Steroids – Medical vs Performance – What Are The Differences?

Steroids Medical vs Performance

These days, when you hear the word ‘steroids’, you immediately think of things like bodybuilding, men, fitness, and gym, and you link them to physical fitness, superhuman strength, and increased muscle mass. However, steroids are much more than that.

Mostly, throughout history, the use of steroids has been limited solely for treating various disorders and only recently has started for other purposes.

When we talk about steroids, we are mainly referring to corticosteroids and anabolic steroids, both of which are used medically. But only the anabolic ones are used for enhancing performance.

The major differences that set these two apart are:

Effects and Uses:

Medically, corticosteroids come with a list of uses, including treating conditions like eczema, various types of skin rashes, eye and ear infections, arthritis, severe allergies, and asthma. Since they suppress the immune system, they have proven to be revolutionary in treating disorders in which the body starts attacking its own immune system, which includes lupus, vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and a whole lot of others.

Anabolic steroids have a two-fold use. They are the treatment of choice for a few medical conditions like low testosterone in men (which leads to a host of other illnesses), initiating growth spurts in children with stunted growth due to hormonal imbalances, to help in gender transition in women, and also to provide strength to patients suffering from AIDS or cancer, whose muscles may become emaciated as the disease progresses.

Anabolic steroids are also used in nonmedical circumstances, like enhancing performance and promoting endurance in athletes and bodybuilders and increasing muscle mass and muscle strength in gym-going people.

Mode of Administration:

While performance steroids are usually taken in the form of shots, medical steroids can be administered in a number of ways.

These include:

  • Injections, which may be intramuscular or intravenous.
  • Topical ointments and creams for certain skin rashes.
  • Nasal sprays and drops for upper respiratory tracts infections and allergies.
  • Eye drops for eye infections.
  • Oral pills for autoimmune disorders, and low testosterone treatment.
  • Injections directly into the joint cavity for treating arthritis.
  • Inhaled corticosteroids used in inhalers for asthma and other breathing problems.


Since anabolic steroids are used for both medical reasons and performance enhancement, the one thing that makes the difference in its uses is the dosage. Medically, both corticosteroids and anabolic steroids are given in very low doses, as this reduces their risk of bringing about adverse reactions in the body. While on the contrary, in order to bring the results of muscle and bodybuilding out in full effect, the dosage of such steroids needs to be very high.

Side Effects:Anabolic Steroid Abuse

Another contrasting characteristic between medical and performance steroids is the potential to cause side effects. As the medical steroids are given in very low doses, and their usage is monitored throughout the therapy by doctors, their side effects are minimal, if any. These include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Weight gain
  • Mood instability.
  • Increased sweating.

On the other hand, performance steroids have many side effects, the reason being their high dosage, the most common of which are:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Cataracts
  • Kidney failure.
  • Liver disease.
  • Heart attack.
  • The decrease in testicle size and breast growth in men.
  • Deepening of voice and growth of facial hair in women.

Benefits to Risks Ratio:

The most important thing to consider before starting any kinds of medicines is to see the benefits to risks ratio. This is done by the doctors who are overseeing their patients’ treatments. Usually, medical steroids’ benefits outweigh the harmful effects, and hence their use is promoted in certain disorders.

However, this is not the case for performance steroids if you are not careful enough in buying a top branded steroid that is known for no side effects like Crazy Bulk. Otherwise, steroids usefulness does not compensate for their side effects, the list of which is too long and too dangerous for health. This fact is ignored by the athletes and bodybuilders, and this is why we see a rise in the trend of using anabolic steroids by such people.

Approval for Use:

Medical steroids are approved for use worldwide for treating a number of disorders. But since the performance steroids pose a serious threat to health, they come under ‘controlled substances’, and their use is heavily monitored by the health departments.  This is another important difference between the two sets of steroids.


This dissertation can be concluded by stating that the most important difference between medical and performance enhancement steroids is the fact that the latter expose a person to detrimental health problems, a reality which many choose to ignore.

But on the other hand, if you are using steroids that are from top brands like Crazy Bulk and made of all natural ingredients, you can easily avoid harmful side effects.

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