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Is female infertility caused by anabolic steroids reversible?

By Dra. Laura de la Fuente Bitane.
Last Update: 02/28/2019

Anabolic agents are male hormones. Their use is associated with intense physical exercise to achieve maximum muscle development or in the case of transgender men to modify the physical appearance to the desired sex.

Androgens in women produce:

  • Cycle alterations with a tendency to lengthen periods between periods, block ovulation and may cause absence of menstruation.
  • At skin level acne, baldness with a distribution pattern similar to that of the male is manifested by increased hair in typically male areas (beard, moustache ...).
  • At cardiovascular level, it implies a greater damage of the vascular endothelium and greater susceptibility to thrombotic diseases. The alteration of the lipid profile associated with anabolic contributes to increase the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease.
  • Voice alteration, masculinization of the constitutional habit, affects growth in adolescence.

Slighter changes may be reversible when treatment is stopped. Changes at the level of ovulation or increased follicle loss may be interrupted, although the process may take a minimum of 3 months. However, it is more complex to act once major changes in physical appearance have occurred: hypertrophy of the clitoris, atrophy of the breasts.... At cardiovascular level, the vascular damage can be partially reversed with important changes in lifestyle although this is a medium to long term intervention.

Sterility is specifically due to the effect of androgen on the ovary causing anovulation and a picture similar to polycystic ovary syndrome. Its effect can be reversed after a while. Let us remember that cases of gestation have been described even in women who had been treated with male hormones to change sex.

Suggested for you: Anabolic steroids: do they cause male sterility?.

Dra. Laura de la Fuente Bitane
Dra. Laura de la Fuente Bitane
Gynecologist
Degree in Medicine and Surgery at the Autonomous University of Madrid, specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has a long experience as a specialist gynecologist in Assisted Reproduction and is an Associate Professor at the Complutense University of Madrid.
Licence: 28-45574
Gynecologist. Degree in Medicine and Surgery at the Autonomous University of Madrid, specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has a long experience as a specialist gynecologist in Assisted Reproduction and is an Associate Professor at the Complutense University of Madrid. Licence: 28-45574.
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