Anabolic steroids are often associated with terrible infections. It is believed to be cause by unsterile injection techniques, and/or bad quality underground lab “gear”. A new review analyzes 9 cases of injection problems in bodybuilders. Are anabolic steroids really to blame for these problems? Or is it the other “cosmetic injectables”.
It’s not that uncommon to see various horror stories on the internet discussing bad injections and the resulting infections. However for the thousands of steroid users in existence, very few injection problems are actually discussed. And even fewer injection problems are treated and reported in case studies. Researcher believe this is simply because most bodybuilders avoid their physicians for fear of the consequences of steroid use. This is really not surprising, but some injection go so bad we all hear about them, Bostin Lloyd’s tricep problem last year is certainly a well-known instance (largely because he was so open about it).
This past week a medical doctor in Dubai India published his paper reviewing injections there were self administered, or administered by a non-licensed physician in bodybuilders [Ref 1]. The paper is an interesting look at what could potentially go wrong with a steroid or related bodybuilding drug injectable. The following is not meant to scare anyone, and as with any case study the information is often only as reliable as the subject under review. And as we know people who have to check into ER because of steroid use are often less likely to be completely open about things they might have done wrong (they likely already feel pretty embarrassed).
Over an 8 year span of research the doctor found 11 cases of bad injections in 9 different bodybuilders (all men). The tables below describe each subject, their use, and the corresponding problem. But overall they found a few themes consistent throughout the review.
- Inflammation, with a corresponding tissue scaring around the foreign body (the drug injected)
- Metaplasia which is sort of a chemical irritation of the muscle cells
- Scarring, empty spaces (gaps), and fibrosis (connective tissue formation)
- Granulomas – or the body’s response to a foreign substance within it
Two other interesting notes:
- One man was injecting vaseline and paraffin oil into his penis for 2 months (an attempt at penis enlargement)
- Another man injected silicone into his ass in an attempt to contour it
Something that you may have already noticed is the actual lack of anabolic steroid related injection problems. Of the 9 cases only 3 were using anabolics. The rest were site enhancement oils, and corticosteroids (to heal injuries). Site enhancement oils (SEO’s) are notorious for bad quality and causing infection problems. This might be true because they are often homemade preparations that are simply not sterile. Meanwhile, with proper sterile injection techniques, it seems infections are quite rare when it comes to anabolic steroids.