We’ve all heard the horror stories. Guy takes steroids, testicles become non existent and guy cries at the thought of humping someone.
But how much truth is there to this massive stereotype and what are the actual facts when it comes to steroids shrinking your testicles?
What are Steroids?
Steroids is a pretty broad term, in this article we are going to be looking at anabolic steroids.
‘Anabolic’ refers to the process of speeding up protein metabolism and the construction of new cells. Or building muscle.
These steroids are synthetic. Manufactured in a lab or in someones garage (depending on who sold them) and not the naturally occurring male hormones you have in you.
Numerous types of anabolic steroids exist, the most common being testosterone.
When you use steroids you are altering your hormones to create a better anabolic environment.
Bodybuilders use them to build muscle, pack on mass and look like a monster.
How do they work?
Anabolic steroids work by (we’re being basic here) stimulating receptors in muscle cells. These cells then start to produce proteins, whilst also having an effect on protein synthesis.
Androgenic effects also happen. This refers to development of male characteristics. Like hair growth and voice deepening.
Side Effects from Steroids
With the use of anabolic steroids comes a whole host of side effects. Near enough all of them unwanted and enough of them very serious.
The fastest and most common is reproductive capabilities decrease in as little time as 24 hours. Combine this with testicular atrophy (ball shrinkage) and you’re not having a good time. – More on this later.
Other side effects include an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and changes to mood.
You also might end up getting covered in acne and looking like something from Star Wars.
In Summary: Steroids will f*ck you up on loads of levels if you don’t know what you are doing.
Testicular Atrophy (Ball Shrinkage) and Steroids
So yes, steroids are capable of causing you some serious issues, especially if you abuse them.
One of these major issues that everyone first thinks of is small balls or even a small dick. Sadly due to the fact that steroids can basically affect everything in your body, this is true.
It happens. It sucks.
Understanding why your balls shrink when you cycle steroids is another thing. Can they grow back to size? Will there be long term effects?
Why do steroids shrink your testicles?
Your testicles are responsible for the production of testosterone. This occurs in the leydig cells.
When you take anabolic steroids you are essentially flooding your body with testosterone. When this happens, your balls shut production down.
When the leydig cell stops producing testosterone, you’re testicles will begin to shrink down in size.
It’s worth noting that alongside the leydig cell is the germ cell. Which is responsible for creating your sperm. If the germ cell halts production too, then further testicular atrophy will occur.
Does it happen to everyone?
Luckily it doesn’t.
It’s hard though, to put an exact percentage on it. But in one study of 207 steroid users only 8% reported testicular atrophy as a side effect. In another of 100, 40% reported it.
People used in these studies had a ‘history’ of steroid use, so it’s worth noting that length of time using them may vary amongst loads of other factors. But that 40% doesn’t look good does it?
Can you recover from testicular atrophy?
If you are looking down your shorts at a couple of raisins right now and thinking ‘oh shit’, we have a bit of good news for you.
Normally shrunken balls will fully recover from the use of anabolic steroids.
Remember the leydig cells? As soon as they detect your no longer juicing they will start to produce the hormone as normal. Filling your sack up to full size over a few months.
What are the long term effects?
A word of warning though, if someone was to take anabolic steroids over a long period, there is potential they would never return to normal size.
This would probably be a SMALLER concern among the other potential side effects though.
Like we said, the longer term effects could see no recovery or only partial recovery.
To be honest, the studies are currently limited on prolonged use and ball size so nothing is certain.
Steroids and Testicle Size – Save your balls
You’re either considering being on, or are on the gear at the minute and whilst that’s personal preference it’s important you understand the consequences.
With a fairly high amount of guys experiencing testicular atrophy from steroids whilst they are on a cycle, there’s a good chance you could join them.
It isn’t just your testicle size you could be sacrificing to the god of big gains though, there’s libido, penis size and erection quality to think about.
But not all is bad, often it’s short term and the longest your testicles will take to recover is a few months. Unless you’ve really been hitting anabolic steroids hard.
Stay safe and stay smart bro.