For bodybuilders seeking rapid and impressive gains, turning to steroids like Winstrol can seem like an appealing option. But what are the drawbacks of this drug? Can you harm your body using Winstrol, and why do athletes choose to bulk with it?

The drawbacks of using Winstrol for bulking include a decrease in sex drive, liver damage, heart problems, and negative psychiatric concerns. While Winstrol can help an athlete bulk up quickly, the drawbacks are considerable and should be studied at length.

Keep reading to learn more about the harms caused by Winstrol, how this drug interacts with your body, why bodybuilders have turned to it, and what to use instead.

What is Winstrol and Is It Harmful?

Winstrol (also known as Stanozolol) is an androgen and anabolic steroid derived from DHT, a natural derivative of testosterone. But it’s not a compound you’d find naturally in the human body and is synthesized in labs to deliver a more intense series of effects than would be gained from naturally occurring testosterone alone.


While this drug used to be popular among athletes in the US, it was classified as a controlled anabolic steroid as part of the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990, making it far less widely available and a scheduled or prescription drug.

It was banned for use in American professional sports (even with a prescription) by the US Anti-Doping Agency in 2015. It is still available by prescription for diverse medical issues, but its use as a bulking agent has been widely discouraged due to its numerous side effects, including emotional, cardiovascular, and reproductive harm.

The drug can be taken orally or through injection and has gone by several names including

  • Anasynth
  • Menabol
  • Stanol
  • Stanztab and
  • Teva Bolin

So what is it about this drug that’s made it so popular with athletes? What does it do to the human body and how does this affect muscle mass?

Why Do Athletes Choose Winstrol?

Winstrol, as a synthetic testosterone substitute, helps to mimic and exceed the effects of natural testosterone which includes increased lean muscle mass, increased strength, greater physical endurance on the field, and a faster recovery time after playing sports.

The superficial similarity of this drug to natural testosterone causes it to bind positively to testosterone receptors in the male body. Once this happens, a series of metabolic changes occur as the body begins to produce a greater quantity of muscle tissue. This new muscle is flushed with synthetic hormones and thus becomes quite strong, capable, and less prone to fatigue.

All of these arguably positive side effects have made Winstrol a desirable choice for bodybuilders, ball players, and other professional athletes as muscle bulk visibly increases along with one’s capacity to perform well at a given sport.

The noticeable gains in muscle mass, when used alongside an intense workout regimen, have made this drug especially popular with bodybuilders. Those wishing to bulk up even more, or those dissatisfied with their appearance as a result of lifting alone may feel tempted to reach for these drugs as a way to get bigger and tougher looking.

While there are definite benefits to using Winstrol and similar drugs to boost stamina and bulk up, the drawbacks are numerous and concerning. As this drug is testosterone derived, you may be wondering if it has any effect on the male reproductive system. Does Winstrol benefit male reproductive health, or damage it?

Winstrol Can Cause Reproductive Issues in Men

While derived from natural testosterone, Winstrol can hurt a man’s reproductive system. This is because these synthetic steroids effectively shut down your body’s natural male hormone production. Remember those hormone receptors? They’re now getting overloaded with fake testosterone. Your body’s receptors can’t tell it’s fake, though, so your endocrine system figures there’s enough testosterone in your body and stops producing it naturally.


With less natural testosterone in your system, all of the good and normal things testosterone accomplishes in the male body take a hit. For example, men taking anabolic steroids for muscle growth often experience less interest in sex and more difficulty getting and maintaining an erection.

And if you’re seeking to start a family, Winstrol can deal an extreme blow. The drug has been linked to a lower sperm count, as well as a reduction in the size of the external sex organs. Long-term use of Winstrol can cause permanent infertility in men, thanks to the ongoing absence of sufficient natural testosterone in the body.

For many users, this is a devastating and even scary side effect of Winstrol. It far outweighs any benefits from muscle mass and is a great reason to not use this drug for gains. In addition to this serious side effect, cosmetic issues can also occur.

Using Winstrol Can Cost You Hair

While not as devastating as being unable to father children, the loss of hair can still be a difficult and embarrassing process. Want to speed up the pain of male pattern baldness? Winstrol is exceptionally good at that.

Higher than average levels of natural testosterone have been linked to male pattern baldness, so the influx of synthetic testosterone can accelerate the natural process of genetically influenced hair loss in some users.

DHT, in particular, has been linked to early or near-complete balding. And as Winstrol is derived from DHT it’s especially potent and can lead to premature hair loss, as well as skin issues like acne, itchy skin, or dry skin.

The hormones can produce dermatological effects similar to those of puberty. While not dangerous, the problems of hair loss and bad skin can be a cosmetic concern and may affect a man’s happiness and self-esteem.

What about other health issues? You may be concerned to learn that Winstrol has been linked to heart problems, many of which can be serious.

Does Winstrol Cause Heart Damage?

Winstrol has also been linked to cardiovascular issues. Studies in mice indicate that this drug can leave harmful deposits in the veins or the heart and can lead to damage to the heart itself.

In human instances, steroid abuse has been linked to fatal heart attacks. The long-term abuse of Winstrol for muscle gains, especially, has been linked to heart failure, decreased blood flow, and lethal cardiac events, especially in younger men. Strokes have also been reported, which can lead to permanent disability.


