When someone mentions the word “steroids”, the average person pictures a 250lb male bodybuilder, resembling Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, this isn’t the typical profile of a steroid-user today.
In fact, increasing numbers of women are taking steroids to build muscle and burn fat.
This doesn’t just apply to female bodybuilders either, with research showing that 1.4% of girls in high school are also taking anabolic steroids (1).
Female steroid-use is also rife in sports, with women looking to gain an edge over their rivals; being tempted by improved strength and endurance. Failed drugs tests have haunted female athletes in sports such as boxing, swimming, CrossFit and more.
- 1 Steroid Side Effects in Women
- 2 Best Steroids for Women
- 3 Anavar
- 4 Primobolan
- 5 Anadrol
- 6 Winstrol
- 7 Сlenbuterol
- 8 Worst Steroids for Women
- 9 Legal Steroids For Women
- 10 Do Women Need to Use a PCT?
- 11 Summary
Steroid Side Effects in Women
The best steroids for women are essentially the compounds which do not produce virilization effects.
Virilization is when masculine features start to form in a female. These typically are:
- Increase in body hair
- Enlargement of clitoris
- Deep voice
- Smaller breasts
Some of these side effects may be reversed post-cycle, when hormone levels regulate back to normal. However, a deepened voice may take longer to reverse (2), being several years, due to modifications of the vocal cords and larynx.
These effects are the result of unnaturally high testosterone levels, which can slowly turn a woman into a man. Many elite female bodybuilders are willing to experience such side effects in order to win a competition, however the general female population wants to avoid these at all costs.
Common masculinization occurs in women when:
a) The wrong steroids are taken
b) High doses are utilized
c) Cycles are too long
In this article we will discuss the best steroids for women, and ones they should avoid at all costs.
We do not endorse the use of anabolic steroids, however we understand that many girls/women are using these substances and need correct guidance.
Note: The risk of women experiencing virilization symptoms is largely determined by an individuals genetics. Some women can take the wrong steroids for long periods of time and be okay. Whereas other women may take small doses of mild compounds, yet still have issues.
However, if a woman stops her steroid cycle as soon as virilization symptoms occur, they will quickly diminish and be reversed. Such symptoms happen slowly over a period of time, thus it isn’t a case of waking up one morning and having grown a beard.
Best Steroids for Women
Anavar (oxandrolone) is nicknamed the ‘girl steroid’ for a reason. Women take it and are often very happy with the results.
Anavar’s popularity is the result of its mild properties, making it tolerable among men and women.
Females often taken anavar and experience no virilization effects. However, there are exceptions to every rule, as some women abuse anavar, taking high doses for excessive periods of time; which can certainly lead to masculinization.
With moderate doses, anavar produces significant muscle gains, whilst burning noticeable amounts of fat.
A 5 week cycle is likely to result in muscle gains of around 5kg, and fat loss also being around 5kg.
Women can successfully take 5-10mg of anavar daily for 4-6 weeks. Anything above 10mg per day will greatly increase the risk of virilization. High doses (above 10mg) are unnecessary, as some women have even reported good results from taking tiny doses of 2.5mg per day (3).
This is a suitable cutting cycle for women who have never taken anavar before. Future cycles may start at 10mg and extend to 6 weeks (maximum), if a woman responds well to oxandrolone.
Women may notice a subtle decrease in natural testosterone from taking anavar, plus some negative shifts in cholesterol, however such effects are only likely to be subtle.
This woman took 10mg of anavar per day for 5 weeks. She did not notice much in regards to side effects, other than more oily skin and a delayed menstrual cycle. These results are typical of a standard anavar cycle, resulting in a leaner midsection and more muscle tone.
Primobolan is the mildest steroid on this list, when considering the dose used by women – mg for mg.
It is favorable among women due to its low androgenic rating (44-57), thus causing a low risk of virilization.
Primobolan comes in oral or injectable form (primobolan depot) and significantly enhances fat loss, due to its strong binding affinity to the androgen receptors; causing increased lipolysis (fat loss).
Women will also experience noticeable lean muscle gains, due to its positive effect on nitrogen retention and protein synthesis.
In men, primobolan is generally used as a cutting steroid, however women can also use it as a bulking compound, due to muscle gains being more pronounced in females.
