Steroid Detection: What You Need to Know Before Taking That Test

Steroid Detection: What You Need to Know Before Taking That Test

Steroid testing is a pretty common occurrence in the world of professional athletes. If you are hoping to take part in a competition, you may have to undergo a drug test for steroids. So it is best to be prepared for what to expect.

In this article, we’ll talk about steroid detection. What kind of tests are there? How do they detect steroids? How long does it take for steroids to leave the system? And other key information that is important for those who might need to do a steroid drug test in the future.

Steroid Drug Tests

There are a few different tests used to measure steroid use in athletes. Fortunately, the majority of steroid users do so to achieve their own personal bodybuilding goals rather than to compete professionally. And as long as you don’t plan to compete professionally, you will probably not ever have to deal with testosterone detection and other steroid tests.

urine test for steroid detection

Urinte tests are by far the most common ways to test steroid levels in athletes. Getting the sample is easy and testing is equally easy. The level of steroids in a person’s system will be reflected in the level of steroids in the urine sample. This is true even after the person has stopped using steroids.

There will still be some steroids present in the urine for a time after the person stopped. The length of time that steroids stay present in urine depends on exactly which one is used. You can find a list of steroid detection times for many of the more common steroids below.

In some cases, these tests occur at regular times which makes it easy to simply time your cycles appropriately so that nothing is detected in the test. However, to prevent this, some leagues choose to test randomly so that the timing is unpredictable.

In addition to urine tests, it is possible to do hair follicle tests. Steroids and other drugs used by a person are stored in hair follicles and since hair (hopefully) remains on your head for many, many years, this can test can be used to determine whether the person took steroids years and years in the past.

However, that doesn’t help much in figuring whether or not the person is still using steroids currently. For that, a urine test is needed. It’s also much more difficult to test a hair sample than it is to test a urine sample. For these reasons, it’s far more common to see urine tests.

blood test for steroid detection

One of the most accurate ways to detect current steroid use is through a blood test. This can very accurately measure what your testosterone levels are and even detect the difference between the testosterone that was naturally produced by your body and the testosterone that was injected or ingested through steroid supplements.

Blood testing is still not widely used by sports league for the purpose of testing athletes because it is more difficult to get the sample and much more expensive than urine tests. However, it is actually highly recommended that steroid users get blood tests done on a regular basis simply for their own benefit.

It is usually recommended that you get your blood work done before you start taking steroids so that you know exactly what your base level is before starting. Then, once you start, it’s recommended to get blood work done every 3-4 months so that you can regularly check exactly what your levels are.

This helps you keep close track of how the steroids are affecting your body and gives you the information you need to make any adjustments. That could mean lowering the dose because your levels have gone far higher than they need to be or increasing the dose because your levels have started to dip.

It’s also useful for tracking your health and the side effects that steroids have so that you can catch potential problems early before they become too serious. In the end, steroid usage is all about balance.

testosterone testing

Just as a recipe for a dish requires certain ratios of ingredients, your body also needs a certain ratio of hormones to function at its optimal levels. When one hormone shoots up too high and gets out of balance, it can cause your body to stop functioning as it should. The same is true if a hormone drops too low.

With regular blood tests, you’ll be able to constantly adjust and tweak to maintain optimal levels.

Most often, the tests detect steroid usage by measuring the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. This is known as the T:E ratio. In most people, this is usually a 1:1 ratio but it can be as high as 4:1 even in people who do not use steroids. However, with a ratio of 4:1 or higher, you will usually be asked to take an additional test to confirm whether the higher ratio is due to steroid use or just naturally high testosterone levels.

Steroid Detection Times

The time frame in which steroids can be detected in your system will depend on which of the tests are being used and which steroids you were using. Some can detect steroids that you used years ago. Others can only detect more recent use.

steroid detection time

As mentioned, the most common test method is to test testosterone levels in the urine. The following steroid detection times for different steroids are in reference to this urine test:

As you can see, detection times vary pretty widely depending what you are taking. If you think you may have to do a steroid drug test in the future, you’ll have to plan accordingly so that you will have enough time for the substance to clear your system.

When Steroid Tests Don’t Work

There are a lot of limitations to steroid testing. Urine testing is the easiest but it can only detect fairly recent usage of steroids. Hair follicle and other testing methods can detect if steroids were used years ago but they don’t tell you much about whether the person is still using them.

green tea to beat steroid detection

Beyond those complications, there is also the problem that most tests cannot detect every single kind of steroid. They can only detect the ones that they have been designed to detect so if someone is using a newer steroid, the test will not recognize it at all.

Moreover, T:E ratio testing can be manipulated in a number of ways. In the past, steroid using athletes would change the ratio by simply taking epitestosterone supplements before the test. This raised the amount of epitestosterone and with both substances at higher levels, the ratio would be an acceptable level.

Some swear by green tea which has helped some athletes beat detection because it prevent the enzyme that latches on to testosterone and carries the hormone into the urine. This effectively decreases the level of testosterone in the urine which can help lower the ratio to acceptable levels.

There are a number of other methods athletes will use to manipulate a test so that they pass it even though they are actually using steroids. This ranges from the more simple methods like taking diuretics to dilute the urine to the more elaborate methods like getting blood transfusions to literally replace their blood with clean blood before a test.

blood transfusion to manipulate steroid detection test

Final Word

Steroid detection can be a stressful prospect for many professional athletes using steroids. However, for the many who use it for their own personal goals, it’s most likely never going to become an issue. And even so, there are many limitations to testing that can make the tests unable to actually detect steroid levels accurately.

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