Steroids are medically prescribed for many chronic conditions, they act as anti-inflammatory agents, suppressing the action of immune cells. Steroids are also taken up by many bodybuilders, weight lifters and athletes for the following purposes:
- Increase lean muscular mass
- Improve stamina
- Enhance athletic performance
Steroids maybe available as oral supplements or as injectable forms. Steroid injections are given intra-muscularly, that is, in the bulk of the muscles, mostly in deltoids, glutes, thighs.
Here is what one needs to know on How to Inject Steroids?
1.Check the contents of the vial
The first and foremost thing to do is to check the medicine containing vial for the expiry date. Check for any dispersions or particles. if the medicine is originally supposed to be clear but you find any particles floating about then discard the medicine.
2.Sterile syringes and needles
The next very important factor to be considered are the syringes and needles. Since the injection pierces through skin into the muscles and eventually blood stream, it is important to make sure the injection needle is new and sterile.
AVOID sharing needles. Sharing needles with partners, friends is a commonly encountered cause for transmission of infectious diseases as well as STDs.
Hence, take all aseptic precautions and use only sterile needles.
3.Take aseptic precautions on the injection site
The site of injection should be cleaned with an alcohol wipe or any antiseptic solution so as to prevent contamination f needle when it is injected into the muscle.
The various sites of injection preferred for Intra-muscular administration of steroids are as follows:
- Glutes: Glutes are the safest place to inject, often done in the upper outermost quadrant, making sure the sciatic nerve isn’t hit.
- Quads: Quads are the next safest area to inject. Mostly injected in the outer thigh region in between the knee and top of your leg.
- Deltoids: Delts are smaller in size and are pretty difficult to inject by one’s self.
It is also imperative to keep rotating the injection sites. It is not advisable to inject in the same site over and over again. It might lead to risk of infection if sufficient time isn’t given for healing of injected site. Never inject in an irritated, broken or site with active infection, pus, wound, etc.
4.Loading the syringe and injecting
- Allow refrigerated steroids to warm to room temperature before injecting to reduce shock to the muscle
- Insert needle and draw up the steroid
- Open vial and clean rubber top with alcohol swab
- Use an 18-23 G with 1-1.5 inch needle to draw up the steroid into the syringe.
- Use an 21-25 G with 1-1.5 inch needle to inject the steroid into the muscle.
- Open vial and clean rubber top with alcohol swab. · Push the needle through the vial and draw the plunger back with the amount of steroid needed.
- Remove air bubbles in syringe before injecting
- Do not inject more than 2mL of solution at one time. You can be at risk for abscesses or muscle pain.
Make sure you are injecting into the bulk of the muscle and not injuring a nerve or blood vessel.
The loaded syringe is placed perpendicular to the surface to be injected, holding it like a dart and slowly advancing the needle into the skin and about 8-10 mm of needle should be inserted inside.
Slowly pull back the plunger, this step is called aspiration. Done to check if a blood vessel has been hit, if on aspiration blood is seen then it is indicative of blood vessel being punctured. In such cases slightly withdraw the needle and insert in a different site. Slowly deposit the medicine by pushing down the plunger steadily.
STEROIDS: THE SIDE EFFECTS!
While steroids are used for a multitude of purposes, Indicated for many conditions and other purposes like performance enhancement, it does come up with a list of side effects such as :
- Weight gain
- Abnormally shaped muscles in the muscles it was injected into (at times)
- Suppresses naturally produces testosterone, adrenaline, and other natural steroids.
- Tendonitis at the site of injection
- Destroys cartilage cells in the joints.
- Headaches, dizziness
- Increases risk of fracture in older women
- Aggressive behaviour
- Enlargement of breasts tissues
If you’re on steroid usage for bodybuilding purpose, then one should remember:
- Taking a 6-8 week break from using steroids allows your body to naturally produce testosterone again, which helps your body to adjust and heal.
- Bridging : Periodic use of low-dose steroids during your cycle break. Bridging can interfere with hormone recovery and prevent production of natural testosterone.
- Stacking : Using more than one steroid at a time can increase your risk for experiencing side effects
Injecting steroids by one’s self for prolonged period of time and unmonitored doses can be detrimental. Hence it is suggested one consults their physician prior to using steroids.