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What are the side effects of anabolic steroids?

Anabolic steroids can cause a variety of side effects, some of which may be serious.

Seek emergency medical attention or talk to your doctor right away if you experience any of the following side effects while taking anabolic steroids:
  • symptoms of an allergic reaction, including breathing difficulty, hives, a rash, itching, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat;
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • tongue pain
  • abdominal pain
  • stomach pain
  • bone pain
  • pain in your side
  • swelling in your legs, ankles, feet, arms, or hands
  • weakness or tingling in your arms or legs
  • fast but weak pulse
  • slow heartbeat
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • rapid but shallow breathing
  • confusion
  • loss of appetite
  • unusual weight loss or weight gain
  • extreme thirst
  • strange or unpleasant breath odor
  • yellowing of your eyes or skin
  • muscle weakness
  • muscle twitching
  • flu-like symptom, including sore throat or fever
  • bloody vomit
  • small red or purple spots on your body or inside your nose or mouth
  • an enlarged clitoris in females or an enlarged penis in males
  • swelling or pain in the testes or a shrinking of the testes
  • increased frequency of erections or erections that do not go away
  • hoarseness
  • a deepening of your voice
  • irregular menstrual periods
  • enlarged or sore breasts
  • unusual hair growth or hair loss, including facial hair
  • pale, clammy, or cool skin
  • changes in skin color, including unexplained darkening of skin
  • dark-colored urine
  • dark- or light-colored stools or tarry stools
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • difficulty urinating
  • pain while urinating
  • in children who are still growing, a slowing or lack of normal bone growth
Other potential side effects may be bothersome but are less likely to be serious. These include:
  • feeling depressed
  • feeling nervous or anxious
  • acne
  • oily skin
  • muscle cramps
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • feeling of stomach or abdominal fullness
  • chills
  • sleeping difficulty, such as having trouble falling or staying asleep
  • unusual increase or decrease in libido or sexual ability
Talk to your doctor if these side effects are severe or long-lasting.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.