What Is Dianabol? (Effectiveness & Side Effects)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 15, 2023
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Spending time around bodybuilders in the gym, it's easy to spot those into anabolic steroids. As a personal trainer, I can identify them, particularly after a few weeks of observation.

One anabolic steroid gaining popularity among amateurs is Dianabol. Despite its rapid impact on lean muscle mass, many ignore important risk factors.

After enlisting a doctor's help to thoroughly research the effects of this performance enhancer and understand its potential dangers to the body, I've compiled all the details in this article.

Quick Summary

  • Dianabol is an anabolic and androgenic steroid, and it primarily increases muscles by boosting protein synthesis.
  • Taking Dianabol for muscle growth in any professional sport is banned, and the substance is detectable through a standard urine test.
  • Misusing anabolic steroids for an extended period may lead to the development of liver tumors, detectable after 5 to 15 years, or occasionally as early as 2 years.
  • For me, a safer option to boost T levels is to combine a healthy diet, regular workouts, and sufficient sleep with a natural steroid supplement with vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids.

What Does Dianabol Do To Your Body?

A muscular man lifting a dumbbell

Dianabol primarily increases muscle protein synthesis in the body.

According to National Institute of Health, this androgenic and anabolic steroid, a branded form of methandienone, directly influences muscle tissue development and male characteristics such as facial hair growth and testicular function [1].

Also, a journal published on The Lancet indicates that men engaged in athletic training reveal improvements in performance and body composition, making it appealing to amateur bodybuilders aiming for rapid muscle mass gains [2].

As a fitness trainer, I think using Dianabol in sports isn't a good idea because it can cause serious side effects that get worse the longer you use it.

How Is Dianabol Different From Testosterone?

Dianabol differs from testosterone as it is a synthetic steroid not naturally produced.

Despite this distinction, it elicits similar responses in the human body, supporting muscle mass gain and potentially enhancing bone density.

While Dianabol doesn't convert into estrogen as much as natural testosterone, research from ScienceDirect suggests that it still has androgenic effects that impact the overall balance of sex hormones [3].

Is Dianabol Banned In Sports?

A man running in a track

Yes, taking anabolic steroids like Dianabol is banned in professional sports by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Despite that, research findings from the Washington Post indicate it’s still one of the most commonly used drugs in sports [4].

This is due to the potent effect it has on muscle gains through increased synthetic testosterone levels.

What Are The Side Effects?

A man holding his liver

Dianabol tablets comes with various side effects that users should be aware of.

Liver Toxicity

Hepatotoxicity, the term for drug-induced liver damage, is a concern with Dianabol. Unlike some anabolic steroids, research from the National Institute of Health suggests that Dianabol poses a higher risk in this regard. Higher doses and long-term use increase the risk, potentially leading to permanent liver problems [5].


Though not directly posing health issues, gynecomastia is a noticeable problem caused by Dianabol. It can result in the development of soft breast tissue in men, distinct from well-defined pectoral muscles, according to the journal published by Oxford Academic [6].

“Gynecomastia is a condition that makes breast tissue swell in boys and men. It can happen when the balance of two hormones in your body is thrown off. If you have enlarged breasts because of fat deposits, you have a different condition called "pseudogynecomastia."

- Traci C. Johnson, MD, WebMD.com

Skin Conditions

Research from the Cleveland Clinic indicates that Dianabol tablets can affect the skin similarly to hormone imbalances during puberty. Furthermore, it suggests that acne and excessively oily skin are common issues [7].

Excessive Hair Growth

Due to its androgenic effects, Dianabol can impact hair growth. While it may cause issues for scalp hair, a study published by the National Institute of Health reveals it can also lead to excessive body and facial hair growth [8].

Fluid Retention

A man holding his muscles

Research from the National Institute of Health suggests that Dianabol's influence on muscle growth may lead to fluid retention, resulting in increased muscle size that comprises intracellular fluid rather than new muscle fibers. As the Dianabol cycle concludes, this fluid may dissipate, leading to a less bulky appearance of the muscles [9].

Nausea And Vomiting

Excessive Dianabol intake can lead to nausea and vomiting among athletes, according to National Institute of Health. This occurs shortly after consumption, prompting careful monitoring by physicians. It signals an adverse reaction to the drug and may lead to more severe issues [10].

High Blood Pressure

In a clinical trial published in the National Institute of Health, some participants reported high blood pressure with Dianabol intake, leading a few to withdraw. Ignoring this issue and persisting with the steroid can cause permanent heart damage, making it a serious concern [11].

Menstrual Irregularities

Women using Dianabol have reported menstrual issues, including sudden changes in dates and severity of periods. The extent of this correlation with dosage remains unclear, but it's crucial for women to recognize that these disruptions are unhealthy and could indicate potential problems.

Availability Of The Drug

A doctor prescribing medicine

Dianabol is only available as a prescription medication, and a doctor has to carefully monitor the administration and effects during the treatment period.

However, that hasn’t stopped many athletes from getting it from black market sources.

Not only can that result in receiving dubious quality steroids, but it can also result in legal problems as it’s a controlled substance.

As a fitness trainer, I believe opting for a natural testosterone supplement is a safer way to boosting T levels, as I've observed my clients using them over the years without any untoward side effects.

Testosterone boosters for men work by using vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and herbs to trigger the body’s ability to increase and maintain higher T-levels.


How Does Dianabol Make You Feel?

Dianabol can make you feel like you have more power and strength during physical activities. This feeling can get gradually stronger, and it’s what bodybuilders often look for in steroid use. It’s important to emphasize that it can also make you feel nauseous.

How Fast Does Dianabol Work?

Dianabol can work within a few weeks. Some bodybuilders have reported gaining several pounds of muscle per week during a Dianabol cycle, but that also increases the risk of side effects.

What Happens to Your Testosterone When You Stop Dianabol?

When you stop using Dianabol, the process of restoring natural testosterone levels may extend over a period of up to 4 months. This transition can bring about several withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, weight loss due to decreased appetite, reduced strength, and feelings of depression.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7018798/
  2. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(76)90001-5/fulltext
  3. http://scas.org.uk/wp-content/pages/dianabol_side_effects__common_and_other_side_effects.html
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/sports/1979/05/27/drugs-in-sports/215fa0dc-d5e6-4e6d-a10e-f5f3018f7cf5/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548931/
  6. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article-abstract/22/4/450/2716912?redirectedFrom
  7. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/5521-anabolic-steroids
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5928870
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7018798/
  10. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Methandrostenolone
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1673411/
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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