The steroids impact their self-esteem, sexuality and also social lives, yet some woguys likewise endure positive side effects.

Anne Lise Stranden Journalist

Research and also psychiatrist Ingrid Amalia Havnes interviewed female bodycontractors and has looked into how their use of particular doping substances has impacted them physically, psychologically and also socially.

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Havnes explored what led to the womales to start making use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), the resulting side effects and also exactly how they dealt with the adverse impacts.

«This is a touchy matter. The womales enrespond to plenty of stigmatization. So, they generally don’t disclose their usage of anabolic steroids to their household, friends inside and external of their training atmosphere,» describes Havnes.

Many of the women were ashamed and also suffered social troubles connected to a number of of the side effects. But they can likewise feel what they deemed the positive impacts from utilizing these fabricated testosterones.

«It’s important to understand that many type of enrespond to positive effects in this period of their lives. That can make it hard to quit utilizing the substances,» states Havnes.


The study is one of few undertaken regarding women who use such steroids.

Havnes lugged out the research along with a research group at Oslo College Hospital researching AAS. She likewise works at the hospital treating patients that wish to quit making use of these steroids.

Little understanding about the women

Anabolic-androgenic steroids are an artificially made testosterone, supplied to increase muscle volume and toughness. Their usage was banned by regulation in Normeans in 2013.

Havnes and also her colleagues carried out thostormy interviews of 16 women who were present or previous AAS users.

Information is obtainable from ample research study concerning the certain side results woguys threat once making use of these steroids. But bit research has been directed at just how womales feel around these alters. SSA use and also the damage it does to men has been more copiously researched.

Havnes points out that women that use anabolic steroids are an overwhelming group to reach.


«Some of the side impacts the womales encountered were more quickly neutralized than others. Deep voices were considered disgraceful by many kind of,» claims Ingrid Amalia Havnes at Oslo University Hospital. (Photo: Private)

Masculine features and shame

All the womales that participated in the study skilled a variety of unwanted masculine traits through their usage. Many kind of were unall set for this.

Increased facial hair, smaller sized breasts, a deeper voice and enlarged clitoris were among the negative effects.

«This inflicted them with shame, lessened self-esteem and also social difficulties,» claims Havnes.

Over half in fitness circles

Ten of the woguys were from fitness or bodybuilding circles and also had participated in local, national or global competitions.

«The other 6 had not been involved in such competitions, but they operated out through weights in combination with making use of AAS to accomplish the bodies they sought,» claims Havnes.


Ten womales had actually cut out the steroids and also 6 were still using them.

In recent decades the female body right has actually adjusted in many kind of minds from a slender to a muscular physique.

«This have the right to have actually added to those affiliated in fitness circles being exposed to usage of anabolic steroids,» says Havnes.

Stronger and less body fat

Many shelp they had began with anabolic steroids because they wanted bigger muscles and also less body fat.

Several that contended started with AAS after finding that the effect of working out had actually stagnated after years of intense training.

Some had only engaged in training for a brief while and wanted a shortreduced to development in structure muscle. This goal consisted of both participants through and also without fitness or bodybuilding competitions, defines Havnes.

Depfinished on male advice

Most of the womales in the research were presented to AAS by male partners who likewise supplied the drug, or by friends or coaches/trainers. The mea period of the women was 23 once they began as users.

They took the drugs in the form of pills or injections. They took reduced doseras than males perform, generally taking routine breaks.

But they all encountered undesirable side effects, among some also after an impulsive, short-term usage.

Many of the masculine traits persisted after they stopped making use of the hormone drugs.

«It is worrisome that the women trusted the knowexactly how of these males via regard to doseras, which drugs they supplied and also the duration of the treatments,» states Havnes.

The substances can result in significant physical and also emotional side effects, such as cardiovascular diseases, depression, tension and also psychoses.

«The woguys were generally not also pertained to about the threats for their livers or hearts. They were more afraid of masculinizing side effects,» says Havnes.

Many type of had breast implants

Smaller breasts and even more facial and body hair were widespread side impacts. Some were troubled by problems with facial acne.

«Their breasts can shrink because of inadequate subcutaneous fat and the affect of steroids on breastern tconcern,» explains Havnes.

But the woguys skilled these side impacts as easier to address than others.

«They can neutralize this by removing undesirable hair growth and also acquiring breastern implants. Many of those that contended had these implants,» says Havnes.

Ashamed of deeper voices

The woguys were more involved about their deeper voices.

«Tbelow were examples of the voice acquiring so deep and also gravelly that as soon as they put order on the phone, the perboy at the other finish believed they were a guy,» states Havnes.

Many type of felt ashamed around their deeper voices and also regretted the substance use on these grounds.

