Steroids and performance & image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) FAQ
Performance and image enhancing drugs are common and used for many different reasons. The team at Stonewall believe in and respect patient choice. The use of steroids and body enhancing drugs can be dangerous if used incorrectly. We encourage patients who are currently using or who have recently stopped, to seek monitoring below are some questions and answers our team are asked on a regular basis.
PIEDs, what are they?
The most commons steroids seen in Australia are anabolic – andgrogenic steroids (AAS) these mimic natural testosterone.
Who uses steroids?
We see many different people who use PIEDs. Not just the sterotypical gym goer but males and females, high school students and even those of a more mature age.
How are they used and are they safe?
Depending on the steroid or PIED being used varies the way the substance is used.
Some people apply medication topically (rub it onto the skin), while others take the medication orally and others inject the medication.
Regardless of the medication used, if it is used without proper medical oversight, can be risky for your health and
Can I speak with someone about my PIEDs use?
Yes. We speak with patients daily about steroids.
How can I keep using safely?
If not through a Doctors prescription and Pharmacy…
- Regular blood tests of your kidney and liver function.
- Regular FBC to ensure your blood is not too thick / and to time blood donations.
- Annual / biannual testosterone – so as not to hyper dose to harmful levels.
- Regular weight / blood pressure
- Increased Blood pressure and checks for heart wall thickening, which may need monitoring or further investigation.
- Heart wall thickening can lead to early heart attacks.
- Prostate cancer risk / assess – as testosterone can stimulate prostate cancers.
Side effects, interactions and steroids
Side effects from steroid use are common and may include:
– the shutdown of natural testosterone production
– male pattern baldness
– Erectile dysfunction
– reduction / increase in libido (sex drive)
– prostate enlargement
– breast development / shrinkage of the breast tissue
– development of a more masculine physique
– deepening of the voice and coarse skin
The higher the dose and longer the use… the greater the risk.
Why do people use steroids?
I've heard my testicles can shrink from using steroids, is this true?
Yes for some people.
When the body detects an over supply of Testosterone, which usually occurs after a few weeks of steroid use, natural testosterone production will be shut down. During a cycle, the shut down of natural Testosterone production will become evident from the testicles shrinking in size.
Using a higher dose of testosterone for longer, means I will keep growing right?
Using doseages of steroids that are too high and or for long periods of time can cause a plateau in muscle growth. This is where your muscles stop growing regardless of how good your diet and training are.
Injecting equipment & PIEDs usage
Stonewall believes in harm minimisation and therefore the use of fresh injecting equipment by those using PIEDs.
We keep injecting equipment packs (syringes and sharpes containers) in stock so speak with one of the team if you require some.
Our packs contain:
– Alcohol wipes
– Sharpes container
If you’re unable to get a kit from us, you can also get the kits from a Needle and Syringe program site throughout Queensland.
If you need to dispose of used injecting equipment, please bring in your sharpes container and let one of the team know.
Who can I speak to about PIEDs outside of Queensland
Dr Beng Eu – Prahran Market Clinic.
Glossary or terms
Cycle – The period a person takes steroids. This is usually 8 weeks.
Cycling – The process of taking a course of steroids and then letting your body rest for the same period. Example 8 weeks of steroid use followed by 8 weeks of no steroid use.
HPTA – Hypothalamic, Pituitary, Testiculat Axis. The system the controls testosterone production and regulation in the human body.
Pyramiding – Starting out with small a small doseage and increasing to a set limit and then taper back down to complete the cycle.
Post Cycle Crash – A colleciton of symptoms sometimes experienced at the end of a cycle of steroids. Including loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, muscle shrinkage, low mood & lethargy.
Post Cycle Therapy PCT – A combination of drugs taken at the end of a cycle to kick start or supress natural testosterone production.
Stacking – Combining two or more anabolic steroids that work in different ways to achieve a bigger result.