Oxandrolone and Women

by: Josh Hodnik

There focus always has been, and always will be, on male athletes (or males in general) using performance enhancing drugs. Lance Armstrong knows this well, as he has occupied this spotlight over the past decade, and even more so over the past few months after being stripped of his Tour de France titles. Some people feel that he is innocent, while others feel that he is guilty, and there are a large number of people that couldn't care less. The fact of the matter is everyone knows that steroid use among male athletes is fairly common, even if Lance didn't use them.

I will agree with anyone that says that men make up the majority of the population that uses performance enhancing drugs. There is no doubt about this, but I can tell you that performance enhancing drug use among women does exist, and not just among professional and Olympic athletes. These drugs are also used by many women that do not compete in sports, but who want to increase lean muscle and lose body fat for aesthetic purposes only. Many women turn to performance enhancing drugs when they feel that they cannot progress further naturally. Men on the other hand, will often start using these drugs at a younger age for aesthetic or athletic purposes, and will typically start before hitting their natural peak.

Steroid use among women can be traced back to the 1960s with the German Democratic Republic doping program. This government funded program supplied performance enhancing drugs to thousands of male and female athletes over the span of several decades. During this time period there seemed to be little regard to the side effects of these drugs that were given to female athletes to increase performance. This resulted in irreversible side effects that have been well documented. Anabolic steroids such as Oral Turinabol, Mestanolone, and Testosterone were given to women just as they were given to men during the GDR doping program. These steroids all have an androgenic rating much too high to be considered safe for women to use. Although many records were broken and medals were won during this time period, there were heavy prices paid by many of the female athletes in the long run such as facial hair growth, deepening of the voice, hardening of facial features, and liver damage.

There are very few steroidal substances that I would even consider to be acceptable for a woman to take if she wants to continue to look like a woman, and one of these substances is Oxandrolone. It is five times as anabolic as testosterone, but only a fifth as androgenic. These properties make this compound a great choice for women because it can be taken at a low dose without the side effects that accompany other highly androgenic steroids that cause masculinizing effects in women. For this reason, although I'm not suggesting that anyone break the law, or use steroids, I can point to Oxandrolone as potentially being one of the safest, while still producing the desired result.


Oxandrolone was first synthesized by organic chemist Raphael Pappo in 1964 while working for Searle Laboratories, now Pfizer Inc.This drug was first marketed under the trade name Anavar. Oxandrolone was primarily designed for use in women and children for treating disorders that cause involuntary muscle loss while promoting muscle growth.

Oxandrolone is a synthetic anabolic steroid that is a dihydrotestosterone derivative with an oxygen atom replacing the 2 carbon and methylation in the 17 position. Unlike most 17-alpha alkylated steroids, this drug’s toxicity level is, relatively speaking, mild. This tends to be a major factor contributing to Oxandrolone’s popularity. Since this oral steroid is a DHT derivative it will not convert to estrogen. There is little to no water retention with the use of Oxandrolone, and this has made this a drug of choice with athletes that compete in weight classes.

Oxandrolone was surprisingly discontinued in 1989 due to bad publicity after a report of being abused by bodybuilders. This drug seemed to be the safest being used for burn victims and HIV/AIDS patients to slow muscle wasting. It would have seemed more logical to stop the production of more dangerous steroids that were being abused instead of Oxandrolone, but that was not the case. Oxandrolone was later picked up by Savient Pharmaceuticals in 1995 under the trade name Oxandrin.

Oxandrolone has remained popular but has been a highly counterfeited drug due to the high price of raw materials. Stanozolol (Winstrol) has often been the drug used to replace Oxandrolone when it is counterfeited due to much cheaper prices, and similarities in gains. People will generally experience more side effects with Winstrol, especially with women. Raw material prices have dropped dramatically with China and India becoming such a large part of the steroid market and this has resulted in less counterfeits than ever before with this drug.

Oxandrolone is not known for packing on as much muscle mass as some other more androgenic steroids, but it will increase muscle density, hardness, and strength that is very noticeable in women, especially if they have never used anabolic steroids in the past. As with all anabolic steroids, dosage is key with maximizing gains and minimizing side effects. Oxandrolone can be dosed pretty low for women to see noticeable changes. When I say low, I mean around 10mg per day. This dose may seem extremely low to some men who have dosed this drug as high as 120mg per day.

When starting Oxandrolone for the first time, a woman would generally start out with about 5mg per day split up into to 2, 2.5mg doses with about 8 hours in between each dose. If there are no side effects such as moodiness or acne with this dose, then the dose can probably be increased to 10mg per day. When taking 10mg per day, it will be split into 2 even doses with 8 hours in between as well.

Although I recommend the natural route when trying to reach one's goals, I know that this isn't the case with everybody. Women seem to be much more sensitive to anabolic steroids than men, and they will often experience the most side effects, especially with highly androgenic compounds. With that being said, I feel that Oxandrolone would be the best choice if a woman decides to step over the line and turn to anabolic steroids. There are many other drugs out there that women do take to increase performance, and in doing so they often sacrifice femininity.