When most people think of steroids, they think of male pro athletes with enormous, bulging muscles. But there is a thriving subculture of women bodybuilders, and many female bodybuilders do in fact use anabolic steroids to build their impressive sets of muscles. While steroid abuse isn’t as prevalent among women athletes as it is among men, there are certainly women who abuse steroids. One study found that women weight lifters who were survivors of rape were twice as likely to use steroids as those who were not. The women cited a need to protect themselves through strength as their reason for using the drug. Many women who use steroids also suffer from muscle dysmorphia, a disorder similar to anorexia in which the person’s perception of their own body becomes distorted—in this case, skewed toward feeling that they need to get bigger.
The bad news for women steroid users is that steroids are even more dangerous for women than they are for men. Part of this has to do with hormonal chemistry. Steroids are specifically designed to exaggerate the male secondary sex characteristics: hairiness, deep voice, etc. In women, they also exaggerate male sex characteristics; in fact, steroids are used to help female-to-male transgendered people transition into looking and feeling more male. The effects of long-term steroid use on the female body include enlargement of the clitoris, deepening of the voice, growth of excessive body and facial hair, male-pattern baldness, decreased breast size, and acne. Other effects include increased cholesterol, liver and kidney damage, and the severe mood swings commonly known as “’roid rage.” Most women who use steroids also have abnormal periods, if they get periods at all. Steroid use can be extremely dangerous in pregnant women, because it retards the grown of the fetus. Women steroid users are also at higher risk for osteoporosis, because the drug causes calcium to leach out of the bones; heart disease; and immune disorders. Because women’s sex hormones also play a role in regulating the immune system, steroid use can actually render women far more vulnerable to viruses and infections—a common danger with those who inject the anabolic steroids.
If you’re a female steroid user, it’s important for you to get help before your health is further endangered. Steroids are addictive, and trying to quit “cold turkey” can lead to very severe and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms. The best way to recover from steroid addiction is at an accredited drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility like Archstone Recovery Center of the Palm Beaches in Lantana, Florida, under the care of specialized, expert medical staff who understand the particular challenges facing female steroid addicts. Women steroid addicts from New York (NY), New Jersey (NJ), Washington, DC, Philadelphia (PA), Baltimore (MD), Florida (FL), New England, and all over the United States come to Archstone Recovery for help in taking back control of their bodies and their lives. If you’re ready to get clean and rebuild your life, contact Archstone Recovery today.