2 minute read

Do steroids cause erectile dysfunction?

By Joe Young | Medically reviewed by Dr Luke Pratsides
Do steroids cause erectile dysfunction?

Many factors come into play when it comes to your erections. Coffee, porn, body image and even certain fruits can cause curious changes in the bedroom. Recreational drug use has a particularly strong effect. 

Anabolic steroids are prescription medications that are used for their muscle-boosting effects. But does it come at a serious cost? 

What are steroids?

Put simply, steroids are chemicals made by our bodies in small amounts which have a variety of roles from managing blood pressure and salt levels to modulating stress response, sex drive, and muscle building.

But steroids can also refer to manufactured medicines. The main ones are corticosteroids and anabolic-androgenic steroids (or anabolics).


These steroids help reduce inflammation in conditions like asthma, multiple sclerosis, and rashes. But, they weaken your immune system and cause side effects such as mood swings, weight gain and high blood pressure.

Anabolic steroids

They are a man-made version of testosterone, prescribed for hormonal deficiencies, such as delayed puberty or age-related testosterone deficiency. However, it’s more known as a black-market drug used to improve muscle mass. 

The link between steroids and erectile dysfunction  

You might take anabolic steroids to make yourself more attractive. Sadly, it provokes the desire but takes away the performance. Side effects include reduced sperm count, infertility, shrunken testicles, erectile dysfunction, and hair loss. A heavy price to pay for big muscles. 

Continuous use of anabolic steroids could also result in tolerance, meaning your body stops producing testosterone - one of the main drivers behind a man’s sexual health. 

How to combat erectile dysfunction when taking steroids

The simple answer is to stop taking them unless you’ve been advised to by a doctor. But it’s not that easy. They cause dependency and stopping suddenly leads to withdrawal symptoms. If you’re reliant on it, your body might stop making testosterone altogether. The effects can be long-lasting.

If dependency is a problem, it’s best to seek professional help.  

It can take over a year for your body to return to normal levels of testosterone on its own. Products such as sildenafil or Viagra, could help with this problem. It’s always important to talk to a doctor who can help you with their best knowledge. 

Bedroom performance can be improved by lifestyle choices, such as a healthy diet, exercise, and less stress. So it won’t hurt to improve these areas of life. 

The numan take

You wouldn’t think a drug nicknamed pumpers, juice, or stackers would leave you struggling to get it up. But erections are unpredictable. Unlike the effects of anabolic steroids. Use them for health reasons, or not at all. They can wreak havoc on your sex life.