Is Testosterone a Steroid?

When talking about testosterone or testosterone replacement therapy, there is a lot of confusion as to what testosterone actually is. When using testosterone for replacement therapy, it is far different than talking about testosterone in the context of steroid abuse.

When researching testosterone, the question arises: “Is testosterone actually a steroid?” The simple answer is “yes,” however, it is not a steroid in the same way that most people mean when talking about them. Testosterone itself is not an illicit steroid and will not cause the “roid rage” or breast development so commonly associated with illegal steroid use.

Testosterone itself is a naturally occurring hormone that is created within the human body. The natural role of testosterone is to stimulate muscle mass and growth, promote bone density, and aid in the production of sperm in males.

Since the rise of illegal steroids, testosterone and testosterone replacement therapy has been muddled with confusion and myths.

What is testosterone’s role?

Testosterone has many roles in your body, but the primary function of the hormone is to promote growth in muscle cells. This means that testosterone allows each individual muscle cell to increase in size.

Since larger muscles tend to be stronger as well, when muscle cells increase in size, strength can improve as a result. In addition, when muscle mass increases, your body also burns more calories. This also helps to promote a more beneficial balance between excess body fat and lean muscle.

When levels of testosterone are balanced, the hormones will also improve a person’s sense of well-being, focus, and concentration. Balanced testosterone can also improve mental clarity and enhance physical performance.

What is the difference between testosterone replacement therapy and steroids?

If you are currently suffering from low levels of testosterone and are experiencing issues with muscle mass, concentration, strength deficiencies, or sexual performance, bringing your levels to back up to normal may help your increase your performance in sports, at work, or even in the bedroom.

However, those who obtain testosterone medication through illegal means, or use testosterone at extreme levels may initially experience muscle gains or increased performance. This is generally a temporary enhancement as levels are not being appropriately monitored. In fact, using illegal steroids can have the opposite of the desired effect. It could potentially cause life-long harm to your body.

The difference between TRT and illegal steroid use is quite simple. TRT is a well established medical procedure while illegal steroids are used for cosmetic benefit or gaining a competitive edge in sports.

The main difference between the two lies in the purpose, amounts, goals, and application process of testosterone hormones.


While testosterone is technically a steroid, it is a naturally occurring steroid that is present in both men and women. The difference between Testosterone Replacement Therapy and steroid use (other than legality) lies with the intent, application, and amount of testosterone used. TRT is closely monitored by a health professional while illegal steroid use is usually not. If you are considering TRT, always consult with your physician to see what treatment options are right for you.

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