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What Is Dianabol? (Effectiveness & Side Effects)

Jordan Smith
Published by Jordan Smith | Medical Doctor
Last updated: August 1, 2023
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When you spend as much time in a gym around bodybuilders as I do, then you quickly notice those anabolic steroid lovers. As a personal trainer, I can usually pick them out from a crowd, especially after observing them for a few weeks.

One of the anabolic steroids that seems to be particularly popular with amateurs right now is Dianabol.

And while it can have a significant and fast impact on lean muscle mass, there are important risk factors that too many people ignore.

So I had a doctor help me out to thoroughly research what Dianabol does to the human body and why it can be quite dangerous.

Quick Summary

  • Dianabol is both 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.
  • Some renowned side effects of taking Dianabol include high blood pressure, vomiting, nausea, fluid retention, and excessive hair growth.

What Does Dianabol Do To Your Body?

A muscular man lifting a dumbbell

Dianabol primarily increases muscle protein synthesis in the body.

It is an androgenic and anabolic steroid, which is a branded version of methandienone.

That means it has a direct impact on muscle tissue development and can also influence male characteristics like facial hair growth and testicular function [1].

There have been several studies that looked at men undergoing athletic training, and they noted an increase in performance and body composition [2].

And it’s that impact on muscle mass that attracts so many amateur bodybuilders.

They get so far with their diet and training goals and then try to take the easy way out to boost their body’s capability for building more muscle and burning fat.

It’s a big temptation, especially when athletes see what their friends at the gym are sometimes able to achieve with far less effort and strain.

But there’s a good reason that Dianabol is a controlled substance and banned from sports. Those beneficial effects on muscle growth also come with severe side effects that are dosage-dependent and increase when you take it long-term.

How Is Dianabol Different From Testosterone?

Dianabol pills are commonly used in bodybuilding cycle due to their ability to enhance protein synthesis, increase blood flow, and promote muscle gain.

The main difference between Dianabol and testosterone is that Dianabol is a synthetic steroid and it’s not naturally produced.

It is a testosterone-like synthetic substance that triggers similar responses in the human body.

As an anabolic steroid, that means it will help with gaining muscle mass and possibly with improved bone density.

And while it doesn’t transform into estrogen as much as natural testosterone does, it still has androgenic effects that impact the overall sex hormone balance [3].

The risky thing is that Dianabol usage has been clinically tested for human use at a relatively low dosage and for short periods of time. Unfortunately, many bodybuilders resort to long-term steroid abuse as they become addicted to muscle development.

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, it’s still one of the most commonly used drugs in sports [4].

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

Testing for Dianabol is also quite simple as the body metabolizes it within a few hours, and it is detectable in a standard urine drug test.

There aren’t any published studies about how long after taking Dianabol an athlete would test positive, but with most other steroids, it can be weeks and even months after taking them.

What Are The Side Effects?

A man holding his liver

Dianabol tablets, a type of anabolic androgenic steroids, are known for their potential to promote muscle mass gains. However, like other anabolic steroids, Dianabol tablets is associated with various side effects that users should be aware of before considering its use.

Anabolic steroid use comes with a long list of negative effects, and these are the most important ones to highlight for Dianabol [5].

Liver Toxicity

Hepatotoxicity is the medical term used to describe the damaging effects of drugs on the liver. And while there are anabolic steroids that pose a lower risk for this to happen, Dianabol is not one of them [6].

A higher dose and long-term use seem to come with an increased risk, and it can become a permanent problem.


While gynecomastia doesn’t pose direct health issues, this is a problem that bodybuilders find difficult to hide. Studies have shown that Dianabol can cause the development of soft breast tissue in men, and this is very different from large and ripped pecs [7].

In extreme cases, it may even require medication to rectify the issue.

“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,

Skin Conditions

Scientific research has also revealed that using Dianabol tablets can have the same impact on skin conditions as hormone imbalances during puberty. Acne is the most common issue, and it’s also possible to end up with excessively oily skin [8].

And as these are hormone-related issues, it’s difficult to treat them with topical creams.

Excessive Hair Growth

Because Dianabol has androgenic effects, it’s also common for it to impact hair growth. While it can cause problems for hair follicles on your head, it can also lead to excessive body and facial hair growth [9].

Fluid Retention

A man holding his muscles

Studies that have shown changes in muscle tissue growth with Dianabol have also revealed that it can cause fluid retention [10].

That means that some of the increased muscle size can actually be intracellular fluid and not new muscle fibers.

With the completion of a Dianabol cycle, that fluid can then disappear, making muscle look less bulky.

Nausea And Vomiting

Because many athletes often end up taking too much Dianabol, they can quickly end up with nausea and vomiting [11].

This generally happens within a short while after taking Dianabol and is something that physicians carefully monitor. It should be an important sign that this drug doesn't agree with you and could cause more severe problems.

High Blood Pressure

One clinical trial involving Dianabol saw several subjects report high blood pressure, with a few of them having to withdraw from the trials [12]. It’s a very serious issue that can cause permanent damage to the heart if athletes ignore it and continue taking the steroid.

Menstrual Irregularities

Women that take Dianabol have also reported menstrual issues [13]. This can be a sudden change in dates and severity of periods.

It’s unclear how much this is related to the dosage, but it’s important for women to understand that such disruptions are not healthy and could be signs of more problems to come.

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.

A much safer option to boost testosterone levels is through a dietary supplement with natural ingredients.

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.

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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.

Avoiding Dianabol Steroid Use

Dianabol is often used by individuals in bulking cycle to promote weight gain and muscle synthesis, but it may also lead to an increase in body fat in some Dianabol users.

Given the serious side effects of Dianabol, it’s simply not worth taking it for muscle growth that most people can achieve safely with the right dedication to a strict diet and workout routine.

And once you have your diet and workouts sorted, you can stimulate your own natural testosterone production with legal steroids. Check out our top list of products that we have tried and tested:

These are based on amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and herbs, and I’ve seen some great results with both amateur and professional bodybuilders I coach.

They won’t work overnight, but in my experience, consistently pairing a good workout and diet with these legal steroids can get you to your fitness goals significantly faster.


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