Is Testosterone Therapy The Same As Steroids?

Reviewed by Dr. Kenton Bruice, MD

Testosterone therapy and anabolic steroids have been a topic of discussion, and even confusion, for years. Both have a variety of uses and potential side effects that can impact an individual’s health.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the world of both testosterone therapy and anabolic steroids. We’ll also discuss the safety concerns and side effects associated with both treatments and briefly discuss the role of BHRT in treating low testosterone.

Key Takeaway

Testosterone therapy, including bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), is a medically supervised treatment aimed at restoring normal testosterone levels to improve quality of life. Anabolic steroids, while similar in boosting testosterone levels, are primarily used unsupervised for muscle mass and performance enhancement, often illegally, posing significant health risks.

The Role of Hormones in the Male Body

Androgens are responsible for the biological characteristics associated with males, including the development of male reproductive organs during puberty, the deepening of the voice, growth of facial and body hair, and the increase in muscle mass and strength. They also maintain male reproductive tissues, stimulate the production of red blood cells, and influence mood and libido.

Androgens include the hormones testosterone and DHEA.  Testosterone is the most well-known androgen. It plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of male reproductive tissues, such as the testicles and prostate. Testosterone levels are at their highest during adolescence and early adulthood. After the age of 30, testosterone levels gradually decline by about 1% a year.

DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It serves as a precursor to testosterone and other hormones and plays an important role in immune function, bone density and muscle growth. DHEA has been shown to improve mood, memory, energy and stamina and helps to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.

Testosterone Therapy Vs. Anabolic Steroids

Testosterone therapy is a medical treatment prescribed by medical professionals to help individuals with hormonal imbalances or other medical conditions. It is typically used to treat low testosterone levels, often as a result of aging or other medical issues.

Testosterone therapy aims to restore testosterone levels within the normal range and can help improve sexual function, mood, energy levels, and overall well-being.

On the other hand, anabolic steroids (anabolic-androgenic steroids) are synthetic substances that mimic the effects of testosterone. Although they are occasionally prescribed by doctors for specific medical conditions, their primary use is for enhancing athletic performance and muscle growth. Many athletes and bodybuilders use anabolic steroids to improve muscle mass, which has led to the illegal use of these substances.

Similarities and Differences

Both testosterone therapy and anabolic steroids work by increasing the levels of testosterone in the body. This can lead to similar benefits, such as increased muscle mass, improved sexual function, and a range of other positive effects. However, the doses, legality, and intended purposes of these treatments differ significantly.

Testosterone therapy is a regulated medical treatment prescribed by medical professionals to help restore normal testosterone levels. It is carefully monitored to ensure the patient receives the appropriate dosage for their specific needs, and it is considered a legitimate medical treatment in most countries.

In contrast, anabolic steroids are often obtained illegally and used without medical supervision, which can lead to dangerous and potentially life-threatening side effects. Anabolic steroids typically involve much higher doses than testosterone replacement therapy, resulting in a wide range of negative side effects.

Safety Concerns and Side Effects

The potential side effects of testosterone therapy and anabolic steroids can be severe and should not be taken lightly. 

For individuals undergoing testosterone therapy under the guidance of a medical professional, there is a lower risk of experiencing negative side effects. Common side effects may include acne, increased blood pressure, fluid retention, and changes in blood cell counts.

Anabolic steroids, however, pose a higher risk due to their often excessive dosage. Some of the potential side effects include liver damage, increased risk of heart attacks, aggressive behavior (such as “roid rage”), mood swings and an elevated risk of prostate cancer.

It is essential to discuss any potential side effects with a medical professional before starting any medical treatments, including testosterone therapy or steroid use.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

If you are interested in testosterone replacement therapy to combat the effects of low testosterone, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) may be the solution you are looking for.

BHRT effectively combats the decline of testosterone and DHEA and the resulting negative  effects that may accompany it, such as low libido, fatigue, decreased energy levels and muscle mass and more.

By using hormones that are identical to the body’s naturally occurring hormones, BHRT provides a safe and effective way to restore hormonal balance in men.

Dr. Kenton Bruice, MD, specializes in balancing hormones and has helped many patients achieve optimal hormone balance and improved quality of life. To learn more about BHRT and to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bruice, call (303) 957-6686 (Denver) or (970) 925-6655 (Aspen).

In Conclusion

Testosterone therapy and anabolic steroids are fundamentally different in their purposes, dosages, and associated risks. Testosterone is bioidentical, whereas anabolic steroids are foreign to the body.

Testosterone therapy is a regulated medical procedure aimed at restoring hormonal balance and improving overall quality of life. Anabolic steroids, though occasionally prescribed for specific medical needs, are primarily used for increasing muscle mass and athletic performance without medical supervision.

If you live in the Denver area and are interested in testosterone replacement therapy, trust Dr. Kenton Bruice, MD, to provide safe and effective treatment through bioidentical hormone therapy. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a consultation. 

If you are searching for ‘testosterone replacement therapy in Denver,’ or ‘testosterone replacement therapy near me,’ call (303) 957-6686 (Denver) or (970) 925-6655 (Aspen) to book an appointment with Dr. Kenton Bruice.

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