Couple of of the womales communicated openly around their usage of AAS with their families or friends inside and also external fitness circles. So, the change in voice could be what tipped others off about their use of the illegal substance.

Some did indevelop that their voices obtained much less deep after quitting usage of the drug but it still had actually not went back to its previous, feminine pitch.

Bigger muscles and sex-related desire

The woguys that had more impulsively opted to use steroids were very unall set for the resulting masculine traits. Six of the womales still offered the steroids and also felt the preferred effect overshadowed the adverse side effects.

Many of them reported an boosted libido after consumption and they considered this a positive aspect. But that was contingent on their life case.

«It relied on whether they were in a partnership. Those who were via a guy who also provided steroids were specifically pleased by the enhanced desire,» claims Havnes.

Increased libido was contrarily felt as negative for those doing not have a partner or if the consumption caused genital transforms.

Clitoris prospered, durations stopped

Many uncovered that their clitoris and to some extent their labia had actually grvery own. An enlarged clitoris reduced their self-esteem.

But these reactions were partially connected to exactly how their partner reacted. If the companion was positive about the change this could counterbalance some of the women’s negative feelings.

Some competent a tightening of their genitals.

«This could make intercourse challenging,» claims Havnes.

AAS intake likewise brought about irconsistent menstruation or its total cessation. But this was not viewed as a trouble - on the contrary.

The stoppage of menstruation was a sign that the drugs were efficient. When their durations changed, they took that as a authorize that it was safe to begin using the AAS again.

Felt much better psychologically

Anabolic-androgenic steroids also brought about emotional transforms which the women could deem positive. Many kind of revealed that they had come to be even more self-assured and also fit.

Many kind of acquired control of difficult emovements that had actually afflicted them, for circumstances significant traumas.

Reduced empathy and emotional flattening were competent by some as positive alters.

«One of the womales shelp this assisted her to isolate herself and also focus on her education, task, work-outs and preparations for competitions,» states Havnes.

Many type of of the women had actually been troubled via tension and the feelings of inferiority. Many said that being part of a gym and training environment was essential for feeling they were in control; they shed their anxiety once they began via steroids.

Many also had actually been plagued with eating disorders, and also they felt it was healthier to have a muscular body sustained on steroids than starving themselves to get thin.

However before, some of the women that had used AAS for a lengthy time endured psychological troubles and also significant physical disorders. This triggered them to quit utilizing the drug.

That shelp, their social belonging to training circles was bolstered by the progress they made using steroids.

Right to assist without police involvement

The researcher says users are not aided by condemcountry.

«We need to understand also that many enjoy a positive impact for a stretch of their stays as soon as using AAS,» states Havnes.

She would certainly prefer to encourage MDs and also wellness officials to ask questions.

«The woguys that have provided steroids can make appointments through their physician to treat acne, missed durations or psychological afflictions from long-time usage. It’s necessary for health personnel to query whether they use AAS, what urged them to do so and also whether they desire help to quit,» she claims.

Havnes asserts that wellness personnel should satisfy individuals through understanding without condemcountry or stigmatization.

Participants in the study

The participants were recruited via social media in open up and also concealed forum groups, posters and also flyers.

Three of the participants were coaches or personal trainers. Salso were students or functioned health or various other care services. Three operated within education or stupassed away for tasks in that sector.

Ages ranged from 19 to 46 when they were interperceived.

On average they had actually supplied AAS for eight years before quitting or being interregarded by the researchers. Many had actually offered the drug for periods off and also on. A few had supplied AAS consistently from one to 5 years.

The examination is part of a bigger research around irreversible usage of anabolic steroids and its effect on the brain and behaviour, led by Astrid Bjørnebekk from Rusforsk, Oslo University Hospital. Ingrid Havnes works at Nasjonal kompetansetjeneste TSB, which encounters multidisciplinary specialized therapy of substance abuse and dependency disorders at the Oslo University Hospital.

Outlawed in 2013

When anabolic steroids were consisted of in Norway’s regulations and also national ideologies to dealing with substance abuse in 2013, users were all at once readily available aid in quitting and also receiving therapy of their physical and psychological side results in the specialist health solutions.

Oslo University Hospital provides individual indevelopment conversations about wellness dangers and therapy. To date they have had such meetings through 600 anabolic steroid customers and also their families, increates Havnes. In these they are told the health solutions do not increate the police or their employer about their intake of the illegal substance.

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Nonetheless, the criminalisation of anabolic steroids and also various other doping substances is felt to have actually set up a obstacle against call through the health solutions, according to male users of the substances.

Translated by Glenn Ostling


Ingrid Amalia Havnes et al.: Anabolic-androgenic steroid usage among women – A qualitative study on experiences of masculinizing, gonadal and sex-related results. International Journal of Drug Policy, 28 July, 2020.