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How Long Do Steroids Stay In Your System? (From a Doctor)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

As a bodybuilding coach with over twelve years of experience, I'm familiar with how steroids are used to sharpen-up body physique and boost gym performance.

But before using steroids, it's crucial to know precisely how long their effects last in the system.

I had a lengthy conversation with a doctor friend who shared great insights on how steroids work and some factors that can affect how long they stay in your system.

Read on to find out.

Quick Summary

  • Anabolic and corticosteroids are the two common types of steroids, but the former is what athletes use more frequently.
  • Steroids help to boost gym performance and increase muscle gain.
  • Steroids can stay in your system for a short or long time, depending on your age, weight, and frequency of use.
  • It's possible to detect steroids that stay longer in the body during a drug test.

What Are Steroids?

Injecting steroids on biceps

Steroids are medications that frequently consist of artificial substances that resemble testosterone (the male sex hormone) or other synthetic androgens with comparable effects [1].

There are two types of steroids:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Corticosteroids

I recommend natural anabolic steroid use to my clients to enhance their athletic performance.

Corticosteroids, on the other hand, are used to treat certain medical conditions [2].

How Do Steroids Work?

Steroids work by increasing endurance and promoting muscle building.

Additionally, anabolic steroids multiply androgen receptors and activate the growth hormone insulin.

I agree with that because after many of my clients take their steroids, they experience higher training loads, resulting in bigger, stronger muscles.

Steroids also stimulate the brain's neurons for individuals actively involved in physical activity [3].

"Taking steroids is psychologically addictive because most people get hooked on the quick results."

- James Ellis, Personal Trainer

While working out hard and consuming a healthy diet is still necessary for excellent fitness results, steroid capsules may aid in hastening muscle development and recovery [4].

I also noticed that anabolic steroid supplements take different amounts of time to work, depending on the purpose.

Some users say it would take two days for the steroids to affect the target areas fully. I noticed this with a few bodybuilders who used steroids to grow their muscle mass [5].

In my experience, using injectable testosterone once a week boosts muscle strength.

Research shows that injectable testosterone can fully enhance athletic performance within three to six weeks [6].

Additionally, a clinical investigation in Texas found that it can take up to four weeks for anabolic steroid medications to regulate a patient's testosterone levels [7].

If you are new to steroids and want to know more about them, we recommend you check out our article on the top steroids for beginners.

How Long Do Steroids Stay in Your System?

Flexing biceps while injecting steroids

Steroids stay in your body for about 4 to 12 hours, depending on the type of steroid you take. The best way to answer this question is through the half-life of steroids.

Half-life is the time it takes for an atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) concentration in blood plasma to reach 50%.

This provides an estimate of how long it will take for the drug to be removed entirely, as well as a timeline for how long it will be detectable on a drug test [8].

The anabolic drug's half-life varies greatly.

Compared to injectable anabolic steroids, oral anabolic steroids of the same dose have shorter half-lives.

Based on my trial period, I can confirm that while the half-lives of the injectables can extend for days, those of the oral steroids only survive for a few hours.

Remember once more that these are only the half-lives of the different drugs.

We found that AAS levels may remain in the system after the half-life values for steroids are reached. This means it's still easy to detect anabolic steroids during drug testing.

4 Factors That Influence How Long Steroids Stay in Your System

Man preparing syringe on his forearm

How long steroids stay in your system depends on the following factors.

1. Amount and Frequency of Consumption

If you use large amounts of oral steroids often, it'll result in a buildup in the body, which will take longer for it to be completely flushed out of the system.

Taking more steroids means they will stay longer in the system and can be detected in steroid drug tests.

2. Your Metabolic Rate

The steroids will stay in your system for longer if your metabolism is slower.

This is because it'll take more time for the medicine compounds to break down entirely and be absorbed and excreted from the body.

This can be problematic if you undergo frequent drug tests.

3. Age and Health

Group of diverse men showing their backs

The time a steroid and other drugs stay in your system will often increase as you get older and less healthy.

We took voluntary drug tests on our clients and found the younger ones passed the tests 8 hours after consuming the steroids, while the older ones still tested positive.

4. Body and Muscle Mass

Generally, steroids will stay in your system longer if you weigh more.

This is because obese people have more inflammatory molecules in their bodies that interfere with how steroids work [9].

