Can Steroids Cause Infertility?

ben bunting BA(Hons) PgCert Sport & Exercise Nutriton  Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.

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Trying for a baby is an exciting time in your life, but it can also be deeply frustrating and challenging for many individuals. 

Infertility is a scarily common modern problem, with approximately 186 million people having trouble conceiving. [1]

While it’s easy to panic or want to stop trying, there are plenty of ways that you can improve your chances of getting pregnant.

One approach to improve your chances of conceiving is to improve your lifestyle. Many stimulants, including alcohol, can affect your fertility, so you should consider everything you eat and drink.

It’s not just your food and drink that affects your chances of conceiving a baby: the drugs you take for your health and wellbeing can also have the potential to hinder your chances of getting pregnant naturally.

Many people know that smoking can harm male fertility, but there are also other stimulants that you might take that could hinder your chances of starting a family. [2]

For example, if you’re taking steroids, then you might be wondering if these drugs will affect your chances of making a child.

Steroid users might not be clear about how these drugs are affecting their fertility. Many recreational users don’t receive much advice on the subject, so you might not know what side-effects that steroids can have. [3]

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how steroids can affect your fertility and what you can do to increase your chances of conceiving a baby.

 The topics we will cover in this article include: 

  • What Are Steroids And Why Do People Use Them?
  • What Can Steroids Do To Male Fertility?
  • What Can Steroids Do To Female Fertility?
  • How Can You Increase Your Chances Of Conceiving?
  • What Are The Alternatives To Taking Steroids?
  • Conclusion

What Are Steroids And Why Do People Use Them?

steroid medications

Before we get into the effects of steroids on fertility, we need to discuss what are steroids and why you might be taking them or considering using them.

 Steroids come in a variety of types and can be used to treat a range of ailments. These include: 

  • Asthma
  • Severe allergies
  • Skin conditions
  • Arthritis
  • Bowl conditions and chronic pain
  • Trapped nerves and joint problems

For patients with these issues, steroids can be a vital tool to aid in their recovery. However, there are steroids that are used recreationally, and these are known as anabolic steroids. The drugs are synthetic versions of the male sex hormone testosterone. [4]

While Doctors can prescribe anabolic steroids for some conditions that cause muscle wasting or for delayed puberty, in many cases, these drugs are used recreationally.

Athletes and exercise fans often take these drugs to improve their performance. The drugs can be taken orally or injected directly into muscles. [5]

Often, the doses for these drugs are significantly higher than the ones prescribed by Doctors to treat illnesses. Athletes often get these drugs from unregistered individuals, which means that they might not be high-quality, and might include ingredients that could be harmful.

As such, using anabolic steroids in this way can be dangerous, and it is banned by most of the governing bodies for many major sports. If you are caught taking these drugs, then you could be stripped of your accolades and expelled from any professional or semi-professional teams that you were a part of, so it’s crucial that you understand the consequences before you take steroids.

Unfortunately, part of the problem is that there is a lack of substantial research available which monitors the health of athletes and steroid use due to a number of factors such as an unwillingness by the athletes, governing bodies and physicians to be involved in such studies. [6]

In this article, when we refer to steroids, we mean anabolic steroids taken to enhance athletic prowess. Other types of steroids used to treat other illnesses can also lead to fertility issues, but it depends on a wide range of factors. We don’t refer to these drugs, as each case is unique. 

If you’re concerned about the use of medical steroids, then you should consult your Doctor, and they can discuss what could happen and how you can treat it.

When it comes to the recreational use of performance-enhancing drugs, steroids can cause serious fertility problems, as we outline in this article. 

What Can Steroids Do To Male Fertility?

man and child

If you’re a man who’s looking to improve your results in the gym, then you might think that anabolic steroids are the ideal answer.

These drugs can seem like a quick fix to help you to reach your fitness goals quickly and without as much hard work and commitment.

However, taking these drugs can seriously harm your fertility because they are synthetic male hormones that can harm your body’s production of testosterone. 

Many studies have shown that taking steroids or testosterone supplements can block the production and release of the luteinizing hormone (LH). [7]

This hormone is the main driver of sperm production in men. As such, by blocking its production in the body, anabolic steroids can reduce your sperm count. [8]

The less sperm your body produces, the lower your chances are of conceiving a child naturally, and as such, taking steroids can impede your chances of conceiving without medical intervention.

While taking anabolic steroids can lead you to look more virile and appealing to women in the short term, they can also seriously diminish your chances of conceiving a child naturally. This phenomenon is known as the Mossman-Pacey paradox. [9]

Taking steroids for enhanced athletic prowess can also have other effects on your overall health. [10] These include: 

  • Kidney problems and potential kidney failure
  • Liver damage
  • Many types of tumors and cancers
  • Baldness and hair loss
  • Increased chance of a heart attack or ongoing heart problems
  • Raised cholesterol
  • Breast development
  • Acne and other skin problems
  • Stomach pain and digestive issues 

All of these issues can affect your overall health. When you’re trying to conceive a child naturally, it’s best if you are as healthy as possible.

If you have severe health problems, then these could put additional pressure on your body that it doesn’t need while it’s trying to focus on creating a new life.

Therefore, it’s clear that taking anabolic steroids can have a serious negative effect on male fertility and lead to serious problems conceiving a baby.

Steroids don’t give the same high as some other recreational drugs, but they can still lead to substance abuse in the same way as taking other substances such as cannabis or heroin.

That’s because users often enjoy the initial positive results that they see from taking these drugs. You can even become addicted to these results, making it hard for you to stop using steroids. [11]

In the short term, you might see a positive result from taking anabolic steroids. Still, the longer-term effects could potentially be devastating to your ability to conceive a child through natural methods.

If you’re struggling with addiction to the results that you see from your steroid use, then you should visit your physician to get professional help.

A medical professional can advise you on how you can wean yourself off of steroids and improve your general health and fertility.

What Can Steroids Do To Female Fertility?

muscular womans back

Male fertility is our main focus here at Fertiligy, but we thought we’d put together a brief overview of what anabolic steroids can do to female fertility as well.

After all, women also take steroids to enhance their athletic performance and strength. Women are a vital part of any couple that’s looking to conceive a child, so you should learn what steroids can do to their fertility too.

Steroids can have a significant effect on female fertility and lead to struggles conceiving. If you do manage to conceive, steroids could cause damage to the fetus and lead to congenital disabilities that will affect your family for many years to come. [12]

 Anabaolic steroids are considered to be one of the most capable of causing the most damage to the female reproducitve function. [13]

As mentioned above, being healthy is important for anyone who wants to conceive a healthy baby. Women’s bodies undergo a lot of stress and pressure when they’re trying to get pregnant and when they carry a child, so your partner needs all of her strength. Therefore, the health issues that steroids can cause might hinder your efforts to conceive a child.

Because steroids are made from synthetic testosterone, these drugs can lead to women taking on male characteristics when taken over long periods of time. [14]

That means that your partner might get a deeper voice, develop facial hair and decreased breast size. These characteristics aren’t always very attractive, so you might find that you’re not as keen to spend time with or engage sexually with your partner.

When you’re trying to have a baby, having regular sex is one of the most important tactics that you need to use. No matter how many supplements you take or what fertility solutions you use to improve your fertility, if you’re not having regular intercourse, then you won’t conceive naturally.

All of these reasons mean that women should avoid taking anabolic steroids when trying to conceive. If your female partner is taking steroids to enhance her athletic performance, then you should discuss the issue with her and try to encourage her to move away from taking these drugs.

How Can You Increase Your Chances Of Conceiving?

nutritious food for fertility

As this article shows, if you’re thinking about taking steroids to improve your athletic prowess, then you should avoid them to improve your chances of conceiving a child.

If you still struggle to conceive a child, then it could be a minor issue that can be treated naturally. Consider taking Fertiligy, a vegan and natural supplement designed to give your body all of the nutrients it needs to give you the best possible chance of conceiving.

 Other natural techniques that you can use to improve your fertility include: 

  • Reduce your stress and improve your mental wellness
  • Get quality sleep every night
  • Analyze your diet and ensure that you get all the nutrients and micronutrients that you need
  • Quit smoking and reduce your nicotine intake
  • Stop drinking as much alcohol or give it up entirely if possible
  • Review the prescription medicines that you are taking and see if any of them could be damaging your fertility
  • Increase your plant-based protein intake ratio [15]
  • Try to lose excess weight naturally
  • Eat less processed food and fewer fatty meals
  • Take regular exercise and try to get your heart rate up at least once a day
  • Do everything within your power to improve your overall bodily health and mental wellbeing

These practices might sound simple, but they could have a significant effect on your fertility. Modern life puts a great deal of stress on men, so if you struggle to conceive initially, then don’t panic.

Keep trying, and liaise with fertility experts if you continue to have ongoing issues. If you’ve taken steroids in the past, then this could be having a residual effect on your fertility, so speak to your Doctor and consider your options.

What Are The Alternatives To Taking Steroids?

man drinking milk

Recreational users of steroids take these potentially harmful drugs to improve their physical strength and improve their fitness, both of which are admirable aims.

However, as this article shows, anabolic steroids can be exceptionally bad for many aspects of your health, and especially your fertility. However, try not to freak out, while anabolic steroid misue can lead to changes in the male reproductive system, it can also be reversible. [16]

So, if you stop using them, or have stopped using them you may be okay. 

As such, you need to explore natural alternatives to steroids that will help you to improve your exercise regime without harming your health and your sporting opportunities.

If you’re looking for a natural way to improve your athletic prowess, then there are many alternatives to anabolic steroids available which won’t cause your fertility or health issues.

Some natural ways to boost your bodily strength and fitness include: 

  • Take caffeine to reduce fatigue
  • Maintain optimum hydration
  • Use creatine, a molecule already found in your body 
  • Consider beta-alanine supplements to reduce the build-up of acid in your body
  • Nitrates can improve endurance
  • Optimize your nutrient intake and wellness regime
  • Drink milk which includes protein, carbohydrates and even electrolytes
  • Consider plant extracts which have proven benefits 

Adding some of these vitamins and supplements to your diet and wellness regime could improve your fitness without breaking any rules or damaging your fertility.

As well as taking supplements, it would help if you also worked with a professional personal trainer to optimize your workout and make do the right exercises for your body. Compound exercises can increase testosterone levels which may have  apositive effect on fertility. [17]

Your diet is also an important part of your fitness regime. Supplements should be taken in conjunction with a balanced diet.

So, it would be best if you collaborated with a dietician to ensure that your diet is as healthy and nutritious as it can possibly be to help you to improve your fitness and help you to achieve your athletic goals.

Taking natural supplements and improving your physical fitness can help you to enjoy the best possible bodily and mental health. [18]

Your physical and mental wellbeing can affect your ability to perform sexually and to conceive a child, so you should use these tips to improve your fitness and mental health naturally. 

Conclusion

man with daughter

Overall, it’s clear that steroids can harm your chances of conceiving a baby, whether you’re male or female. As such, you should avoid taking anabolic steroids recreationally when you’re trying to conceive to improve your fertility.

Steroids can also have long-term effects, which can include damage to your prostate and potential ongoing fertility issues.Some effects can be reversible, but nothing is guaranteed. 

As such, you should try to avoid taking these drugs where possible. There are many natural solutions that can help you to enhance your athletic performance, which won’t have a lasting effect on your chances of conceiving and having a healthy, happy baby.

Whatever your fitness aims, no athletic prowess is worth the long-term side effects that taking anabolic steroids can have on your fertility and general health.

If you have taken steroids in the past, need them for a medical condition, or are experiencing fertility issues and aren’t sure why then you should explore alternative ways to improve your fertility.

Start by checking out the natural solutions available, including the techniques outlined above. You could also consider using a natural supplement to optimize your fertility.

Our product offers you the chance to enrich your fertility and improve your overall health. Fertiligy is a natural supplement that can be a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet. Our expert nutritionists have worked hard to create a supplement that can help you to improve your virility and boost your chances of conceiving a baby naturally. 

Learn more about this natural formula and how it works so that you can see the benefits of taking this innovative supplement and how it could benefit you. It’s completely vegan-friendly and natural, so it won’t affect your diet or fitness regime but could improve your chances of having a baby. 

