What Is Winstrol? (Effectiveness & Availability)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 8, 2023
Our content is meticulously researched and reviewed by an expert team of fact checkers and medical professionals. They ensure accuracy, relevance, and timeliness using the latest reputable sources, which are cited within the text and listed at the end of the article. Before publication and upon significant updates, we confirm factual accuracy, committed to providing readers with well-informed content. 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, a form of anabolic steroid, is primarily used for treating severe skin swelling and enhancing muscle growth, but it carries significant health risks.
  • Winstrol is popular for its effectiveness in both oral and injectable forms, initially used for medical conditions like hereditary angioedema and aplastic anemia, and later for muscle growth and athletic performance.
  • Winstrol was banned in professional sports in 1974 when urine tests became capable of detecting anabolic steroids, as evidenced by the famous disqualification of Ben Johnson in the 1987 Seoul Olympics.
  • Considering the serious health risks associated with Winstrol, including liver damage and hormonal imbalances, I advise to pursue muscle growth through safer, natural methods like diet and exercise.

What Does Winstrol Do?

Man holding a pill and a glass of water

Winstrol, a testosterone-based anabolic steroid, was mainly used to reduce severe skin swelling and regulate sex hormones in both genders. However, in 2010, the FDA downgraded it to a Schedule III drug due to safety concerns [1].

Valued for its versatility in oral and injectable forms, Winstrol was first used to treat hereditary angioedema and aplastic anemia, boosting red blood cell production.

Later research from the National Institute of Health (NIH) showed its benefits in treating vascular disorders and aiding muscle growth by affecting the sex hormone-binding globulin, thereby reducing testosterone's transformation into estrogen [2].

Athletes were drawn to Winstrol for its muscle-enhancing benefits without the need for medical injections.

Winstrol's Impact on Muscle Growth and Athletic Interest

Anabolic steroids like Winstrol are famous for their muscle growth benefits, appealing to athletes and bodybuilders. Winstrol changes the sex hormone-binding globulin, lessening testosterone's change into estrogen, which boosts lean muscle and reduces water retention.

Initially used for medical issues like hereditary angioedema and aplastic anemia, Winstrol's ability to enhance physical performance and muscle growth soon stood out.

Its availability in pill and injectable forms added to its appeal, especially for those who prefer easy administration. Athletes, in particular, favored Winstrol for its muscle-boosting effects without the need for professional injections.

Health Risks and Regulatory Measures

However, misusing anabolic steroids like Winstrol can be risky. While they boost muscle mass, they can also cause health issues such as hormonal imbalances, heart problems, and liver damage.

Therefore, using them outside of medical supervision is strongly advised against.

In professional sports, the use of steroids like Winstrol has been closely monitored and penalized for years. Sporting authorities quickly noticed its use by athletes in the 60s and 70s, leading to regulations to curb misuse and safeguard athletes' health.

Comparison with Other Steroids

Winstrol (Stanozolol) is a go-to in the anabolic steroid world for its focus on lean muscle and minimal water retention, perfect for clients in cutting cycles. The pill form also makes it easy to incorporate into routines.

It's less androgenic compared to many steroids, which is a plus for my female clients, though I always caution about potential liver and cholesterol issues.

For those not looking for bulk but more definition, Winstrol is a solid choice.

However, as a trainer, I stress the importance of understanding its side effects and always recommend consulting with a healthcare professional before adding Winstrol to any fitness plan.

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.

Is Winstrol Banned In Sports?

Pink pills with question mark on top

Yes, Winstrol was banned in sports in 1974 when urine tests started detecting anabolic steroids.

A notable case was Ben Johnson's in 1987, where he lost his gold medal in the 100-meter sprint at the Seoul Olympics due to a positive Winstrol test [3].

Many athletes had been using Winstrol since the early '80s, often avoiding detection. Despite its ban in professional sports, Winstrol remains popular among amateurs, partly because it's available in tablet form.

What Are The Side Effects?

Man having a liver pain

Winstrol often leads to liver, stomach, skin, and metabolic issues. The severity of these side effects can depend on the dosage, just like with other anabolic steroids.

That's why I always emphasize the importance of doctor supervision to my clients to avoid long-term health problems.

Here's a rundown of the side effects, as noted in official medical records.

Liver Problems

Anabolic steroids with androgenic effects regularly impact liver function, and Winstrol has been shown to trigger medium to serious liver issues.

According to NIH, even with reduced dose adjustments, long-term use of steroids can ultimately lead to liver damage and failure [4].

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

According to a study from the National Library of Medicine, Gynecomastia is a condition where men develop soft breast tissue, and it's a common side effect of anabolic steroids [5].

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

I've noticed that clients using the oral form of Winstrol sometimes face stomach issues, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

These problems aren't typical with injectable anabolic steroids. Such side effects can really throw a wrench in your diet and training efforts.

Skin Issues

The same reason that testosterone influences facial hair growth also impacts overall skin health and conditions. According to ScienceDirect, it's very common for teenagers, but adults taking Winstrol can encounter new or worsening acne [6].

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.

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.

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

Menstrual Irregularities

According to WebMed, while women seem to be less likely to take Winstrol, there is evidence that it can negatively impact menstrual periods [7].

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.

According to NIH, 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 [8].

“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, dualdiagnosis.org

Availability Of The Drug

Doctor writing a prescription

Winstrol, like other anabolic steroids, was prescription-only. However, this hasn't stopped its black market use for performance enhancement. The risks extend beyond side effects to potential interactions with other medications.

I always advise against such risks for short-term benefits. With a proper diet and exercise, natural supplements can accelerate progress. Herbs, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals can boost the body's natural testosterone production.

These might take months to show results, but they offer strength and fitness improvements without the health risks of steroids.


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.


  1. https://www.usada.org/spirit-of-sport/education/what-is-stanozolol/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2723028/
  3. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1989-03-03-sp-325-story.html
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23929808/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279105/
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/steroid-acne
  7. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/index
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21550729/
Was this article helpful?

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

You May Also Like

A buff man holding a syringe
By Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC 6 months ago
What is Deca Durabolin? (Effectiveness & Availability) 
A man holding a pill
By Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC 5 months ago
What is Anadrol? (Effectiveness, Side Effects, Availability)
A man injecting a syringe on his arm
By Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC 2 months ago
What Is HGH? (Effectiveness, Side Effects, Availability)
Pills in a bottle spilled on a surface
By Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC 5 months ago
What Is Dianabol? (Effectiveness & Side Effects)
A muscular man holding a bottle
By Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC 6 months ago
What Is Anavar? (Effectiveness, Side Effects, Availability)
A muscular man holding a bottle
By Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC 6 months ago
What Is Trenbolone? (Side Effects & Availability)

Write a Reply or Comment

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

Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.