Endocrine effects in female weight lifters who self-administer testosterone and anabolic steroids

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Nov;165(5 Pt 1):1385-90. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(91)90374-z.


It appears that the self-administration of testosterone and anabolic steroids is increasingly practiced by women in sports where strength and endurance are important. We recently evaluated endocrine parameters in nine female weight lifters using steroids and seven not using these agents. Of the nine anabolic steroid users, seven took multiple anabolic steroids simultaneously. Thirty-fold elevations of serum testosterone were noted in the women injecting testosterone. In three of these women serum testosterone levels exceeded the upper limits for normal male testosterone concentrations. A significant compensatory decrease in sex hormone-binding globulin and a decrease in thyroid-binding proteins were noted in the women steroid users. Also, a 39% decrease in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was noted in the steroid-using weight lifters. Most of the subjects in this study used anabolic steroids continuously, which raises concern about premature atherosclerosis and other disease processes developing in these women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anabolic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / blood
  • Endocrine Glands / drug effects*
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Menstrual Cycle / drug effects
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism
  • Testosterone / metabolism
  • Testosterone / pharmacology*
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Thyroxine-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Weight Lifting*


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Thyroxine-Binding Proteins
  • Testosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine