Stanazol side effects

Image by, courtesy of Iwan Gabovitch

Stanazol is another name for the anabolic steroid Winstrol, and is also known as stanazolol. It is often used by bodybuilders and athletes while "cutting" (focusing on fat loss instead of muscle building) to aid in reducing the loss of muscle mass and previous muscle gains.

It is generally taken as an oral steroid, in pill or tablet form, but can be injected as well. As an anabolic steroid, it has a host of side effects ranging from physiological to psychological, minor to severe.

Effects on Testosterone Production

Because stanazol is a non-testosterone DHT-derivative anabolic steroid, it reduces the amount of natural testosterone the body produces. If proper steps are not taken to "restart" testosterone production after a typical steroid cycle is concluded, natural testosterone production may be hindered permanently. This can lead to a greatly lowered libido, erectile dysfunction, mood swings, fatigue and difficulty in sleeping. Testosterone therapy is generally used to combat this condition.

Effects on the Liver

Stanazol is generally taken orally, in tablet form, so to survive a pass through the liver so it can effectively enter the bloodstream, it is alkylated. This takes its toll on the liver, presenting a high level of liver toxicity (of all the oral steroids, stanazol is one of the most liver toxic). This leads to high liver values, which could eventually lead to liver failure if measures are not taken to counteract its effect. Often, milk thistle is taken in large doses with stanazol in an attempt to help mitigate some of the toxicity.

Other Physical Side Effects

As with most steroids, acne is a common side effect, and can either be tolerated or treated with a variety of anti-acne medication. If the user has a predisposition toward male-pattern baldness, stanazol may aggravate it more than other steroids. If the user has not finished growing, using stanazol can cause the body to cease growing, resulting in stunted growth.

While taking stanazol, most people generally complain about dry, achy joints, which occur because of a lack of water retention inherent in stanazol. Because of this, bodybuilders often combine its use with other testosterone-based steroids.

Physiological Side Effects

Stanazol is known to greatly lower the amount of HDL and LDL cholesterol present in the blood, and may also lead to thickened walls of the heart, which reduces the overall size of the heart chambers, resulting in reduced cardiac output. This may, however, be an effect of weight lifting on the heart, as power lifters have reported the same effects without the use of steroids.

In women, improper stanazol use can lead to masculinisation and can result in an enlarged clitoris, excess body hair, and a deepening of the voice because of vocal chord enlargement.

Psychological Effects

While rare (most studies show less than a 5 per cent incidence), the psychological effects of stanazol and most other steroids are well-known. Increased aggression is often the most common psychological symptom, although an increased tendency toward violence, mania and even psychosis has occurred. Studies have shown that general temperament is the biggest determining factor as to the psychological effects of steroid use. For example, if someone is prone to aggression, an increase in aggression may become more obvious or dangerous.