Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

What Is Winstrol? (Effectiveness & Availability)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: April 23, 2023
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

I've been a personal fitness and strength coach for over ten years and have been working on my own body since high school. And with that experience, you quickly learn how to identify the guys at the gym who decided to go down the road of anabolic steroid drug abuse.

Yes, steroids like Winstrol can have a significant and fast impact on lean muscle mass.

But they also come with some serious side effects that get worse with time and higher doses. And you'll often recognize them in bodybuilders who consume Winstrol.

So, I decided to research this drug thoroughly with a physician to help my clients and readers better understand what it's about.

Quick Summary

  • Winstrol is a form of anabolic steroid, and is primarily used to treat severe swelling beneath the skin.
  • Studies reveal that Winstrol makes you feel energized, and stronger during workouts if taken a few minutes before exercising.
  • Winstrol can boost muscle growth, but is linked with some side effects like sleep disruption, irregular menstruation, metabolic issues, and skin issues.

What Does Winstrol Do?

Man holding a pill and a glass of water

Winstrol is an anabolic steroid primarily used to treat severe swelling underneath the skin.

It is a branded version of stanozolol tablets, and as a synthetic derivative of testosterone, it was also commonly prescribed to men and women with a significant sex hormone imbalance.

However, in 2010, it was withdrawn by the FDA and is now classed as a Schedule III drug [1].

It was a popular prescription drug because it was available in intramuscular and oral form, giving doctors and patients more flexibility.

The original use was for the treatment of hereditary angioedema (aforementioned severe swelling) and aplastic anemia, where it was used to increase the production of red blood cells [2]. But it eventually became clear that it could be used for vascular disorders and to promote muscle growth.

Studies have shown that it directly influences sex hormone-binding globulin, which reduces how much testosterone the body converts into estrogen [3].

And that's where athletes became interested in the use of a steroid that didn't require injections administered by health professionals.

However, that early use by athletes in the 1960s and 1970s was quickly identified by sporting councils.

Is Winstrol Banned In Sports?

Pink pills with question mark on top

Yes, Winstrol is banned in sports and was identified as such in 1974 when it became possible to detect anabolic steroids in urine tests.

One of the most famous incidents of Winstrol use and detection was Ben Johnson in 1987 [4].

The positive test results saw Johnson banned and disqualified, which meant he lost his gold medal for the 100-meter sprint at the Seoul Olympics.

At the time, it turned out that many other athletes had been using this drug since the early 1980s and had somehow evaded triggering a positive drug test result.

While that may have put a halt to Winstrol's use in professional athletes, it still seems to be one of the more commonly used anabolic agents with amateurs because it's available in tablet form.

What Are The Side Effects?

Man having a liver pain

Common side-effects of Winstrol include liver problems, as well as certain stomach, skin, and metabolic issues. Some serious side effects also depend on the Winstrol dosage, like for other anabolic steroids.

Because of all these known problems, it's important that a doctor monitors a patient's reactions to avoid lasting and serious health problems.

Here is a summary of the side effects from official medical records [5].

Liver Problems

Anabolic steroids with androgenic effects regularly impact liver function, and Winstrol has been shown to trigger medium to serious liver issues. Even with reduced dose adjustments, long-term use of steroids can ultimately lead to liver damage and failure [6].

Erratic Testicular Function

Another one of the more common side effects of Winstrol and anabolic steroids, in general, is significant fluctuations in sexual desire in male patients.

This can range from frequent or persistent erections to complete loss of libido during prolonged stanozolol administration.


A person with soft breast tissues

Gynecomastia is a condition where men develop soft breast tissue, and it's a common side effect of anabolic steroids [7].

This is fatty tissue and shouldn't be mistaken for a large muscle mass in the chest area.

You'll often find bodybuilders battling with this, and it can significantly impact upper body muscle development.

Stomach issues

There are also several stomach issues that patients can encounter with the oral form of Winstrol. This isn't common with injected anabolic steroids, and it can include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

These are the types of side effects of Winstrol that can be very disruptive to your diet and training efforts.

Skin Issues

The same reason that testosterone influences facial hair growth also impacts overall skin health and conditions. It's very common for teenagers, but adults taking Winstrol can encounter new or worsening acne [8].

While taking steroids, this kind of acne might be difficult to control as it's directly tied to hormone balances.

Fluid Retention

Unlike other steroids, Winstrol has also been linked to fluid and electrolyte retention. Ultimately, this can lead to a condition called edema, and that can impact your overall physical appearance [9].

It's most common in the legs and feet and is likely to become worse with high doses.

Metabolic Issues

Squeezing belly fats

Another problem that can ultimately impact overall health, wellbeing, and dietary efforts is decreased glucose tolerance.

The result can be early signs of type 2 diabetes [10].

While this initial effect doesn't require medication, leaving its progress untreated can significantly increase the risk of developing diabetes.

Menstrual Irregularities

While women seem to be less likely to take Winstrol, there is evidence that it can negatively impact menstrual periods [11]. There are reports of both early and delayed menstruation that could possibly set in with low doses.

Sleep Disruptions

The final issue that I found mentioned is difficulty sleeping. This can have a significant impact on mental wellbeing and physical recovery time after exercising. It's while you're asleep that muscles repair and recover, and disruptions to this process can leave you open to injuries and reduced performance [12].

“More seasoned steroid abuse individuals are additionally bound to have ailments that can cause agony or distress that upsets their rest.”

- Ben Lesser Health, Fitness & Medical Writer,

Availability Of The Drug

Doctor writing a prescription

Like other anabolic steroids, Winstrol was only available through prescriptions from a doctor.

But that hasn't stopped people from getting it on the black market for performance-enhancing effects.

The problem with taking such risks isn't just the above-mentioned side effects but also possible drug interactions with other medications that people might be taking.

That's why I always tell people to avoid taking such risks for short-term gains.

The thing is that with the right diet and workout routine, you can still speed things up with natural nutritional supplements. There are plenty of herbs, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that all add up to having an influence on the body's natural testosterone production.

They might not work within a few weeks, but you can achieve noticeable strength and fitness improvements over several months without all the negative health risks.

Related Articles:


How Does Winstrol Make You Feel?

Winstrol can make you feel stronger and energized during workouts. But it can also cause sudden behavioral changes and mood swings when the effects of the drug start to wear off.

What Is Another Name for Winstrol?

Stanozolol is another name for Winstrol. The brand name Winstrol is more common, but you will find both terms refer to the same product on drug information websites.

Is Winstrol Worth The Risks?

Anabolic steroids like Winstrol might offer a fast boost in muscle building and athletic performance, but once you factor in the health risks in the short and long term, it should become clear that it's not worth it.

What I advise all my clients to do first is spend several months fixing their diet and exercise routine. And once that is running at optimum levels, they start taking safe, legal steroids.

These are natural supplements with vitamins, minerals, and herbs that have a proven impact on the body's ability to boost T-levels.

We've had great long-term results with legal T-boosters. And while they don't provide overnight magic results, they can still help get you to your health and fitness goals faster.


Was this article helpful?

About The Author

You May Also Like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *