Anabolic Steroids Vs Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)

anabolic steroids vs Testosterone replacement therapy

Anabolic steroids vs testosterone replacement therapy

Low testosterone can significantly affect your body, and getting your testosterone levels up can alleviate these symptoms. If you have been experiencing low testosterone and considering options to correct it, you might have come across people talking about anabolic steroids vs Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).

While both of these can increase the level of testosterone in your body, they are not at all the same. 

Firstly, these approaches have very different end goals and, consequently, very different patient bases. In the following sections of this article, we will try to get to the details of both these approaches and see whether one is a significantly better option than the other for someone who has low testosterone. 

Anabolic steroids and their uses

Before even trying to understand how both these methods can increase testosterone, we must familiarise ourselves with anabolic steroids. 

All anabolic steroids are synthetic or semi-synthetic molecules that mimic similar effects to testosterone or DHT in your body. So, technically, these molecules are designer versions of testosterone and can act as testosterone once injected or ingested in the form of a pill. Anabolic steroids technically also covers testosterone itself, but it is usually only used to describe testosterone when higher than natural doses are used for performance or aesthetic uses.

While anabolic steroids are very potent and can give some great short-term results by mimicking the effect of testosterone, they do come with a host of negative side effects as well. Anabolic steroids are geared toward people who want to build muscles and improve performance.

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ADAM Questionnaire

Low Testosterone Test

The ADAM questionnaire has been shown to have 88% sensitivity in testing for low testosterone.

Anabolic steroids vs TRT differences

The most important distinction between anabolic steroids vs TRT is that the latter is a medical treatment designed to help raise your testosterone levels back to normal and anabolic steroids usually rely on compounds that can cause serious side effects. The other major difference is that anabolic steroids are usually used in very high doses that can exacerbate side effects and health problems. This is why testosterone can be used as an anabolic steroid and for TRT, but the only real difference is the dose used and the end goal.

TRT is used if your body cannot produce enough testosterone on its own and needs some supplementation of testosterone levels to return you to normal levels.

TRT is often prescribed to people with low testosterone once they start experiencing the side effects of having a too low concentration of the hormone in their blood. Some side effects of low testosterone that warrant TRT include-

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Low mood and depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased libido
  • Low energy
  • Reduced strength

TRT is available in many forms, including injections, transdermal patches, and even gels. The most common route is via intramuscular injection due to its near instantaneous effect. 

While anabolic steroids aim to raise your body’s testosterone levels beyond the normal levels, TRT seeks to bring the level up to the normal and never beyond. Thus, TRT is designed to help men who have problems producing enough testosterone and is not indicated if you already have a healthy testosterone level in your body. 

As you can imagine, both these treatments intend to raise testosterone levels but for entirely different purposes. Men opting for anabolic steroids are looking to bulk up and build muscles over a rather short duration of time, while men prescribed with TRT aim to get their testosterone levels back to normal.

Are there any side effects of anabolic steroids? 

One of the biggest problems with anabolic steroids is that they are often used without any medical supervision, which opens the possibility of major side effects. Although the efficiency of anabolic steroids in increasing muscle mass and strength can’t be denied, they do come with a host of side effects that can range from mild to severe. Some of the common side effects of using anabolic steroids as a means to increase your testosterone level are-

  • Skin problems, including acne outbreaks
  • Shrinking of testicles
  • Infertility through a decline in the quality and number of sperm produced
  • Issues with sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction due to increased prolactin or oestrogen levels
  • Development of gynaecomastia (breast tissue growth in men) or itchy nipples
  • Increased risk of getting a heart attack
  • Thickening of the blood
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Prostate growth
  • Hair loss
  • Addiction

It is crucial to remember that your body is a precisely tuned system with hormones to do specific roles. Although your body needs hormones for its functioning, having too much of certain hormones can cause issues throughout the body – if you pump your body full of hormones that it does not need, it can have dangerous consequences. 

Hence, pumping your body full of anabolic steroids is not a good idea as it can easily disturb the normal hormonal balance and create havoc. Using anabolic steroids might give you a short-term result, but the long-term side effects certainly outweigh the small benefits you might see early on. 

While some people can control their use of anabolic steroids and use them somewhat responsibly, it is still not a good idea, especially for low testosterone. 

Can TRT also have side effects? 

