Is Testosterone a Steroid Hormone?

is testosterone a steroid hormone?

Is testosterone a steroid hormone? Yes, but not in the way you think.

Let me clarify what you’re probably asking.

When you say, “Is testosterone a steroid hormone?” What you’re most likely asking is, “Is testosterone an illegal steroid? Is it the same as the illegal steroids I hear about, the kind I think of when I see someone who has gigantic, unnatural muscles?”

The answer to that question is no—the testosterone we use in testosterone replacement therapy is safe, effective, and legal.

However, chemically, the two are the same drug—testosterone cypionate.

Testosterone is a steroid hormone that naturally occurs in your body, and it’s involved in a wide variety of processes in your body, like muscle growth and sperm production.

So, is testosterone a steroid hormone? What’s the difference?

The dose.

People Who Abuse Testosterone Use Insanely High Doses—Testosterone Replacement Therapy Uses Much Smaller Doses

When you hear the term, “Steroid,” an image probably comes into your mind—someone who has huge, bulging muscles, someone who’s overly aggressive, angry, or even violent. The person in the gym who bends the bar when they load it with more weight than you thought possible.

This is why so many people ask the question, “Is testosterone a steroid hormone?” You rarely hear about testosterone outside of steroid abuse.

You might even have an image of the dark side of steroid abuse—people who are abusing these drugs and abusing their bodies, people who end up in hospitals, people profiled on A&E.

Testosterone replacement therapy couldn’t be further from this.

The amount of testosterone used in testosterone replacement therapy is orders of magnitude below the amount a steroid abuser might use.

While you will technically be receiving the same chemical, the amount you receive makes a huge difference.

But that’s not the only difference.

How Is Testosterone, a Steroid Hormone, Something that can be Prescribed?

Because low testosterone is a recognized medical condition, your medical care provider can prescribe testosterone to you.

You generally need to exhibit symptoms and have a total level of testosterone below 300 ng/dl or a free testosterone level below 9.0 ng/dl (for men).

This is one of the main differences between steroid abuse and testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)—you don’t begin TRT until you’ve been evaluated for symptoms and had your levels tested.

Steroid abusers also dose themselves, and they don’t have any sort of oversight—with TRT, we monitor your levels closely, reducing your dose when your levels get too high and increasing your dose if your body isn’t responding.

Yet another difference is the reason why the drug is being used. If you’re on testosterone replacement therapy, you’re being prescribed testosterone because your body isn’t producing testosterone as it should be—you’re not using it for cosmetic reasons or as a shortcut to muscle growth.

Steroid abusers, on the other hand, aren’t lacking in endogenous (naturally produced) testosterone, and they’re using these chemicals to cheat natural processes.

Finally, steroid abusers usually don’t use testosterone alone—in addition to the huge doses of testosterone they take, they’re adding other substances on top, some of which may be illegal.

Testosterone replacement therapy includes nothing of the sort—though other chemicals, like hCG, may be added, these drugs are not illegal.

If Testosterone Is A Steroid Hormone, Does Testosterone Replacement Therapy Have the Same Side Effects as Abuse?

This is what concerns most people, why they ask, “Is testosterone a steroid hormone?” They wonder, “If I start testosterone replacement therapy, will I get acne? Or ‘roid rage’?”

While some of the same side effects can occur with testosterone replacement therapy, the severity is not nearly the same.

Other, more severe side effects, like spleen and liver disease, are exclusive to abuse.

But there’s another, much more important difference:

We’re monitoring your health, and we’re making very sure that you aren’t given a dose that’s too high or too low.

At the end of the day, testosterone replacement therapy is safe, effective, and provided under the guidance of a trained professional—and this makes all the difference.

So, is testosterone a steroid hormone? Yes, it is. But, when administered properly, it is a safe and effective treatment for low testosterone (hypogonadism).

If you have questions about testosterone replacement therapy, contact me today—I’m happy to talk to you personally about your symptoms.

I look forward to hearing from you.


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(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C

(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C started his career in healthcare as a fireman/paramedic in West Texas where he served on the Midland Fire Department from 1998-2004.   He became interested in testosterone treatment after seeing how hormone replacement doctors helped those suffering from low testosterone.   After graduating from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Physician Assistant Program, he moved to DFW where he currently lives with his wife and three children.


  1. Leon Justin on 09/29/2016 at 5:28 pm

    Great article Augie Galindo! My friend had testosterone replacement therapy 2 years ago, it helped him a lot at that time, because he testosterone level was lower then normal. Don’t know how he’s doing now, had to move to another state because of collage… Anyway, really accurate and great article Augie! Thanks!

  2. Barbara Hatcher on 06/30/2017 at 11:28 pm

    My husband is on TRT, and I give him a shot every 10 days. Last September he had an injection then two beers and maybe one shot of vodka. After about three hours he got agitated and pulled a gun in my daughter and myself, tossed me around a little blacked out, and then was arrested. He doesn’t remember the incident at all. Since then he hasn’t had a drop of alcohol, and is still taking the injections, and so far we’ve had no more incidents. I believe this was related to the mixture of the two. We had never been warned about mixing the two. We go to court July 12, 2017 and I would like to hear your thoughts on the situation. Thank you for any information you can give.

    • Augie Galindo on 07/03/2017 at 4:32 pm


      I have never seen anything like this happen in any of my TRT patients. And, keep in mind, I have been focused exclusively on TRT since 2012 and have treated thousands of patients during that time. Testosterone injections are very unlikely to cause any significant change with hours of the injection, and if it did, it would likely last for some time as the medication releases slowly and has an 8 day half life. Honestly, I’ve never warned my patients about mixing the two either. I would encourage him to look in to the management of his estrogen levels. Fluctuations there are much more likely to induce behavioral change.

      Best regards,
      Augie Galindo MPAS, PA-C
      Testosterone Centers of Texas | Founding Partner

      • Barbara Hatcher on 07/03/2017 at 7:12 pm

        I’m sorry I meant to tell you the injection was a day or two before the alcohol. I haven’t been able to find out anything about this either and as I said there has been no incidents, no alcohol and no problems since.

        Thank you for your help!

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