Predominantly used in the bodybuilding industry, steroids are a synthetically created drug that tends to mimic the role of testosterone in the human body. Testosterone is known for its ability to increase muscle size and strength and bone density. This is in addition to other multiple functions it plays in the body. However, biologically, testosterone cannot be ingested in the human body from an external source and have the same effect. The primary reason for this is the liver’s metabolic function.

When testosterone enters the human body, it is metabolised by the liver, resulting in a null effect on muscle size and bone density because it’s been broken up completely by the liver. This is where steroids come in. As synthetically produced substances, they are capable of surviving the liver’s metabolic function and entering the body where they can then fulfil their purpose.

But with both injectable and oral steroids available, which one should you choose and what are the advantages and disadvantages of these two different consumption methods? We take a closer look below.

Injectable steroids vs oral steroids

Many in the bodybuilding industry ask the question: should they take oral steroids vs injectable ones? The answer is not as clear cut as it would first appear and this is why it’s important to look at the pros and cons of each steroid type so that you can make a more informed decision for yourself. We start with injectable steroids and then look at oral steroids.

Injectable steroids

As the name suggests, injectable steroids are injected via a needle into the body. They can be injected intramuscularly (within a muscle) or subcutaneously (under the skin). In practice, these steroids are injected either in the buttocks or in the thigh. The injection cycle will vary depending on the type of injectable steroid you use. Whereas some claim that you need to inject once to twice a week, others claim that you can inject steroids with a much longer duration between shots. With this in mind, let’s explore some of their pros and cons below.


  • It is believed that injectable steroids are far less harmful to the liver. The reason for this is that when injected, the steroid immediately goes into the bloodstream and bypasses the liver. However, its level of harm to the liver is considered a myth. While it is less harmful than an oral steroid, and poses less risk, some choose to supplement injectable steroid usage with a liver supplement.
  • It is also believed that injectable steroids cause less plaque build-up in the arteries, which means that there are lower chances of the user experiencing high blood pressure. However, this will depend on the type of steroid used and the individual person’s overall health situation.


    The first and most significant negative effect of injectable steroids is that, if injected incorrectly, they can lead to fatality. Septic shock or nerve damage are just some of the consequences that could be experienced.
  • A more indirect effect is the risk of contracting HIV. Since injecting steroids necessarily involves the use of needles, the practice of needle sharing could have devastating results.
  • Injectable steroids, depending on the type used, can also be quite painful in the muscle tissue, with pain lasting for up to several hours.
  • Finally, injecting steroids could result in a prolonged dry cough. This is the body’s way of reacting to and attempting to eject something from it. This is typically the case when the steroid oil hits a vessel.

Oral steroids

Oral anabolic steroids, on the other hand, are consumed as pills or in liquid form. When ingested in this form, they necessarily pass through the liver, where they are metabolised. Some of the pros and cons of these forms of steroids are covered in more detail here.

  • The most obvious benefit of consuming oral steroids is that doing so is quite simple. You can simply swallow it with a bit of water and they’re in your system.
  • They are also known to produce considerably fast results, especially in relation to building muscle mass.
  • They also have a shorter detection time, which means that they will not stay in your system for a long period of time and will therefore be undetected or have limited detectability when compared to injectable steroids.


  • On the downside, oral steroids are comparatively worse for the heart. They lower HDL cholesterol levels more than injectables. Since HDL is the “good” cholesterol and when high can lower blood pressure. Conversely, when it’s low, it can lead to spikes in blood pressure.
  • Although not all oral steroids place a lot of stress on the liver, most of them do, especially when compared to injectable steroids. Using liver supplements is one way of countering this side effect.
  • Finally, if used incorrectly, the biological value of oral steroids can be less than injectables. An example of this in practice is that since many oral steroid tablets are fat-soluble, they should not be paired or consumed with dietary fat. Consequently, these steroids should generally be taken without food for optimal results.

Which is better: a steroid shot or pills?

With all of the above in mind, it’s natural to wonder is an injectable steroid better than oral. The non-definitive answer is that it depends.

The dependent variables will include a consideration of the pros and cons of each steroid type, your ultimate goals in using these steroids, your current state of health and conditions of chronic illness (if any), the results you’d like to achieve, the side-effects that you may experience and whether you are comfortable with making this decision, whether you are taking any other medication together with the steroid and others.

On the whole, however, injectable steroids are considered the better option in terms of lower and less risky side effects on the body in comparison to oral ones.

In closing

Steroids are a synthetic way of absorbing more testosterone in the body. For many men, this is a great way to help them build muscle, strengthen bones and get lean. However, there are different forms of steroids – injectable and oral – and they should be weighed up against each other to decide which option is the right one in your unique case. Although injectable steroids are comparatively safer and less harmful to the body for use, oral steroids can yield similar if not faster results without the need for needles. If you are struggling to decide which option to go for, you can always turn to us for useful help and advice.