeeeee


Female Reproductive Issues

torpedoboobsSource: http://www.steroidabuse.com

Not to be sexist, steroid abuse can also cause problems in the reproductive organs of women, such a halting ovulation and decreasing breast size.


Mental Issues


In addition to physical issues, women can also develop feelings of anxiety and depression, and general mental instability ranging from mild to moderate.


Weakened Heart

heartattackSource: http://www.webmd.com

Long term steroid abuse weakens the heart, which may not be reversible once steroid use is stopped.


Male Infertility

spermSource: http://www.mayoclinic.org

The same artificial hormones that cause testicles to shrink can also cause them to stop making sperm, lowering sperm count and possibly making men infertile.  It is *usually* reversible.


Illnesses from Injection

shotSource: https://www.drugabuse.gov

Many steroid abusers – like other junkies – don’t always use the most sterile needle practices. This can lead to all kinds of super “fun” stuff like simple bacterial infections in the skin, MERSA, the Hepatitis alphabet, and Endocarditis, which is a bacterial infection in the lining of the heart.


Blood Pressure Issues

hypertensionSource: http://drugabuse.com

Steroid abuse can dangerously increase your blood pressure, which also puts you at greater risk for heart disease and stroke as well as damages your kidneys.



addictSource: https://www.drugs.com

You can become physically and mentally addicted to steroids, and all the fun that comes along with an addiction, withdraw, and recovery.


Withdraw Symptoms

depressedSource: https://www.drugs.com

The withdraw symptoms aren’t fun, either: decreased sex drive, insomnia, loss of appetite, headaches, and anorexia. Some of the withdraw symptoms, such as depression, can last for up to a year after you’ve stopped using.



cantsleepSource: http://www.anabolics.com/

Insomnia is another common and horrific side effect of steroid abuse. If you haven’t personally experienced insomnia, be thankful. Not being able to fully rest your body and mind is horrible, and it puts you under near constant stress.


If you think this is unexpected, wait until you see number 3!


Frequent Nausea and vomiting

vomitSource :http://www.criticalbench.com

Because nothing accompanies a good workout and protein shake like being vaguely nauseated most of the time.


Birth Defects

newborn-babySource: http://pregnancy.lovetoknow.com

Steroid use can cause birth defects, such as mental retardation and pseudohermaphroditism, which means that your baby develops traits of both sexes. It’s unclear if these risks pass when a woman stops abusing steroids, as long term steroid abuse before pregnancy has a negative impact on the female reproductive system.


Irregular Heartbeat

heart-rate-ekg-ecg-heart-beatSource: http://www.anabolics.com/

In addition to an enlarged and/or weakened heart, long term steroid use can also cause a weak or irregular heart beat, all of which lead up to a very high risk of heart attack.


Painful & Frequent Urination

Unisex_UrinalsSource: http://www.criticalbench.com/

Their whole downstairs business just kind of hurts multiple times a day. That’s nice.


Strains and Tears to Ligaments and Tendons

TendonSource: http://www.whatsteroids.com

Tendons and ligaments are made of collagen, and long term steroid use can cut your bodies production of collagen in half, resulting in strains or torn ligaments and tendons. For those that don’t know, torn ligaments are a special and horrific kind of pain, and torn tendons may require surgery and will still never be the same after healing.


Roid Rage

roid rageSource: http://www.cbsnews.com

Out of all the negative side effects of steroid abuse, the legendary “Roid Rage” is actually a thing that happens. It causes people to act out violently and have gross overreactions to things. It’s actually been implicated in murder trials before.


Mental Issues

ParanoiaSource: http://drugabuse.com

Steroids don’t have an immediate mental reaction like cocaine or heroin, but over time they can cause mental issues, such as paranoia and delusions.


Hair and Vocal Changes

face waxSource: http://drugabuse.com

Hey ladies! Injecting extra synthetic testosterone into your system can cause unwanted hair growth, in places you don’t want it, like your chest, upper lip, and chin. It also can make your voice deeper.


Tumors & Cysts

Anatomy_of_liver_and_gall_bladderSource: http://www.webmd.com

In addition to bile issues, steroid abuse can cause tumors to grow on your liver which can turn cancerous. It can also cause blood filled cysts to form which can burst and cause internal bleeding (and possibly death). Not even Chris Pratt’s six pack is worth dying for, guys.


Being Short

shortSource: http://www.webmd.com

Or at least, not reaching your full height potential. Artificial hormones can actually stop puberty and send messages to your bones to stop growing, so teens who abuse steroids may never reach their full adult height.


Increase in Bad Cholesterol

AtherosclerosisSource: http://www.webmd.com

Long term steroid abuse really messes with your system and can decrease the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) and increase the bad (LDL). This combined with the possibility of a weakened heart are very serious risks.


Self Tanner Overdose

tan bodybuilderSource: https://www.reddit.com/

Many who take steroids to look ripped and compete in body building competitions end up suffering from self tanner overdose in an attempt to make their muscles look more defined. Although this is temporary, the side effects range from making you look orange to making you look like a different race.



bodybuilder manboobsSource: http://taylorhooton.org

Yeah, abusing steroids can cause the breast tissue in men to grow, and it doesn’t resolve itself back to normal after going off steroids. It’s called Gynecomastia, and unlike natural, chubby dude man-boobs which will go away with weight loss, gynecomastia requires surgery.

Please note: this entry is in no way intended to throw shade at chubby dudes with man boobs. Everyone knows chubby dudes give the best hugs, man-boobs or no.


Acne and Oily Hair

BackacneSource: http://anabolic.co/steroids/steroid-acne-treatment-prevention/

So you’ll have all the grace and poise of a really RIPPED teenage Severus Snape. Lovely. Using steroids causes the oil producing glands in the skin to work overtime, much the same way they do during puberty. Why would you do that on purpose? Ever?

Photo Credits: 25. Dave Pickersgill via geograph,org.uk,  CC BY-SA 2.0 , 24. www.pexels.com  (Public Domain), 23. pixabay.com (Public Domain), 22. pixabay.com (Public Domain), 21. www.pexels.com (Public Domain), 20. pixabay.com (Public Domain), 19. pixabay.com (Public Domain), 18. pixabay.com (Public Domain), 17. pixabay.com (Public Domain), 16. www.pexels.com (Public Domain), 15. www.pexels.com (Public Domain), 14. pixabay.com (Public Domain), 13. pixabay.com (Public Domain), 12. www.publicdomainpictures.net (Public Domain), 11. Daniel Lobo, Unisex Urinals, CC BY 2.0, 10. commons.wikimedia.org (Public Domain), 9. Paul Cross via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 8. Michael “BuZZeR” Kadykov, Paranoia HLM logo, CC BY-SA 3.0, 7. Shutterstock, 6. Jiju Kurian Punnoose, Anatomy of liver and gall bladder, CC BY-SA 4.0, 5. pixabay.com (public domain), 4. OpenStax College, 2113ab Atherosclerosis, CC BY 3.0, 3. Ffhmfac, LIONEL SORIN, cropped, CC BY-SA 3.0, 2. David Andrew Copeland, Dr. Mordcai Blau http://gynecomastia-md.com, Gynecomastia in Bodybuilder, CC BY-SA 3.0, 1. James Heilman, MD, Backacne, CC BY-SA 3.0

SEE ALSO: 25 Insane Optical Illusions That Will Leave You Dazed And Confused »

NOW WATCH: 25 Awesome Movies You Probably Haven't Seen

Subscribe to List25
Show Us Your Love
Join Over 2 Million+ List25 Fans