TRT is one of the safest ways to increase your testosterone levels for many reasons. First and foremost, a well planned treatment protocol is aimed to help your body reach the natural balance between different hormones and not overshoot your testosterone levels as often happens with anabolic steroids. Another thing to remember is that TRT is prescribed by a medical professional after checking your testosterone level. So, only good candidates for the therapy are prescribed TRT. 

Although the benefits of TRT outweigh any potential side effects, it is important t remember that TRT is not completely immune to side effects. That said, a properly designed TRT, with the help of an experienced provider like Optimale, can significantly reduce the frequency of these side effects. 

Some of the potential side effects of TRT include skin issues including acne, enlargement of the prostate, fluid retention and risk of blood clots. 

Although there are side effects associated with TRT, they are often very mild, and if the treatment is designed properly, they can be controlled to the extent that they are almost nonexistent. 

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So, what should I use- anabolic steroids or TRT?

If you are contemplating getting some help to bring your testosterone level up, going the TRT route is certainly safer and more rational than anabolic steroids. 

If you have low testosterone, you want to get back to normal levels, and TRT can help you safely attain those levels. With TRT, you can not only control the side effects of low testosterone but get back to your normal self in no time whilst avoiding most of the dangers involved in anabolic steroid use.

Consequently, TRT is much safer and more efficient as it involves carefully administering testosterone under supervision at sensible levels. If you want to get your testosterone levels back to normal without the risk of developing serious side effects, TRT is your only choice. 

Self-medicating with an anabolic steroid to increase your testosterone levels is not only dangerous, but it can also potentially cause long-term damage that is not worth taking the risk. It is always better to go through a service like Optimale that ensures that the TRT you receive is safe, effective and most importantly, tailormade for you. 

Are anabolic steroids even legal?

If you obtain anabolic steroids through a doctor or a registered pharmacy for your personal use, then they are legal in the UK. However, this is extremely rare, unless they are for TRT itself.

There is a large black market of anabolic steroids in the country where there is no control over the quality and dosage of the drugs. These can be tempting for some men due to their low price, but there is an inherent risk of counterfeit medications, which may be low dose, a completely different compound, or even unsterile. This can cause extremely serious injury or even death.

Legally speaking, you can possess and use anabolic steroids (such as testosterone) obtained through the proper medical channels for your personal use with a prescription. However, anabolic steroids are banned in most professional sporting activities as they can give the user an unfair advantage. However, the biggest deterrent for using anabolic steroids should be the potential side effects that they can precipitate. 

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ADAM Questionnaire

Low Testosterone Test

The ADAM questionnaire has been shown to have 88% sensitivity in testing for low testosterone.

How to know if you have low testosterone?

Millions of men in the UK are suffering from low testosterone. Having low testosterone can cause several side effects that can go unnoticed for some time. Some of the side effects of low testosterone include-

Depression and mental issues

Testosterone is not only an important hormone that controls your reproductive system; it is also crucial for proper neurological function. Several scientific studies have revealed that men with low testosterone levels are predisposed to depression and other cognitive issues. 

Decreased libido

Having a decreased libido may be a sign of low testosterone level. Reduced libido can hit hard for men with low testosterone. 

Cognitive disturbance

Men with low testosterone can experience difficulty focusing on a task at hand and even mental fog. 

Chronic fatigue

A decreased testosterone level can cause you to feel extremely tired even if you haven’t been exerting much. A lack of testosterone can make you feel drained and listless. 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and think that you might be suffering from testosterone deficiency, you can take our online testosterone level test by clicking here

What is the optimal testosterone level in males? 

A healthy male should have at least 12-30nmol/l testosterone in the blood. However, it should be kept in mind that even if you have total testosterone levels close to the optimal value mentioned above, you might still experience some negative effects associated with low testosterone.

One of the reasons for this is that free testosterone is more important than total testosterone. The free testosterone can bind to the receptors and bring about the hormone’s function. The bound testosterone in your blood cannot directly produce this effect. Hence, it is crucial to get your free testosterone level tested as well as your free testosterone. 

Optimale offers a wide range of testosterone blood tests that can help you determine whether you are indeed having issues with testosterone levels. You can choose from a wide array of tests we offer by clicking here.  


Testosterone Replacement Therapy is the safest and most effective option for helping men with low testosterone levels to treat their symptoms and return to normal. It is possible to eliminate the symptoms of low testosterone with TRT and get your life back in order whilst avoiding the nasty side effects involved with anabolic steroid use.

If you need help deciding whether TRT is a good option for you, book an appointment with one of our experts to get started.   

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