5 Potential Side Effects of Steroids

Man measuring his blood pressure

Steroids can take your weight-lifting game to the next level, but here are some potential side effects of using and abusing illegal steroids that can be bad for you.

1. Cardiovascular Diseases

Even in athletes under 30, steroid use has been linked to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disorders [10].

Some of these are:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Heart attacks
  • Artery damage
  • Strokes

Research shows that steroids raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels and decrease high-density lipoprotein (HDL). This encourages the onset of cardiovascular disease [11].

Atherosclerosis, a disorder in which fatty particles are accumulated inside arteries and impair blood flow, is more likely to occur in those with high LDL and low HDL levels [12].

2. Increased Risk of Infections

Many users of injectable anabolic steroids might exchange infected needles with others or employ non-sterile injection methods.

This increases the likelihood that these steroid users may contract viruses that can cause death, like HIV and hepatitis B and C [13].

Also, anabolic steroids decrease the immune system, making illnesses worse.

I always advise my injectable steroid clients to use sterile and clean needles.

3. Hormonal Imbalances

Portrait of man popping at acne

Steroid use causes testosterone suspension impeding the body's regular hormone production.

This lowers testicular activity, which results in weight gain, low sperm count, and testicular shrinkage [14].

After testing anabolic steroids with a few male clients for six months, we noticed some male-pattern baldness and male breast development.

Anabolic steroids' hormonal effects may also increase testicular cancer risk, particularly when combined with insulin-like growth factors [15].

In addition, excess anabolic steroid drug dosage use makes women more masculine.

We noticed this in a few of our female clients whose body fat and breast size diminished, and their voices deepened which is a clear sign of steroid use.

We found that some of these effects become permanent when oral steroids are used repeatedly.

Although there have been no studies on this, it is widely thought that anabolic steroids will cause an irreversible growth of the clitoris in females [16].

4. Liver Damage

A man holding his lower stomach due to liver pain

The misuse of liver-damaging steroids has been linked to tumors, liver damage, and a rare disorder called peliosis hepatis, in which the liver develops blood-filled cysts.

The cysts can burst, leading to internal bleeding and, in extreme circumstances, death [17].

5. Stiff and Stunted Skeletal Muscle

The growth spurt that occurs throughout puberty and adolescence is typically triggered by escalating testosterone levels and other sex hormones.

These increased testosterone levels also send signals to limit growth.

When a child or adolescent uses anabolic steroids, the artificially elevated sex hormone levels can cause the bones to cease growing before they should [18].

Evidence points to stiffer tendons in weightlifters who abuse anabolic steroids, which may enhance their risk of tendon injury [19].

FAQs

How Long Does It Take to Flush Natural Steroids From Your System?

It takes 15 to 22 hours to flush natural steroids from your system.

How Long Do the Side Effects of Steroids Last After Stopping?

Side effects of steroids last between 7 to 14 days after stopping the use.

How Long Does It Take 40 mg of Prednisone to Get Out of Your System?

It takes 40mg of Prednisone about 14-21 hours to get out of your system. However, this is just an average estimation because the time can vary depending on age, health, and weight.

Be Careful With the Steroids You Use

There’s a wide variety of illegal steroids with harsh chemicals that can pose severe side effects such as liver damage, testicular cancer, or low testosterone levels.

That is why I recommend using only top-grade legal steroids with a natural ingredient blend and the correct dosage.

After months of research and testing with different clients, I found that these natural steroid alternatives can boost healthy testosterone levels, help burn fat, and increase stamina.


References:

  1. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/steroids&
  2. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-steroids-101&
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482418/
  4. https://www.jci.org/articles/view/91445
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8855787/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17530941/
  7. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01417364
  8. https://medcraveonline.com/FRCIJ/bigger-faster-stronger-an-overview-of-anabolic-androgenic-steroids-and-their-use-and-impact-on-the-sport-industry.html
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5507106/
  10. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/steroids-other-appearance-performance-enhancing-drugs-apeds
  11. https://clinmedjournals.org/articles/ijsem/international-journal-of-sports-and-exercise-medicine-ijsem-4-109.php
  12. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/121187-overview
  13. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/steroid-users-at-risk-of-hiv-hepatitis-b-and-hepatitis-c
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3255409/
  15. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6456799
  16. https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2011/04/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548931/
  18. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/anabolic-steroid-misuse/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5206906/
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