Is Testosterone a Steroid – What You Need to Know

Is Testosterone a Steroid

As a medical treatment, testosterone, a steroid hormone, has tremendous benefits for men and women. There is, however, a dark side to testosterone usage. When is testosterone a steroid, and when is it a valid and influential medical necessity? These are the answers we provide below.

Testosterone as a steroid is illegal. Steroid abuse is dangerous to the body, detrimental to a person’s emotional stability, and the reason for many athletes to face suspension.

Testosterone as a medical treatment is vital for good health, mental sharpness, and emotional stability. Too little testosterone is bad for the body – too much can be even worse. That is why testosterone is a class 3 drug that requires a doctor’s prescription.

How is testosterone a steroid and a medical treatment? Are they different substances?

Testosterone is a prescription medication used to treat testosterone deficiency (also called hypogonadism and Low T). Dosages of testosterone are determined by blood analysis, physical examination, and a review of a person’s symptoms and health history. Pharmacological doses of testosterone are customized to the individual. With steroid use, a person illegally purchases testosterone (either from “black market” websites or other individuals) and uses it in abnormally high doses.

Medicinal use of testosterone is legal – anabolic steroid use of testosterone is illegal.

What Is Testosterone and What Is Its Function?

Testosterone hormone synthesis occurs primarily in the male testes and the female ovaries, with a small amount also coming from the adrenal glands. Supplemental testosterone comes from pharmaceutical laboratories and is considered a bioidentical form of hormone replacement therapy. It replicates natural testosterone and works on the same androgen receptor cells in the body.

Is testosterone a steroid hormone, and what does that mean?

Hormones are either steroids, amino acids, peptides, or eicosanoids, and each has a specific action or set of functions in the body. Steroid hormones (also called androgens), including testosterone, are derived from cholesterol.

Testosterone is fat-soluble, meaning it cannot move freely in the bloodstream as other water-soluble hormones. Therefore, testosterone attaches to one of two proteins – sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) or albumin for transport to the body’s many androgen receptors (ARs).

Once testosterone arrives at a receptor, it separates from the protein to bind with and enter the cell. The activity promoted by testosterone depends on the location of the androgen receptor. Testosterone steroid benefits vary based on whether the AR location is on a muscle, bone, organ, in the brain, or other areas of the body.

Some of the critical functions of testosterone include:

  • Supporting cognitive processing, memory, and neurogenesis
  • Stimulating metabolism
  • Strengthening bones and muscles
  • Enhancing sexual functions and desires
  • Promoting hair growth
  • Increasing red blood cell production

Testosterone also helps maintain insulin sensitivity in the body’s cells to keep blood sugar levels in check. People with normal testosterone levels will experience better sleep, energy, and reduced stress than those who have low testosterone.

What Is a Steroid, and How Does It Work?

The other aspect of testosterone, anabolic steroid use, is entirely different. In this scenario, a person administers exceptionally high doses of testosterone with one goal in mind – physical enhancement. Whether it is increased strength, speed, or muscle mass, steroid use can make that happen.

Using testosterone as a steroid is illegal. That does not stop people from doing it. Testosterone is both anabolic and androgenic. It builds muscle while supporting male characteristic development. That is also why women who use testosterone as a steroid experience breast tissue shrinkage, increased muscle mass, deeper voice, menstrual irregularities (or cessation), and clitoral enlargement.

When is testosterone a steroid, and how does it work?

Testosterone is a steroid when it is used in high doses without a doctor’s prescription. Not only do anabolic steroids help increase muscle mass and strength, but they also cut back on recovery time, enabling the user to push themselves harder and longer in workouts.

What are the risks involved with using testosterone as a steroid?

The list of potential testosterone side effects is long and, at times, scary. Here are some of the damaging effects steroid use can have on the body:

  • Aggressive behavior – raging out of control
  • Appetite changes – can result in abnormal food consumption
  • Male breast development (gynecomastia)
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Kidney, spleen, or liver problems
  • Azoospermia – infertility
  • Cessation of natural testosterone production
  • Testicular shrinkage (atrophy)
  • Mental health issues, including depression and mood swings
  • Oily skin and acne
  • Extremely high red blood cell count (polycythemia)
  • Risk-taking and possibly illegal actions
  • Prostate and urinary issues
  • Fluid retention
  • Blood clots
  • High blood pressure
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in women

Stopping steroid use is tricky. If done without medical supervision, a person can experience withdrawal symptoms that can hinder sleep, appetite, libido, and energy. Depression and suicidal thoughts are possible. Anyone using testosterone as a steroid is advised to seek medical guidance for how to stop the use and prevent further problems.

What Is the Difference Between Steroids and Testosterone?

The primary testosterone steroids difference is the thought process behind the usage. A person who suffers from testosterone deficiency symptoms and turns to a doctor for help engages in the legal use of testosterone replacement therapy. Low doses of testosterone medication return the body to a state of hormonal balance. Symptoms of testosterone decline begin to reverse, and health and mental clarity improve.

When we look at when is testosterone a steroid, we find that abusers of this medication often have normal testosterone levels before buying their drugs illegally. Then, after administering extremely high doses of testosterone, they increase their range into a supra-physiological state that puts health and well-being at risk.

Do not let fears of bulging biceps and ‘roid rage stop you from considering testosterone replacement therapy if you have Low T symptoms. Those are not issues associated with medical testosterone treatment. Our doctors here at Kingsberg Medical will determine, via blood analysis and medical review, if you are testosterone deficient. If so, we will customize a low-dose treatment of hormone replacement therapy to what your body needs. Please contact us today for a free, confidential consultation by phone for additional information.

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