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Anabolic Steroids vs Testosterone Replacement Therapy

If you have low testosterone or you have heard of low testosterone, then the chances are that you have heard of two different ways to raise testosterone. These include anabolic steroids and testosterone replacement therapy. While it is true that both of these treatments take aim at providing the patient with a higher level of testosterone, that is about the only thing that they share in common.

These are two treatments, that, while they sometimes have the same methodology, have very different goals and very different patients. If you are a person that is wondering about raising your testosterone, then you may be wondering about these differences and what makes one option the better of the two for your unique situation.

In this complete overview and analysis, we are going to take a look at each of these treatments, assess their strengths, address their weaknesses, and get to the bottom of what exactly the difference is between these two treatments. Along the way, you’re going to learn the information that you are going to need to make a decision as to which of these treatments is right for you if you are in fact considering one of them as a treatment for low testosterone or a method to enjoy the benefits of raised testosterone.

With this information in hand, you’ll know everything you need to know about anabolic steroids and testosterone replacement therapy.

Watch our video on steriods vs TRT



What Are Anabolic Steroids?

Before we can determine the differences between these two tools that are frequently used to raise testosterone in patients and individuals, you are going to need to get to know each of them on an intimate level. This will give you the insight that you need to determine how they are different and what each of their goals are.

Anabolic steroids are the first treatment that we will examine. Anabolic steroids are a man-made version of testosterone. They usually come in the form of pills or shots and they are designed to raise the level of testosterone in the body to enjoy the benefits that come along with it.

Because they are a pretty good imitation of naturally-produced testosterone, they work in much the same way that testosterone works. There are plenty of benefits that can be enjoyed by taking anabolic steroids, along with plenty of side effects that can be felt as a result. Anabolic steroids are frequently taken by those that like to work out and build muscle.

What is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?

The second treatment that we are going to review is testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone replacement therapy is a medical treatment that is designed to help raise the level of testosterone in a male’s body to natural levels. Testosterone replacement therapy is used when the natural production of testosterone in the patient’s body is insufficient.

Most commonly, testosterone replacement therapy is turned to when the patient is experiencing unpleasant side effects as a result of their low testosterone levels. These can stretch to the extreme but are always moderately unpleasant. These side effects can include fatigue, lowered sex drive, depression, and more. These side effects are the reason that many men choose to use testosterone replacement therapy.

Testosterone replacement therapy can be administered in a variety of ways. The most common three are through injections, creams, and patches. The most common overall are injections due to the convenience that they offer and the level of speed with which they can administer testosterone into the bloodstream, which is almost instantaneous.

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What Are The Key Differences?

So, now that we are well-acquainted with each of these treatments, we can compare them and see what the differences are. This is a topic that many men around the world are very interested in as they assess their options for treatments for low testosterone and to satisfy their curiosity about the best way to increase testosterone in their bodies.

The main difference between the two treatments is that one seeks to lift the level of testosterone above and beyond what is normal while the other seeks to raise testosterone to a normal level, starting at a level that is below what is typical. Anabolic steroids are products that are designed to raise the level of testosterone in the body, regardless of what the starting point is. Testosterone replacement therapy, on the other hand, is a treatment that is designed to help men that are unable to produce a normal amount of testosterone on their own. In these situations, an infusion of testosterone is designed to provide what is needed for normal, baseline testosterone levels.

Each of these treatments is meant to increase testosterone but for different purposes. Those that take anabolic steroids are typically looking to increase muscle mass in their body or for the purposes of hardcore bodybuilding. Men that are taking testosterone replacement therapy are typically doing so in order to overcome the side effects that have been thrust upon them as a result of their low testosterone.

Possible Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids

If you are weighing your options between anabolic steroids and testosterone replacement therapy, then it’s important that you know as much information as possible. That means examining the possible side effects of anabolic steroids. Though anabolic steroids are quite effective at achieving their desired result in raising the level of testosterone in a person, they can also come with some side effects that you should always be aware of before you make the decision to use them.

These side effects of anabolic steriods include:

  • acne
  • mood swings
  • testicle shrinkage
  • steriod addiction
  • high blood pressure
  • pain while urinating
  • low sperm count
  • changes in sex drive
  • increased risk of heart attack
  • Infection from unknown substances (black market steriods)

The important thing to remember about anabolic steroids is that they are typically used to raise the level of testosterone in your body above what is normal. This can have some benefits for building muscle, but it can also have some dire consequences.

Hormones are very delicate things that should be balanced whenever possible. The body does a decent job at balance our hormones for us, but when we interfere by using anabolic steroids, it can do more harm than good. People that are experiencing hormonal imbalance often have very severe and long-lasting side effects. In the case of raised testosterone, this can even lead to death through a heart attack and other diseases.

