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Steroids and ED: Why It Happens and How To Treat It

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Steroid overuse or abuse can come with a whole lot of unwanted side effects, ranging from breast development to increased risk of heart disease, and even liver and kidney damage. But, another potential negative effect of anabolic steroid use includes trouble in the bedroom for men.

Below, we will cover the basics of anabolic steroid use and erectile dysfunction, including what an anabolic steroid is, the mechanism behind anabolic steroid use and ED, and ways that you can go about treating ED from steroid use.

What is an anabolic steroid?

There are lots of natural chemicals and medications that are technically classified as steroids, including the estrogen your body produces, the hydrocortisone cream you used on that skin rash, and even vitamin D. But, when people talk about “steroid use” they are likely referring to anabolic steroids. Or, what someone might use to get ahead at the gym or in a physical sport.

Anabolic steroids include testosterone, as well as synthetic medications that are similar in structure to testosterone and function in a similar way. 

There are good reasons why you may be prescribed an anabolic steroid for a medical concern, including boys with delayed puberty, men with hypogonadism, patients who need to gain weight after a severe illness or injury, and sometimes even for certain types of anemia.

However, anabolic steroids are commonly seen used for their ability to increase muscle mass and athletic ability in bodybuilders or athletes. When anabolic steroids are used in people who do not need them for a medical reason, or they are used in high amounts or long-term, they may cause a list of negative consequences, including ongoing erectile dysfunction.

Anabolic steroids use and sexual function study

One study gathered questionnaire answers from 231 men who used anabolic steroids, including questions on their sexual functionality while on and off of the anabolic steroids.

The study found that while sexual functionality may be protected during the “on” or “use” periods of using anabolic steroids, symptoms such as decreased libido or erectile dysfunction were reported more frequently after discontinuing the anabolic steroids. These sexual concerns were also worse in those who had a more frequent or longer use of anabolic steroids.

Why is anabolic steroid use connected to ED development?

It may not be very clear to some why a medication that helps improve muscle gain and athletic performance may end up leading to sexual dysfunction. This seems like opposite effects, right?

Well, it all comes down to how your body helps to try and self-regulate using down-regulation strategies. 

As we mentioned before, anabolic steroids are very similar in structure to testosterone (which is also an anabolic steroid, just a natural one), and this is how they produce testosterone-like effects on the body. Your body recognizes this similarity and interprets these anabolic steroids as additional testosterone in the body. 

So, if you are a man who already has a normal amount of testosterone being produced daily but you use additional anabolic steroids, this triggers the body to think that levels are now too high, and that it can crank down your natural testosterone production to help get back to a “normal” range. 

Ultimately, this can suppress your natural testosterone production, and, if this goes on long term, your body may struggle to recover even after the outside steroid source is stopped. Remember the saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it”? That can be applied here to some extent.

Some anabolic steroid users try to take breaks from steroid use to help avoid these issues. But, if anabolic steroids are overused or abused, this may not fully help avoid these issues.

Often, the erectile difficulties may not be noticed until the steroid use is stopped, since the additional anabolic steroids are helping to cover up the issue at the time. But, once the anabolic steroids are stopped, erectile concerns may surface. This may also go farther than just erectile dysfunction and reduced libido, and can cause testicular shrinkage or reduced fertility in some.

How to help treat ED from anabolic steroid use

Step one to helping to recover from ED induced by anabolic steroid use is to stop using anabolic steroids (unless prescribed by your doctor for a medical problem). The study above suggests that sexual effects are worsened by increased or prolonged use of anabolic steroids. So, while you may enjoy the “covering up” of the issue while you continue use, you are making things more difficult to recover from in the future.

Once the anabolic steroids are stopped, your body may slowly start recovering and try to start getting back into your normal testosterone production. Although, some declines may not be able to recover.

It is also important to talk with a doctor about any ED symptoms from anabolic steroid use so that they can help you address your concerns.

To help improve any ED symptoms, you may be able to use prescription medications like Sildenafil (generic Viagra) or Tadalafil (generic Cialis) to improve your sexual concerns. These medications do not have a hormonal component, but they do help improve penile smooth muscle relaxation and blood flow, and can help most men improve their ED symptoms.

Strut Health ED medications prescribed online

At Strut, we offer prescription PDE-5 inhibitor medications Sildenafil (generic Viagra) and Tadalafil (generic Cialis) online after we pair you with a U.S. licensed doctor to ensure that these are a good fit for you.

Some men experiencing sexual concerns from anabolic steroid use may find relief by using these PDE-5 medications. But, since these are prescription-only, and are not a good fit for everyone, it is important to source them properly and only use them under the guidance of a doctor.

If you are interested in seeing if a PDE-5 inhibitor is a good fit for you, simply select the medication you would like to use, and complete a free questionnaire-based doctor consultation in under 15 minutes. Our U.S. licensed doctors will review your information and put together a treatment plan, if it is a good choice for you. Then, your prescription medication will be shipped to your front door with our free shipping. If you have any questions during your treatment or need adjustments on following refills, our team and doctors are available for free and unlimited follow-up consultations.

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