A standard dose for women is 50-75mg per day, taken for 6-8 weeks. This will produce slow and steady muscle gains, whilst simultaneously stripping away fat.
Despite primobolan being an oral steroid, like anavar, it does not produce considerable hepatic strain; and thus liver values (marking stress), do not typically rise significantly.
One benefit to injecting primobolan, is that it may have a less negative impact on cholesterol levels. However, blood pressure is very unlikely to skyrocket on Primobolan (although women should constantly monitor it during a cycle).
If primobolan is tolerated well during the first 4 weeks, doses of 75mg per day may be utilized for the following 2 weeks. Furthermore, in future cycles, 75mg may be taken; with cycles lasting 8 weeks instead of 6.
Anadrol (oxymetholone) is an oral steroid and is one of the best bulking compounds on the market. There is a general consensus that anadrol is not suitable for women, because it produces harsh side effects in men (some of which are androgenic).
However, research and real-life evidence suggests that anadrol does not produce the same androgenic effects in women.
In fact, it remains as one of the only steroids in studies, where women can take mega doses of it and still not experience virilization. In one study, females were given up to 150mg per day for 30 weeks and none of them demonstrated any masculinization (4).
To put this 150mg dose into perspective, it is 6x the recommended dose of 25mg per day. It is also 3x the dose of a male bodybuilder’s dose, who can experience significant results on 50mg per day.
It’s also worth noting that the only side effects reported by the women on 150mg per day, were decreased libido and increased fatigue; undoubtedly being the result of lower endogenous testosterone production.
A theory why anadrol is so well tolerated by women, is because although it produces large increases in testosterone, it also raises estrogen levels significantly. This testosterone to estrogen balance is seemingly important in avoiding a masculine appearance.
Furthermore, SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) is a detrimental hormone to women when elevated, due to it freeing up more active testosterone. Anadrol however does not bind effectively to SHBG receptors, and thus levels do not rise significantly.
Bill Roberts (PhD) also shares his experience:
“5mg of anavar is roughly the equivalent of 25mg of anadrol for risk of virilization”.
Bill’s expertise and experience (plus other research) suggests that anadrol may actually be one of the best steroids for women; as 5mg of anavar is a very small dose.
The misconception of anadrol being ‘bad for women’, can be attributed to bodybuilding’s lack of practical knowledge regarding steroids effects in women. This is due to steroid-use being less common in females (compared to males), and thus fewer women discuss their use or experiences in the fitness community.
Winstrol (stanozolol) is generally not a good steroid for women. It has a high affinity to bind with SHBG, putting women at risk of virilization symptoms.
However, it is safe to use when taken in very low doses.
Winstrol is a powerful steroid for building muscle in women, thus small doses are still effective.
5mg per day is a safe dose for avoiding virilization. 10mg per day is pushing the limits and anything over 10mg per day is asking for trouble.
If women do use winstrol, it is recommended to take 2 tablets a day, instead of 1. This will further decrease the risk of side effects, as users won’t be getting a sudden surge of exogenous testosterone in one go, with levels regularly spiking up and down.
By splitting up the doses, users will receive a steady dose that will remain constantly peaked in their blood stream. Thus, a dose of 2 x 2.5mg per day would be a cautious, yet effective protocol.
On winstrol, women can expect get considerably leaner, due to its fat-burning properties; whilst increasing lean muscle mass. This won’t be huge increases in size, but instead will produce a lean and strong look.
The above cycle has a lengthy duration of 8 weeks, which is acceptable given the low dose of winstrol.
Clenbuterol technically isn’t a steroid, however it sometimes is mistakenly referred to as a cutting steroid, because of its powerful fat burning effects.
It is actually a bronchodilator, used as a medication to treat those suffering from acute asthma, enabling improved oxygen flow throughout the body.
Clenbuterol is not exogenous testosterone and thus is unlikely to cause any significant muscle or strength gains in women. Equally it won’t shut down women’s natural testosterone production, thus users won’t suffer decreases in libido.
However, there is evidence to suggest that clenbuterol has some anabolic properties, with its ability to increase skeletal muscle in animals (5). Some women claim that clenbuterol does help them build muscle and increase strength, whereas others notice little (if any improvement).