Plenty of people are able to use anabolic steroids somewhat responsibly and get the intended results. However, if you do choose to use anabolic steroids, you should check with your doctor and be careful, since it could lead to some unwanted side effects.

Possible Side Effects of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy is a treatment that is used by millions of men each year. It is one of the most common methods for treating low testosterone and also the most effective and safe. It is generally considered a very safe treatment with a high success rate for men that are truly suffering from a deficiency of testosterone production. So successful in fact that we typically see a success rate of 80% in all our patients.

However, we are dedicated to providing you with all of the information that you need when it comes to these treatments. While testosterone replacement therapy is generally thought of as a very safe and effective treatment, it does have some side effects that you should certainly be aware of before you choose to use it.

Some of the potential side effects of using testosterone replacement therapy to restore proper levels of testosterone in your body include acne, increased risk of blood clots, prostate irregularities, and mild fluid retention. While the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy are usually very mild, you should still consult with your chosen expert about them and see if you have any pre-existing conditions that could worsen the effect on your body.

Overall, testosterone replacement therapy is considered a very safe and effective treatment that thousands of men go through each year.

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Should I Use Testosterone Replacement Therapy or Anabolic Steroids?

If you are suffering from low testosterone, you might be pondering these two treatments and wondering which one is best for you. While each of these has certainly been touted for its benefits, the choice is clear if you are suffering from an inability to produce adequate testosterone. Testosterone replacement therapy is a treatment that is specifically designed to help you return testosterone levels to normal. It is not a steroid and it is meant for medical use and with TRT you will ensure that you have been given optimal dosages of testosterone to lessen your symptoms.

Testosterone replacement therapy is more effective, safer, and more affordable when used correctly and in the proper medical setting. For anyone that is suffering from low testosterone and wants to conquer the side effects that come along with low testosterone, proper testosterone replacement therapy is the only option.

Many men feel that they can self-treat their low testosterone by simply taking anabolic steroids to raise their testosterone level. Not only is this not the intended usage for anabolic steroids, but it is also dangerous. You will be putting yourself at increased risk and subjecting yourself to harmful side effects. It is better to seek out the treatment that is proven and more likely to work rather than waste your time and squander your health trying to save a little bit of money.

Are Anabolic Steroids Safe & Legal?

Anabolic steriods are a class C drug in the UK, it is legal to have them for personal use, however you should only obtain them from a registered pharmacy/doctor. There is a huge black market for anabolic steriods and these should be avoided at all costs as you simply cannot guarantee the mixture is what the vendor claims it to be without proper expensive testosterone testing.

There are no laws against anabolic steroids that would prevent you from using them. However, if you are an athlete you should know that using anabolic steroids is against the rules and conduct of basically every competitive sports league out there ranging from high school sports to the pros. If you choose to use anabolic steroids for a competitive advantage, you could not only cost yourself your good health, but you could earn yourself a permanent ban from whatever leagues you participate in. Apart from that, it is socially frowned-upon to use anabolic steroids, especially in the context of athletic competition.

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Are you having trouble identifying low testosterone? Do you want to know more about how to identify low testosterone and other symptoms that could be treated by using testosterone replacement therapy? In order to effectively treat low testosterone, you need to have the ability to identify it in the first place. Without being able to identify the side effects of low testosterone, you will be shooting in the dark, hoping to find the answer.

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Here are some of the most common side effects of low testosterone. If you are experiencing these side effects or a mixture of multiple of these side effects, then you may want to speak with a medical professional about using testosterone replacement therapy.


Testosterone is a very important hormone in the male body. For someone to be in good health and have their body in working order, they need to have balanced hormones. When this is not the case, all sorts of things can go wrong. Depression can occur from a hormonal imbalance.

Lowered Sex Drive

Testosterone is largely responsible for sex drive and sexual function. When you are low in testosterone, sex drive can be in short supply. This is one of the most difficult side effects that men suffering from low testosterone experience.

Trouble Focusing

Focusing can be a chore when you are experiencing low testosterone. You might notice that your focus is slipping at work or school, or simply in the everyday tasks that you do at home.


Energy levels are very much affected by testosterone in your body. When testosterone is low, it will affect your energy and you will find that you have less energy on a daily basis.

About the Author: Mike Kocsis

Mike Kocsis has an MBA with a focus on healthcare administration and is an entrepreneur and medical case manager for Balance My Hormones Ltd which offers medical services in the UK and Europe. Mike has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare sector, much of that working with people who have hormone imbalances. Mike has appeared on podcasts and radio and is an expert speaker on the subject of hormone imbalance. He specialises in Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and has helped thousands of people suffering from hormone imbalances recover and regain control of their lives. You can follow him on LinkedIn and on the Balance My Hormones YouTube Channel.

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Last update: April 2nd, 2021

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