This damage may not manifest for many years. In fact, you may feel stronger and healthier than ever on Winstrol at first. But appearances can be deceiving, and simply feeling energetic or powerful is not a good indication of internal organ health. You may look strong and healthy on the outside, but any damage done to your veins and heart chambers won’t be noticeable until it’s too late.

This is another excellent reason to avoid using Winstrol for muscle gains, apart from the better-known side effects of use. One of these widely discussed and sometimes-satirized effects is the emotional changes that can occur with hormone use. What about Winstrol? Will this drug cause emotional upheaval, too, even if used alone?

Will Winstrol Cause “Roid Rage”?

Winstrol, as an anabolic steroid, can cause short-term and long-term emotional and mental health issues, too. From short-term anger and depression issues to prolonged serious depression and suicidal thoughts or intentions, the dangers are considerable.

These dangers include

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Angry Outbursts
  • Anxiety or Fearfulness
  • Delusions
  • Thoughts of Suicide

Difficulty controlling rage has been commonly reported among male hormone users. With doping often comes a lessened ability to handle stress, whether emotional or circumstantial. Those unable to handle stress well are more likely to snap, rage, or threaten those near them when upset or angered.

The damage done to a user’s social life, family, and ability to get along with other people can be considerable and is certainly not worth some extra muscle gains.

Studies show long-term psychiatric damage in the form of increased risk for suicide and depression which can linger long after you’ve stopped doping. This indicates the possibility of permanent damage to your nervous system and a life-long need for structured mental health care.

Finally, what of other internal organ damage? Is Winstrol safe for the liver, or can it do harm here as well?

Winstrol Has Been Linked to Liver Damage


Winstrol and similar drugs have also been heavily studied for their harmful effects on the human liver. Studies on animals indicate that steroid use combined with moderate to intense exercise can prematurely age the liver and lead to organ failure earlier in life.

The liver helps to purify toxins from our body; while it’s used to handling natural hormones and understands exactly what to do with them, synthetic substances like Winstrol can harm the liver. In humans, after just a few weeks of dosing with Winstrol, nausea, jaundice, and itchy skin can be noticed, often indicative of worsening liver vitality.

What’s more, these steroids can cause liver cysts, inflammation of hepatic tissue, and even tumors with years of illicit drug abuse. These more alarming effects may not be realized or caught in time, as they can take years to develop.

As liver damage often proves fatal, this is yet another prime reason why Winstrol, however effective at gaining muscle, should not be used as a way to bulk up. One last reason to avoid Winstrol? Counterfeits.

Winstrol Can Be Counterfeited

One of the most dangerous aspects of trying to bulk up with steroids these days is that the stuff you get on the street without a prescription may be manufactured in shoddy conditions with ingredients that are not clear.

The stuff you get illegally may also be completely fake; containing no real bulking components and leaving you with a placebo full of God-knows-what. Whether you get non-prescribed hormones off of the internet or from a guy your friend knows, it’s not regulated and may not be safe.

As opioid abuse continues to grow, the risks of your unofficial Winstrol being laced with something unpleasant increases, too. Fake drug farms can get ingredients mixed up, cross-contamination is a risk, and there’s no reason to accidentally overdose on something toxic just because you wanted bigger muscles.

So what if you want gains without the dangerous side effects? What can you eat or do to naturally boost testosterone and increase muscle mass?

What Can I Do To Increase Testosterone Naturally?

Winstrol works by flooding your body with fake testosterone. Natural testosterone will improve stamina, encourage better muscle gains, and boost athletic performance without the dangers to your heart or liver. So how do you increase testosterone levels naturally?

The easiest ways to boost natural testosterone are with a healthy diet, a restful and meaningful lifestyle, exercise, and natural foods. As natural levels of male testosterone seem to be falling, it’s important to make sure your body is healthy and producing hormones as it should.


Natural, safe testosterone-boosting foods include organic salmon, beans, leafy greens, butter, brown rice, and eggs. Honey is a great natural sweetener and a good substitute for refined sugar, while fruit can replace dessert most days. The more of your food you cook at home from whole ingredients, the better off your body (and testosterone levels) will be.


We recommend olive oil, coconut oil, and butter as cooking oils for general health and healthy hormone balance. Fat is going to be your friend here, so long as the fat is natural. Avoid processed foods, junk food, artificial ingredients, and refined sugar.

Along with a healthy, whole-food diet, it’s important to get plenty of sleep, avoid stress, keep your exercise regimen up, and get plenty of fresh air. The better you feel the more regulated and balanced your system will be, so when seeking to boost testosterone levels naturally, it’s important to take a holistic approach.


Winstrol is a man-made testosterone substitute that can be ingested or injected to help boost muscle mass and improve stamina on the field. While the benefits of this drug for athletes are noticeable, the drawbacks are concerning, and aren’t worth the gains.

Side effects include heart damage, stroke, emotional and psychiatric issues, liver damage, hair loss, and reproductive issues in men. Winstrol can also be counterfeited or tampered with, making street versions of this drug unsafe.

Alternatives to Winstrol include eating a healthy, organic diet, exercising, reducing stress, and getting plenty of sleep and fresh air. Organic salmon, beans, eggs, brown rice, leafy greens, and butter are all great food options to boost testosterone, so long as they are eaten as whole ingredients prepared at home.