Anabolic steroids can be split into two distinct groups. Ones that need to be injected and those that need to be taken orally. This has led to plenty of debate over oral vs injectable steroids has raged within the bodybuilding community for years.

The truth is complex. There is no clear winner. Both options have their pros and cons. Often, which one you take depends on the outcome you are looking to achieve. Read on to learn more about the distinction between oral vs injectable steroids to find the approach that best suits you.

What Are Oral Steroids?

Oral steroids tend to be some of the most popular options on the market. This is because they are perceived as carrying a lower risk of side effects. These drugs are usually in the 7-alpha-alkylated (17aa) format. If that sounds overly technical and scientific, don’t worry. It simply means that they pass through the gastrointestinal tract before making their way into your bloodstream. Your liver will help break these substances down.

There is plenty of variety when it comes to oral forms of anabolic steroids. Some of the most popular options include Winstrol, Anavar, and Dianabol. These come in either tablet or pill form. However, don’t be fooled. Each oral steroid has a slightly different chemical makeup. Each one will affect your body differently. For example, Dianabol will produce much stronger impacts than Anavar. But these gains will come at a cost. You can expect harsher side effects.

Benefits Of Oral Steroids

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to choose oral steroids. Let’s run through some of the biggest benefits.

Ease Of Use

Preparing to take drugs via injection is a long process. But, taking oral steroids is easy. You just need to take the pill at the right time. The most prep work you’ll need to do is cutting the pill in half to get the right dosage.

Easier To Transport

You might not always be able to find a private place to take your steroid injection. If you get taking a pill in your workplace bathroom, it’s easy to explain. Just tell your boss it’s your medication. If you get caught with a needle, there will be more questions to answer.

Short Half-Life

When comparing oral vs injectable steroids it’s easy to overlook the half-life. For some bodybuilders, this information is just used to tell them when to take the next dose. But there is more to consider. Importantly, it tells you how long it will take for the drug to pass through your system. Remember, most anabolic steroids are illegal, outside of limited medical uses. If you fail a drug test, you could face severe repercussions. The police might want to issue a fine. Bodybuilding competitions will ban you, and strip you of previous wins, destroying your legacy. Failing a drug test might also provide cause for your boss to fire you.

No Need To Worry About Injection-Related Complications

There are plenty of things you should be concerned about when you are taking anabolic steroids. These drugs aren’t known for being kind to your body. Leave them long enough and they’ll give you cancer.

However, at least oral steroids eliminate the risk of injection-related complications. We’ll discuss these in more detail later. But, for now, you just need to know that they are nasty. In some cases, they can even prove to be fatal.

Downsides Of Oral Steroids

Oral steroids are considered safer than injectable steroids. But they aren’t perfect. Here are some of the biggest downsides you might face when taking these pills.

More Severe Consequences

Oral steroids tend to have a bigger impact on your body. For example, it can throw your hormones out of balance. This will lead to embarrassing side effects, like developing acne or causing you to go bald. But it can also lead to more serious changes. Hormonal imbalances can cause men to develop a condition called gynecomastia. They’ll start to develop feminine features, like growing breasts. Women aren’t exempt from this unfortunate side effect. They can develop virilization, where they start to develop male features, like growing facial features. If these symptoms emerge, it’s a clear sign that you should stop taking this drug.

That’s not the only downside you’ll need to contend with. You might find it harder to regulate your cholesterol and blood pressure. This will increase your risk of having a heart attack. It should be noted that injectable steroids will still cause these symptoms. But they’ll be felt more acutely when taking oral steroids.

Take A Severe Toll On Your Liver

These steroids are classed as hepatoxic. This is a scientific way of saying that there is a lot of pressure on your liver to process these drugs. Unfortunately, over time, that stress can build up. If you’re not careful, this can lead to liver failure, which can prove fatal.

To protect yourself, you’ll need to take a liver supplement during the cycle. This will help ensure your liver is working properly. But this method isn’t foolproof. You’ll still be damaging your liver, particularly if you are taking a higher dose.

Require More Frequent Doses

Earlier, we mentioned that oral steroids tend to have a shorter half-life. This means you have a lower chance of getting caught on a drug test. But it isn’t all good news. The shorter half-life means the drug will wear off faster. Because of this, you’ll need to take more frequent doses, to keep the amount of steroids in your bloodstream stable. This can quickly become annoying, as you need to take the drug multiple times per day.

Plus, you’ll only be able to tolerate a shorter cycle, compared to injectable steroids. The exact differences will depend on the drug you are taking. However, most oral steroid cycles last for between four to six weeks. Injectable steroid cycles can last for eight to 12 weeks. This means that oral steroids give you less time to achieve any muscle gains.

