Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are synthetic derivatives of testosterone, a naturally occurring male sex hormone. They not only possess an anabolic (muscle and strength building) component, but an androgenic (affecting sexual characteristics) element as well. To put it bluntly, steroids are used to make men, manlier. However, AAS use can also provide significant muscular and aesthetic benefits for female users. This segment will explore some of the reasons AAS interest women, as well as: the efficacy of female usage; related benefits and side effects; the best compounds and dosages as well as; other information those considering usage will find invaluable.
One of the most prevalent questions in many steroid forums is, "Is it possible that I'm a steroid non-responder?" This question is the direct result of a lack of user knowledge. Hormones, regardless of type, are chemical messengers that deliver very specific activity determining signals. These constant signals are precisely en- and decoded by various receptor cells throughout the body. As long as certain variables are properly aligned, the correct administration of anabolic steroids will effectively elicit a muscle building response. And therein lays the real question, “What are these variables, and how does one go about aligning them properly?”
STEROIDS + KNOWLEDGE = RESULTS Appropriate steroid administration includes using the proper goal-oriented compound(s), dosage(s), timing & duration (SEE BELOW: "Best AAS for Women”) Appropriate muscle fiber breakdown includes lifting heavy, effectively, and regularly (SEE WEIGHT TRAINING: " Muscle
SOME REASONS WOMEN TAKE STEROIDS
Although there are a variety of reasons women elect to use steroids, the following have been found to be the most significant.
SELF-IMAGE In the words of the legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes, "Often the easy, obvious answer is also the correct one.", thus many women take steroids to become more attractive and to exert greater sex appeal. Another reason can be found in a condition known as 'muscle dysmorphia', a disorder in which a person becomes obsessed with the idea that he or she is not muscular enough. Those who suffer from this condition tend to hold delusions that they are "skinny", “fat” or "too small" when they are often possess above average musculature. Dysmorphia is sometimes referred to as ‘Bigorexia’ or ‘Reverse Anorexia Nervosa’, and is a very specific type of body dysmorphic disorder. Muscle dysmorphia is NOT a simple obsession with working out or bodybuilding. To be clinically diagnosed as muscle dysmorphic, a person must exhibit symptoms of the ‘type’ and ‘degree’ outlined within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM IV), and not merely be overly interested in their physique or engaging in fitness behaviors that other people would consider excessive. Some of the inclusion criteria for the disorder are:
Surprisingly, many women use steroids because they feel like a need to protect themselves, as a result victims of rape often begin taking AAS. In a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) study of women weightlifters, twice as many of those who had been raped reported using anabolic steroids and/or another purported muscle-building drug, as compared to those who had not been raped. Moreover, almost all rape victims reported a marked increase their bodybuilding activities after the attack, in belief that being bigger and stronger would discourage further attacks by making them intimidating and/or unattractive. In another study involving 75 female subjects, 10 reported being raped as their reason for using AAS to increase muscle strength and size (Gruber, Pope; 1999). The rape victims in most cases believed they would never be able to trust a man again and consequently replaced these relationships with bodybuilding activities. Of the 10 admitted rape victims, 5 said that prior to the experience they had no intention of ever using steroids, and believed they were a sign of weakness and an unwillingness to achieve goals through hard work.
Of course AAS provide tremendous performance enhancement benefits, and though men garner the bulk of such scandals, professional and amateur female athletes also administer steroids for this purpose. Numerous female athletes secretly employ AAS as a way of enhancing their overall performance, but one arena in which this usage is not so secret is that of competitive bodybuilding. Anyone viewing an upper level competition will immediately and accurately infer that these women are using anabolic steroids. However, there has been substantial decline in the interest of female bodybuilding, in lieu of the increased attention to women’s fitness and figure competitions. Although the extreme mass and muscularity of men is largely viewed as a great spectacle, the trend for women has become one of balance between muscularity and femininity. But make no mistake, these less than gargantuan physiques are still quite often steroidally enhanced, albeit specifically tempered with the proper AAS compounds, dosages, diets and training regimens (all to be discussed later).
PREPARING FOR AAS
It is always a good idea to work with a physician who is knowledgeable about and aware of, your steroid usage because they can provide valuable safeguards, including appropriate testing. Since this is often not the case, you should have baseline labs performed prior to beginning any AAS cycle. These tests will serve the dual purpose of checking your health, and marking the desired points for returning to normalcy after steroid discontinuation. Labs can include a variety of measures, but be sure to log the liver profile, lipid screen, T3, T4, estrogen & testosterone levels and ratio, as well as baseline heart rate and blood pressure readings.
Reproductive system functioning can be a major concern, as AAS typically impact the menstrual cycle. Changes can vary from minor menstrual irregularities (i.e. inconsistent days, variable heaviness, periodic spotting, etc.) to the complete absence of menstruation for several months, depending on the steroid types, dosages and durations. The charting of menstruation details for a couple months prior to administering AAS is also a good idea for noting normalcy.
THE BENEFITS OF USING AAS
As you'd probably expect, women receive many of the same physical, physiological and psychological benefits as men which typically include:
“Overall, a woman will experience an increase in leanness, muscle definition, muscle mass, weight, and strength. The effectiveness of training will become better for she will have an improved recovery rate. She will become more aggressive, have a heightened sexual drive and a better self-esteem. But there is more to using anabolic steroids than just appearing to be the person you have always imagined yourself to be.”
- Strauss, Liggett, Lanese; 1985
POSSIBLE STEROID SIDE EFFECTS
In biology and medicine, ‘Virilization’ refers to the development of secondary changes, or a set of anatomical structures and features unique to males and females that are not directly related (and therefore secondary) to the production of sex cells. Most virilization is produced by androgens - any natural or synthetic compound (including steroids) that stimulates or controls the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics. Some negative side effects are permanent and others go away when the drug is discontinued. When it comes to the severity of negative side effects, the type, dosage and duration of AAS play significant roles. The proper management of these variables can lead to satisfyingly successful cycles.
