Women and anabolic steroids: an analysis of a dozen users

Clin J Sport Med. 2010 Nov;20(6):475-81. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181fb5370.

Abstract

Objective: To provide an in-depth analysis of 12 female self-reported anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) users.

Design: Web-based survey.

Setting: A Web-based survey was posted on 38 discussion boards of various fitness, bodybuilding, weightlifting, and steroid Web sites between February and June 2009.

Interventions: Participants completed a survey regarding demographics and use of AAS and other performance-enhancing agents (PEAs).

Participants: A cohort of 1519 strength-trained subjects fully completed and submitted a valid survey. Five hundred eighteen subjects were self-reported AAS users consisting of 12 women and 506 men. One thousand one subjects were non-AAS users consisting of 230 women and 771 men.

Main outcome measures: Demographic data and use of AAS and other PEAs.

Results: The female AAS users reported using an average of 8.8 PEAs in their routine. Compared with male AAS users and female non-AAS users, respectively, female AAS users were more likely to have met criteria for substance-dependence disorder (58.3% vs 23.4%; P = 0.01; 58.3% vs 9.1%; P < 0.001), have been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness (50.0% vs 17.4%; P = 0.01; 50.0% vs 22.2%; P = 0.04), and have reported a history of sexual abuse (41.7% vs 6.1%; P < 0.001; 41.7% vs 15.3%; P = 0.03).

Conclusions: Female AAS users practice polypharmacy. Female AAS users are more likely to have qualified for substance-dependence disorder, have been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness, and have a history of sexual abuse than both male AAS users and female non-AAS users.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anabolic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Athletes*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Bulimia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Bulimia Nervosa / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / administration & dosage*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Resistance Training
  • Sex Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Testosterone Congeners / administration & dosage*
  • Women / psychology*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Anabolic Agents
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances
  • Testosterone Congeners