There is a lot of confusion between the use of anabolic steroids and bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy. For this reason, many people shy away from testosterone therapy, thinking it’s a bad thing. Too many people believe that there is no difference between anabolic steroids and bioidentical testosterone replacement. Yet, although anabolic steroids are related to male sex hormones like testosterone, there are some vital differences.

Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones that are similar in many ways to the androgens, or male sex hormones. Like bioidentical testosterone, the anabolic steroids do promote the growth of skeletal muscle and the secondary male sexual characteristics. Anabolic steroids can be used in productive ways to treat conditions that occur when the body produces abnormally low levels of testosterone. However, bioidentical hormones would actually be a better choice because there are fewer side effects associated with them; those side effects that are possible are less dangerous than those posed by synthetic hormones such as anabolic steroids.

Most people are not as aware of the potential usefulness of anabolic steroids as they are of the potential for abuse. Athletes have been known to use anabolic steroids to develop muscle mass more quickly and become stronger or faster or just plain better at their sport. Of course, the public frowns upon the practice of using anabolic steroids. There are serious and undesirable side effects that can occur as a result of using anabolic steroids to achieve higher levels of athletic performance. For example, abusers can develop liver or kidney tumors, cancer, jaundice, high blood pressure, severe acne, and trembling. Men's testes may shrink and they can develop breasts. In women, anabolic steroid abuse can lead to a growth of facial hair, menstrual changes, and a deepening of the voice. Teens who abuse anabolic steroids may stop growing prematurely and permanently.

Bioidentical testosterone therapy is different from anabolic steroid use or abuse in several ways. First of all, bioidentical hormones are identical in structure and function to the hormones produced by the human body. Synthetic anabolic steroids, in contrast, differ ever-so-slightly from the testosterone produced in the human body. These slight biochemical differences between human testosterone and synthetic androgens are the reason for most of the dangerous side effects associated with the synthetic hormones.

As with most substances, abusing bioidentical testosterone could cause undesirable effects like feminization in men, hair loss and severe acne. Since bioidentical testosterone is typically used to replace testosterone that the body is not producing in adequate quantities either due to disease or old age, it is difficult to abuse. When the body has excess testosterone, it converts it into estrogen and DHT, causing feminizing effects in men. Replacement therapies simply replace missing testosterone; anabolic steroids, however, add more testosterone to the body than it needs, generating some nasty side effects.

Men who are considering bioidentical hormone therapy need to understand that anabolic steroids and bioidentical testosterone are not the same. Bioidentical doctors monitor liver function and lipid levels in men who are using bioidentical testosterone to replace what they are missing. Side effects of this type of therapy do exist, but they are less common than those experienced by men who use anabolic steroids. Bioidentical testosterone can have some important health benefits for aging men. Talking with a bioidentical hormone doctor can help clear up any fears and misunderstandings and help you understand how bioidentical testosterone can improve your overall health as you grow older.

Author's Bio: 

Jennifer is a content editor for the PhysioAge Medical Group, a group of bioidentical doctors who are experienced in helping both men and women slow the aging process.