The preponderance of research indicates that unlike male users who experience only a few (if any) of the numerous possible steroid side effects, women (with their estrogen-based endocrine/pituitary systems) are far likelier to experience more of the following associated side effects:
HOW TO USE STEROIDS
Most of the women reading this article are probably doing so for figure and/or fitness enhancement, but regardless of the 'WHY' this section will provide the 'HOW', how that is to improve your quality of life through the safe and proper administration of AAS.
Permit me to begin by imparting some fundamental knowledge:
BEST AAS FOR WOMEN
Conventional wisdom holds that only a couple of select oral steroids should be recommended as safe for female usage. This conclusion is primarily based on said oral's inherently low anabolic/androgenic ratios and mild to moderate liver toxicity, which is also why actual Testosterone esters should never be used by women (who aren’t bodybuilders). Whenever a dosage seems too high, as evidenced by unacceptable or intolerable side effects, its immediate reduction typically corrects the problem. It should also be noted that like all goods and services, prices and availability will vary. Anavar (Oxandrolone), though a perennial favorite among steroid users is often nearly twice as expensive as Winstrol (Stanozolol or Stanabol) another favorite. Here are some proven steroid protocols and their resulting effects:
COMMON SIDE EFFECTS
Muscle gain; increased strength, hardness,
Possible gastro discomfort, decreased libido
10 - 20mgs/a day
8 - 12wks
pump, stamina, vascularity & fat loss.
Slight muscle gain; increased
Possible hair loss or thinning, joint pain
strength & hardness.
As stated earlier, there is no need to taper steroid usage. All drugs have half-lives, the amount of time it takes for one half of the drug to evacuate the body via the three methods of absorption, degradation and elimination. How the drug is administered (frequency) should always be based on its half-life. For example both Winstrol and Anavar have short half-lives lasting less than half a day. To keep the blood serum levels of these drugs high (for optimal effect) each should be taken twice daily. For example:
Experimentation is important because of the varying effects of different hormones. Below is an illustration of a steroid cycle in the form of a stack or cocktail. As mentioned earlier, users exercise such protocols to enhance their results by exploiting the synergy of two or more compounds. Stacks also minimize side effects, by reducing the amount of harsher compounds while using the same or greater total AAS milligrams. For instance, Winstrol can be hard on the joints and hair, but when combined with the milder Anavar (as in the example below) this risk is significantly reduced, while additional Anavar benefits can be simultaneously realized at the very same desired 10mg AAS dosage.
Orals are a good choice for the needle phobic, but if you don’t mind shots Primobolan Depot (Methenolone Enanthate) is a great option. This hormone is primarily used for gaining and preserving lean muscle tissue. The reason Primo is so effective in these areas has to do with its ability to augment nitrogen retention. As a result of this property, many competitors have successfully used Primo to retain muscle during calorie restrictive pre-contest dieting. Unfortunately, Primo comes with two rather daunting caveats: 1) it is a very expensive chemical to obtain, a price which is usually reflected in the cost to the average consumer and; 2) it is one of the most commonly counterfeited steroids on the black market. Nevertheless, if attained this steroid is well worth the effort.
IF TEST…THEN PROP! The dangers of exogenous testosterone within the female body cannot be overstated! But since there will always be those who go AMA (Against Medical Advice), if you must experiment with Test be sure to make your choice Testosterone Propionate. This would be the only choice for women who simply must try testosterone for one all important reason. Should adverse side effects become problematic or otherwise intolerable the propionate ester will rapidly vacate the body, and hopefully completely reverse any negative effects or conditions.
Prop should be injected everyday or every other day and appropriately divided according to the desired total weekly dosage. A cycle using this hormone should run for a minimum of 6 weeks. The most pronounced negative side effects include: clitoral enlargement; excessive facial & body hair; deepening of voice; oily skin; menstrual abnormalities; hair loss or thinning; depression, confusion and; acne on the face, back or shoulders. It is very important to monitor oneself closely while using a hormone as androgenically potent as testosterone.
FEMALE AAS RESEARCH - The media and naysayers have been rejecting steroids since the 1930's, publically spouting negative propaganda, while privately marveling at the wondrous physiques and feats of athleticism and strength it produced. Since women are a relatively new addition to the steroid scene, and due to the obvious ethical issues surrounding the perceived potential for harm, there are very few medical journal studies relating to the effects of anabolic steroids on female subjects. Sadly, the studies which do exist, serve only to complicate matters by often using small sample sizes, and insubstantial control and placebo groups that yield largely inconclusive results.
Studies published to date on androgen replacement therapy in women do not indicate detrimental effects on body composition, lipids or vascular function. The key words here are " replacement therapy". Testosterone derivatives have been developed for clinical hormonal replacement therapy in men. Thus, few forms of AAS are approved for women because the pharmokentics (the study of the action or effects of drugs on human beings) and efficacy of usage on women have not been well researched. Therefore, very little is actually known and published about the short- and long-term effects of non-medicinal AAS usage regarding women. Consequently, even less is clear regarding the supraphysiological (amounts greater than normally found in the body) doses which female bodybuilders, competitors and recreational users have been known to administer.
Although interpolation has been used, the research conducted on male users can't possibly be accurately correlated to females when there are virtually no grounds for comparison. Consequently, the alleged research-based information concerning the adverse physiological, physical, behavioral, and psychological effects of low dosage supraphysiological AAS on women is at best inaccurate, and at worst wildly speculative.
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