With these techniques, you can improve your chances of conceiving naturally and generally boost your wellbeing. You could potentially spare yourself and your partner from invasive tests and costly treatments, so make sure that you do everything within your power to improve your chances of conceiving naturally. 

Finally, if in doubt, you should always consult your Doctor. They will be able to advise you on how you can improve your chances of conceiving and discuss all of your options.

 

fertiligy male fertility vegan friendly supplement

 

References:

[1] World Health Organization (2020). Infertility. [online] www.who.int. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/infertility.

‌[2] Kovac, J.R., Khanna, A. and Lipshultz, L.I. (2015). The effects of cigarette smoking on male fertility. Postgraduate Medicine, [online] 127(3), pp.338–341. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4639396/.

‌[3] Brooks, J.H.M., Ahmad, I. and Easton, G. (2016). Anabolic steroid use. BMJ, [online] 355. Available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i5023.

‌[4] NHS Choices (2019). Anabolic steroid misuse. [online] NHS. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/anabolic-steroid-misuse/.

‌[5] Vic.gov.au. (2012). Steroids. [online] Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/steroids.

‌[6] Hoffman, J.R. and Ratamess, N.A. (2006). Medical issues associated with anabolic steroid use: are they exaggerated? Journal of sports science & medicine, [online] 5(2), pp.182–93. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3827559/.

‌[7] Karavolos, S., Reynolds, M., Panagiotopoulou, N., McEleny, K., Scally, M. and Quinton, R. (2014). Male central hypogonadism secondary to exogenous androgens: a review of the drugs and protocols highlighted by the online community of users for prevention and/or mitigation of adverse effects. Clinical Endocrinology, 82(5), pp.624–632. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25333666/

‌[8] Schürmeyer, T., Knuth, U.A., Belkien, L. and Nieschlag, E. (1984). Reversible azoospermia induced by the anabolic steroid 19-nortestosterone. Lancet (London, England), [online] 1(8374), pp.417–420. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6142150/ [Accessed 16 Jul. 2021].

‌[9] Mossman, J.A. and Pacey, A.A. (2019). The fertility fitness paradox of anabolic‐androgenic steroid abuse in men. Journal of Internal Medicine. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/joim.12884

‌[10] National Institute on Drug Abuse (2017). Anabolic Steroids. [online] Drugabuse.gov. Available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/anabolic-steroids.

‌[11] Kashkin, K.B. (1989). Hooked on Hormones? JAMA, 262(22), p.3166. Available at: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/379795

[12] www.uofmhealth.org. (n.d.). oxandrolone | Michigan Medicine. [online] Available at: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/d00566a1 [Accessed 16 Jul. 2021].

‌[13] La Vignera, S., Condorelli, R.A., Cannarella, R., Duca, Y. and Calogero, A.E. (2018). Sport, doping and female fertility. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, [online] 16(1). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6241032/.

[14] Nieschlag, E. and Vorona, E. (2015). MECHANISMS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY: Medical consequences of doping with anabolic androgenic steroids: effects on reproductive functions. European Journal of Endocrinology, 173(2), pp.R47–R58. Available at: https://eje.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/eje/173/2/R47.xml

‌[15] BDA (n.d.). A clinical update on diet and fertility. [online] www.bda.uk.com. Available at: https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/a-clinical-update-on-diet-and-fertility.html.

‌[16] El Osta, R., Almont, T., Diligent, C., Hubert, N., Eschwège, P. and Hubert, J. (2016). Anabolic steroids abuse and male infertility. Basic and clinical andrology, [online] 26, p.2. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4744441/.

‌[17] Craig, B.W., Brown, R. and Everhart, J. (1989). Effects of progressive resistance training on growth hormone and testosterone levels in young and elderly subjects. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 49(2), pp.159–169. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2796409/

[18] Parry, D.A., Oeppen, R.S., Amin, M. and Brennan, P.A. (2018). Can dietary supplements improve a clinician’s well-being and health? British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 56(2), pp.85–89. Availale at: https://www.bjoms.com/article/S0266-4356(17)30767-2/fulltext