Whether you’re taking steroids to pack on mass or you’ve been officially prescribed steroids by a doctor to help with a condition, regular testing is important. But getting tested, especially if you are using to achieve your bodybuilding goals, can be a little nerve-wracking.
The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be for the tests. So this short article will talk about the side effects of steroids and what kinds of tests are available, including testosterone testing, to help you track your health and progress carefully.
Signs of Steroid Abuse or Excess Use
Knowing the side effects can help you recognize a problem early on before it becomes serious. It’s important to understand the cause and effect of steroids so that you can accurately understand what might be a cause for concern and what is normal.
- Very severe acne
- Enlarged breasts (in men)
- Extreme aggression and/or aggressive behavior
- Hair growth on the face (in women)
- Stunted growth (in those under 21)
- Vomiting blood
- Yellow eyes or skin
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
When buying steroids, one of the biggest risks (especially when buying online) is that the product you actually get is fake or too old to have any potency left. Even worse, fake or expired steroids can cause serious problems, meaning you get terrible side effects and absolutely zero benefits.
Fortunately, you don’t have to learn the hard way whether or not your product is legitimate because there are now home testing kits you can buy online to test the potency and purity of your steroids before you inject (or ingest) them!
All they require is one drop of sample. Unfortunately, these can be a little expensive but you will save money (and your health) in the long run by being able to find and know with absolute certainty that the product you are using is totally legitimate.
These tests can also tell you whether or not a vial contains what the label actually claims is in it. Often, especially in mixes, there may be a sufficient dose of one steroid but too little or none of the other.
Whenever you’re putting something into your body, you should be 100% free what’s in it and whether or not it is what it claims to be. And once you find a product that passes the test, you know you have a reliable source that you can keep going back to. That’s far better than wasting money on a product that is not at all what it claims to be.
Testosterone Level Test
After the age of 30, your testosterone levels will naturally start to drop. For the most part, this is nothing to worry about and it will not cause any long term side effects. However, in some men, it can drop to levels that are too low to maintain basic functions.
On the other hand, the use of steroids can send your testosterone levels sky high. High testosterone can cause its own set of problems. This is why having your testosterone levels tested regularly, especially if you’re a male over 30 or someone using steroids is so important.
With testing, you can find out exactly where your levels are and better understand how your current levels are affecting your overall health and workout results. Here’s what you can expect during a test given by your doctor:
Most often between 7 am and 10 am because this is when hormone levels are highest and easiest to detect.
Repeat testing to track changes over the course of a day.
A small blood sample is taken (using a needle).
You can also get testing kits that you can do at home. These test your saliva instead of your blood so they are less painful and easier to do. However, you have to mail the samples to a lab and wait for a few days or a few weeks to get your results. More importantly, testing saliva is not always as reliable as blood.
In some studies, it has been shown to be just as reliable. In other studies, it was less reliable. So if you absolutely need to be 100% sure, do a blood test with the doctor. If you are just testing for an estimate, you can go ahead and use whichever method you prefer.
Because steroids can cause damage to the liver, it’s important to get a testosterone liver exam done regularly. While liver damage is a common side effect, it’s not as easy to recognize on your own as extra hair growth or breast growth are. That’s why testing is necessary.
Here’s what to expect at a liver exam:
The exam is going to check for key enzymes. These may include Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), Alkaline phosphatase, 5’ nucleotidase, gamma-glutamyl trasnpeptidase (GGT). The higher the levels of these two, the more likely there is damage to the liver.
They will test liver function and enzyme levels by taking a blood sample.
If you are taking steroids as a regular part of your training program, you should get liver exams done on a regular basis. That means at least once per year but preferably once every 6 months. And if you notice yellowing skin or eyes, have a test done immediately.
Testing is an important part of understanding how steroids are affecting your body. Regular testing can help you spot negative side effects before they cause long term damage and also help you keep close tabs on your testosterone levels so that you can keep that at healthy levels that allow you to pack on muscle without putting yourself at risk.