Steroid Shot: Medical vs. Performance

steroid shot

There are two different reasons why someone would take a steroid shot: for medical purposes or to enhance athletic performance. Understanding the different types that are given by injection for each purpose can help you make better decisions about the product that is right for your unique medical or performance needs.

Medical Steroid Shot Types

The medical steroid shot may contain one of two different types – either corticosteroids or anabolics. Corticosteroids are used in medicine to reduce certain types of inflammation or to suppress the immune system. On the other hand, an anabolic steroid shot could be prescribed to treat conditions like low testosterone in men, to facilitate gender transition in women, to stimulate the production of bone marrow, and to facilitate growth in children who have certain growth failure disorders. Anabolics can also help fight muscle wasting that comes with diseases like HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other chronic conditions.

There is some controversy surrounding the use of even corticosteroids in American sports. Team doctors who take up residency on the sidelines will offer corticosteroids in the middle of a game to help athletes ignore their pain and fight inflammation during their activities. Though technically legal, there are many people who view this as “cheating”, and there are activist groups who claim that using corticosteroids mid-game is the equivalent of ignoring an athlete’s injury and potentially allowing that injury to become worse. Most of the athletes believe that the corticosteroid shot simply acts much like taking an ibuprofen – it only serves to reduce pain to a tolerable level, allowing them to focus on the game.

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Medical Shot for Allergies

People who have severe seasonal allergies and who cannot get ample relief from products designed to counteract the body’s response to environmental factors like pollen or dust may get some relief from a steroid shot for allergies. This is often a last-resort form of treatment, and while some patients get by with a single shot every three months, others must have weekly shots at very low doses to keep their symptoms at bay. These shots are typically administered in a clinic setting; unlike insulin shots, they must be given by nurses or doctors for safety reasons. Most towns in the US and certain other countries have allergy clinics where they administer these shots once each week during a certain timeframe.

How Often can You Get a Shot?

In the medical world, the frequency with which you can get a steroid shot depends on whether you’re getting shots for pain, allergies, inflammation, or other reasons. Your doctor will perform several tests to confirm your diagnosis and adjust your steroid shot dose and frequency based on the severity of your condition as well as your medical history.

Medical ConditionShot Frequency
Pain
Usually a single dose, but no more than four times per year 
Allergies
Some are weekly; others last three months
Inflammation due to Injury
One dose or two doses spread over the course of a week
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Low doses every few weeks

Doses and Side Effects of Medical Steroids

steroid shotFor the most part, the dosages associated with medical uses vary based on factors such as the condition being treated, the patient’s age and weight, and the individual’s unique tolerance to the steroid being used. Corticosteroids given by injection have side effects that include pain and swelling at the injection site, muscle weakness, blushing, mood swings, increased appetite, and sometimes high blood pressure

Side effects associated with medical uses include mood swings, changes in sexual function or interest, gynecomastia, high blood pressure, testicular atrophy, and more. However, your physician will help you mitigate any side effects with appropriate dosing and supplements. It is important to keep in mind that steroid shots can suppress your immune system in such a way that you can no longer fight off viruses and bacteria appropriately. For this reason, you should always report any flu-like symptoms or open wounds to your doctor before you get a steroid shot, and those who are immune-compromised should always consult with their physicians before using corticosteroids. Regardless of your medical condition, your doctor will likely use the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time to treat you. This will help keep your immune system healthy and functioning.

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Performance Steroid Types

Oftentimes, performance steroids are the very same used in medicine, but when it comes to performance enhancement, they are used in much higher doses. The most popular injectable in the world is testosterone for sale, and it comes in a variety of different esters with different half-lives. Other steroid shot options for performance enhancement include Trenbolone, Sustanon-250, Deca Durabolin, Masteron, and Primobolan Depot. These come in a variety of different concentrations, too, and doses can vary based on individual tolerances.

It should be mentioned that anabolics for performance enhancement are not approved by the FDA or the drug-regulating groups in most other countries. This means that physicians will not prescribe such steroid shots for individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need for them. Anabolics are prescribed in medicine to treat a handful of conditions, and these include anemia, osteoporosis, hereditary angioedema, and muscle wasting that comes as a side effect of disorders like HIV/AIDS and others. This means that athletes will often order online or purchase it on the black market from underground laboratories who process human-grade anabolics from veterinary-grade ones.

Performance Steroid Side Effects

Steroid ShotsFor the most part, the side effects that athletes and bodybuilders experience when using for performance enhancing are the same as the side effects associated with use in medicine. However, because performance doses are generally much higher than those used for medical purposes, the risk for side effects – and their overall severity – is increased. To mitigate these, be sure to utilize anti-estrogen medications that prevent them from converting to estrogen in the bloodstream, use responsible doses for short periods of time, and follow up with the appropriate post-cycle therapy.

Remember, too, that not all of the side effects of a performance steroid shot are physical. Most professional sports leagues and the Olympic Games Committee have banned the use of steroid shots, and athletes are subjected to random urine testing. Those who test positive for high levels of testosterone or the presence of others (or common cycle supplements like SERM’s or AI’s) are often banned from participating, and in some cases, they are even stripped of their medals, trophies, or championship wins. Whether you are interested in learning more about a steroid shot for medical use or for performance enhancement, it is important to use your best judgement to learn what is right for your unique needs. Follow your doctor’s guidelines for treatment and use performance enhancing steroids responsibly in order to get the best possible results with only minimal risks.