ACOG Committee Opinion No. 484: Performance enhancing anabolic steroid abuse in women

Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Apr;117(4):1016-1018. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3182192281.


Anabolic steroids are composed of testosterone and other substances related to testosterone that promote growth of skeletal muscle, increase hemoglobin concentration, and mediate secondary sexual characteristics. These substances have been in use since the 1930s to promote muscle growth, improve athletic performance, and enhance cosmetic appearance. Although anabolic steroids are controlled substances, only to be prescribed by a physician, it is currently possible to obtain anabolic steroids illegally without a prescription. There are significant negative physical and psychologic effects of anabolic steroid use, which in women can cause significant cosmetic and reproductive changes. Anabolic steroid use can be addictive and, therefore, difficult to stop. Treatment for anabolic steroid abuse generally involves education, counseling, and management of withdrawal symptoms. Health care providers are encouraged to address the use of these substances, encourage cessation, and refer patients to substance abuse treatment centers to prevent the long-term irreversible consequences of anabolic steroid use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anabolic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Doping in Sports / prevention & control
  • Doping in Sports / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Gynecology / standards
  • Health Education / standards
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Obstetrics / standards
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Prevention / standards
  • Risk Assessment
  • Societies, Medical / standards
  • Steroids / administration & dosage
  • Steroids / adverse effects*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • United States


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Steroids