Clen has a potent effect on the metabolism, due to stimulation of the central nervous system; shifting the body into a state of thermogenesis. This is when the body’s temperature rises, consequently causing the body to cool itself down via increased sweating. Just like with exercise, the heart rate speeds up significantly and a woman’s basil metabolic rate increases. This ‘heating up’ of the body has shown to be a very effective way to burn fat.
However, clenbuterol should not be abused, with some users having been hospitalized after taking very high doses. One man’s heart rate rose to 254 beats per minute (6), after an accidental 10 fold overdose.
The average heart rate for an adult is 60-100 beats per minute (7), and thus such an elevated heart rate from high doses of clenbuterol may lead to increased cardiac risk.
Clenbuterol can be taken in oral or syrup form. During a cycle, women will typically start taking 20-40mcg of clenbuterol a day. Then every 3-4 days users increase their dose by 10-20mcg, for a cycle length of 4-6 weeks. This incremental increase in dosage is done until fat loss peaks, and side effects remain comfortable/tolerable.
Dosages can increase up to 120-160mcg per day, however women should monitor how they feel and regularly check their blood pressure/heart rate to ensure it doesn’t become excessively elevated.
Clenbuterol’s stimulative effects may not be well tolerated by women sensitive to stimulants. Such people may become increasingly nervous, anxious or experience insomnia.
Clenbuterol is often stacked with cutting steroids for accelerated fat loss.
This is a typical cutting cycle utilized by female bikini models or bodybuilders wanting to burn fat.
Some women gradually lower the dose towards the end of a cycle and taper off, however this isn’t necessary. It will be more beneficial for the heart come off as soon as possible, than taking lower doses. The only potential benefit of lowering the dose would be to avoid a crash in energy, however this isn’t commonly reported in clen-users.
Note: Doses should only continue rising if users are comfortable with the current dose.
Worst Steroids for Women
The worst steroids for women, are actually most anabolic steroids. Women are very limited in regards to which steroids they can use (if they want to remain looking like a woman). This is because most steroids are not mild, and exhibit strong androgenic effects.
Therefore, popular compounds such as testosterone, dianabol, trenbolone, etc. are all undesirable steroids for women. They might not produce long-term damaging effects to a woman health-wise, but they are likely to cause virilization, potentially affecting her long-term psychological well-being.
Legal Steroids For Women
Legal steroids are compounds designed to mimic the effects of anabolic steroids; but are safe to take and FDA approved. Legal steroids, or steroid alternatives, are safe for women and pose no risk of virilization side effects.
Crazy Bulk are the leading retailer of legal steroids for women.
Here are their 3 best-selling products:
- Anvarol (anavar)
- Clenbutrol (clenbuterol)
- Winsol (winstrol)
You can also stack all three of these together for maximum fat loss and muscle gains.
Crazy Bulk offer generous deals, enabling women to save money, in comparison to buying expensive steroids like primobolan and anavar on the black market (which can cost hundreds of dollars per cycle).
Anvarol Before and After
Anvarol is the legal steroid alternative for anavar.
Do Women Need to Use a PCT?
If women experience low levels of libido, or are suffering from low well-being, a PCT can be implemented.
Some believe that a PCT only applies to men because they have higher testosterone levels, however testosterone still remains a crucial hormone for women’s sexual and psychological function.
When women are cycling mild steroids such as primobolan or anavar, they may not experience any negative side effects. In which case they may skip running a PCT.
However, if they are taking more powerful compounds, such as winstrol (especially in high doses), they may wish to take 25-50mg of DHEA per day, to recover their endogenous testosterone. A 4 week cycle of DHEA should be suffice to recover testosterone levels, however cycles can be safely extended beyond this point, with DHEA being used for several months in clinical research (8).
A PCT is not needed when taking legal steroids, or steroid alternatives, as they will not shut down women’s natural testosterone production.
Anavar and primobolan are the most common steroids, used by women wanting to avoid virilization. They are very mild, yet still produce significant results.
The only downside with these two steroids is that they are very expensive on the black market.
Anadrol, according to research, is seemingly very safe to take (even in high doses) and is considerably cheaper than primobolan and anavar.
Clenbuterol is possibly the best drug for women, who are more concerned with burning fat, than building muscle.
Note: Even when taking mild steroids, masculine side effects are possible in sensitive women; thus we recommend women try legal steroid alternatives first, which are safer compounds.