Dianabol Side Effects Explained

We take a look at the negative side effects associated with using the oral anabolics steroid Dianabol (D-BOL).

Dianabol is well known as an anabolic steroid that is not without its share of side effects. As described earlier, Dianabol’s chemical structure grants it somewhat less of an affinity for strong pronounced androgenic effects. However, this is not to say that Dianabol does not possess androgenic side effects, nor is it an excuse for users to underestimate them or brush them aside. Dianabol also presents the same general list of side effects seen with any general anabolic steroid (side effects on the cardiovascular system, the HPTA (Hypothalamic Pituitary Testicular Axis), and so on and so forth).

Dianabol Estrogenic Side Effects

Dianabol holds moderate activity with the aromatase enzyme, making Estrogenic side effects a concern with this compound. The first and most commonly worried about Estrogenic side effect is that of gynecomastia, which is known as the development of breast tissue. This is a commonly reported side effect of Dianabol, especially when run at higher doses and in combination with other aromatizable anabolic steroids when no form of Estrogen-controlling ancillaries is used. This is why it is imperative for the user to, at the very least, have an Estrogen-controlling ancillary on hand. There are two different methods by which to tackle this potential side effect. The first would be through the use of a SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator) such as Nolvadex or Toremifene, which serves to block the activity of Estrogen at the receptor sites in breast tissue (note that these compounds do not reduce circulating levels of Estrogen in the body). The second method is through the use of an AI (Aromatase Inhibitor) such as Aromasin (AKA Exemestane) or Arimidex, which serves to disable the aromatase enzyme, thereby preventing any possible conversion of aromatizable anabolic steroids into Estrogen. This would effectively reduce total blood plasma levels of Estrogen in the body. The other major side effect of Estrogen conversion is that of bloating and water retention, of which Dianabol is known very well for, and this is due to its moderate affinity for the aromatase enzyme. Water retention can lead to a soft puffier look to the physique, but more importantly, can lead to increases in blood pressure. In such a case, a SERM would do nothing to correct this issue and instead one must seek Estrogen control at the root with an AI.

Androgenic Dianabol Side Effects

It has been mentioned many times by this point that Dianabol holds milder androgenic activity than its parent hormone Testosterone, and it was indeed designed with this intention. However, one cannot discount the risk of androgenic side effects, as they still do present themselves in Dianabol cycles. Androgenic side effects include increased sebum secretion (oily skin), acne (in relation to the increased sebum production), the possibility of triggering male pattern baldness if the user possesses the gene responsible for it, as well as hair growth. For women, androgenic side effects present themselves in the form of virilization, where the female user will increase the development of male characteristics (deepened voice, increased hair growth, clitoral growth, etc.). Androgenic side effects are not typically a large concern with Dianabol, though they still exist. Therefore if an individual wishes to reduce the incidence of these effects (if Dianabol is indeed the cause), they may opt to use a 5 Alpha Reductase (5AR) inhibitor compound such as Finasteride or Proscar. These compounds inhibit the enzyme 5AR from reducing Dianabol into the more androgenic metabolite. However, Dianabol holds an extremely low affinity for the 5AR enzymeError! Bookmark not defined., and this is the reason for its relatively lower incidence of androgenic side effects.

liver-steroids-damageHepatoxic & Cholesterol Dianabol Side Effects

Dianabol is a C-17 Alpha Alkylated anabolic steroid, which allows it to be consumed and assimilated effectively orally. However, the negative side of this convenience is that the chemical alteration that makes this possible is responsible for placing a higher strain on the liver as the compound is more resistant to hepatic breakdown. As a result, excessive or extremely prolonged use of Dianabol can possibly result in increased hepatic strain, leading to severe liver damage and possible debilitating liver dysfunction (in the worst rare cases). As a result, use of Dianabol should be limited to no longer than 6 weeks at any given time in a cycle so as to provide the liver with a period of recuperation. Liver support compounds and supplements such as UDCA and TUDCA are advised to be used while on cycles of hepatotoxic compounds such as Dianabol so as to maintain proper liver function and health. Studies where Dianabol was administered at doses of 10mg or less per day displayed minimal hepatic strain, while doses of 15mg per day or more displayed elevated bromosulphalein levels (an indication of increased hepatic strain)[i].

As with any anabolic steroid, supraphysiological levels of Dianabol introduced to the body will have deleterious effects on blood lipid profiles, commonly reducing HDL (the good cholesterol) and raising LDL (the bad cholesterol). This increases the risk of arteriosclerosis, but the degree to which lipid profiles are changed for the worse are largely dependent on dose, duration of use, and route of administration (oral anabolic steroids are known for producing worse disastrous changes to blood lipid profiles than do injectable anabolic steroids). As a result, one can put two and two together and realize that Dianabol being an oral anabolic steroid is resultant in a greater negative impact on lipid profile changes. It is through the user’s diet, where every effort must be kept to avoid foods that promote negative changes on cardiovascular health (i.e. saturated fats, cholesterol laden foods, and simple carbohydrates).

Testosterone Dianabol Side Effects

Finally, all anabolic steroids (Dianabol included) will suppress or shut down the user’s Hypothalamic Pituitary Testicular Axis (HPTA), thereby reducing or shutting down the user’s endogenous Testosterone production while on-cycle. It is important that cycles not be extended for too long periods of time so as to reduce the time required to recover the HPTA during the post-cycle period. Dianabol in particular is known as a compound that is very strong in regards to suppression and shutdown of the HPTA and endogenous Testosterone production. Various studies have demonstrated that doses as low as 15mg per day for 8 weeks caused mean plasma Testosterone levels to decline by 69%[ii]. It is advisable that the user utilizes a solid Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) program, which includes the use of Testosterone-stimulating compounds such as Nolvadex, for 4-6 weeks following cessation of the cycle so as to ensure full restoration of the body’s endogenous production of Testosterone and related hormones. Without a proper PCT program, the user risks damaging and/or shutting down his HPTA for the rest of his life.


[i] Anabolic steroids in clinical medicine. Liddle GW, Burke Jr. H A Helvetica Medica Acta, 5/6 1960:504-13.

[ii] Effect of anabolic steroid (metandionon) on plasma LH-FSH, and testosterone and on the response to intravenous administration of LRH. Holma P. Adlecreutz. Acta Endocrinol (Copenh) 1976 Deca;83(4):856-64