What Are Injectable Steroids

This type of steroid will require you to use a needle to inject it into your body. Because you are taking this approach, you will be able to spare your liver from damage. Plus, they tend to be more powerful and have longer-lasting effects.

There are plenty of popular injectable steroids to choose from. But the two most popular varieties are Trenbolone and Deca Durabolin. Each injectable steroid will have a different impact on your body. Make sure that you read up on the side effects, so you know what to expect.

Benefits Of Injectable Steroids

There are plenty of reasons why bodybuilders might want to use injectable steroids, these include:

Fewer Side Effects

Oral steroids tend to take a massive toll on your body, causing plenty of nasty side effects. Most of this is due to dramatic changes in your hormone levels. Injectable steroids are different. Due to the longer half-life, they keep your hormone levels stable. Even better, they won’t hit your liver as hard. Injectable steroids also have less of an impact on your cholesterol levels. Placing less strain on your heart.

The good news doesn’t end there. Men have a lower chance of gynecomastia. No such luck for women, though, who still need to worry about virilization. However, using an appropriate dose should help manage the symptoms.

But this doesn’t mean that injectable steroids are safe. They still come with plenty of awful side effects. For example, Deca Durabolin might be unsafe for pregnant women, risking child developmental defects. This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor before you start taking any new drugs.

Can Support A Longer Cycle

Oral steroids can support a longer cycle because it has a longer half-life. Cycles can last for 8 to 12 weeks, depending on the drug. This gives you more time to hit the gym and allows you to create more consistent muscular gains. This is the best way to achieve the results you want in the long term.

Downsides Of Injectable Steroids

However, there are a few big downsides to consider before deciding to take injectable steroids. Most of these relate to the way these drugs need to be administered.

Risk Of Injection-Related Complications

Injecting drugs comes with serious risks. If you use an infected needle, you could end up with STDs, like HIV. If this happens, the results can be painful and fatal. This is why you should never swap needles with another bodybuilder.

But, even if you can keep your needle clean, you aren’t out of the woods. You’ll still need to choose the right injection site. You can’t put the drugs directly into your veins. Hit a vein and you’ll start coughing, as the body seeks to expel the drugs from your system. The best way to protect against this is by sticking the needle in your skin and drawing the syringe up. You shouldn’t see any blood. This is why it’s best to inject into the quads, as they have fewer blood vessels.

The risks don’t stop once you’ve found a suitable injection site. There is still the risk that you will damage your nerves. This is why it’s important to regularly rotate your injection sites. Even if the injection goes well, it will still cause pain. As you can see, there’s a reason why doctors need to study to be able to perform injections safely.

Requires More Prep Time

Oral tablets are easy. Just pop the tablet in your mouth and swallow. Things are much more complicated when you are dealing with injections. Most of the time, these will come in powdered form. You’ll need to mix the powder with bacteriostatic water. Shaking the bottle needle, to make sure that the drugs have combined properly. Plus, you’ll need to check that there aren’t any air bubbles in the needle.

That’s before you start looking for a suitable injection site. The only upside is that you won’t need to do this procedure too often.

More Expensive

When comparing oral vs injectable steroids, it’s easy to overlook the costs involved. But if you are using injectable steroids, you’ll need to keep buying new needles. Re-using the old ones will skyrocket your risks of infection. Plus, you’ll need to pay for the anabolic steroids, which aren’t cheap. Don’t forget to factor in the costs associated with eating a healthy diet. The problem is that these costs will quickly add up over the length of your cycle. I hope you have deep pockets.

Which Option Should You Choose?

Bodybuilders will intensely debate the pros and cons of oral vs injectable steroids. Both of these options can prove useful. Both will deliver exceptional results. The key is to decide which approach is best for you. Before making this decision, there are a few things to consider:

  • Your level of experience. How familiar are you with anabolic steroids? When you get started, it’s best to use oral steroids. Your first few cycles will be stressful enough, as you need to worry about the side effects you are experiencing. Plus, you’ll need to try and get familiar with the dosing schedule. Once you have mastered this, you can switch to injectable steroids.
  • Perhaps you already have liver or heart problems. I’d recommend steering clear of anabolic steroids entirely. But, if you insist on taking something, it’s best to take injectable steroids.
  • Some people only want to take steroids for a short period. For example, they just want to cut some weight and get their ideal beach body. For these people, oral steroids are fine. If you have longer-term bodybuilding goals, it might be best to use injectable steroids. These take less of a toll on your body.
  • Risk of getting drug tested. Some industries regularly drug test employees. Failing the test will cause you to lose your job. In this case, oral steroids are best. They’ll pass through your system, so there’s less chance of getting caught.


The debate about oral vs injectable steroids will continue raging in gyms across the country. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer. Try both approaches or switch between the two. See which one you prefer the most.