Difference Between Steroids and Hormones (With Table)

Hormones are an integral part of the human body and they regulate a lot of processes that our organs need. Although they are naturally produced inside the human body, there are many ways to artificially produce these hormones. Steroids are a common form of these hormones which are used for various purposes that natural hormones cannot fulfill.

Steroids vs Hormones

The difference between steroids and hormones is that steroids are artificially produced to act like hormones whereas hormones are naturally produced chemical messengers which flow in the blood throughout the body. The purpose of steroids is mostly medical, and so it is used in treating various human conditions.

Steroids are anti-inflammatory medicines used to treat various health-related conditions such as asthma, painful joints, and hives, etc. Steroids are artificially produced and are mostly available only on medical prescriptions. Steroids come in many different forms including tablets, inhalers, injections, creams, etc.

Hormones are substances in the body that chemically act as messengers. They flow in the blood throughout the body and support fundamental processes like growth, metabolism, and fertility, etc. There are mainly three types of hormones including lipid-derived hormones, amino acid-derived hormones, and peptide hormones.

Comparison Table Between Steroids and Hormones

Parameters of ComparisonSteroidsHormones
DefinitionAnti-inflammatory medicines.Chemical messengers in the body.
ProductionArtificially produced.Naturally produced.
StructureCarbon atoms are arranged in four rings.It varies with every type of hormone.
UsesMedicinal use in a wide range of conditions.Digestion, metabolism, respiration, etc.
Side-EffectsDiabetes, sleeplessness, increased appetite, etc.Hair thinning, fatigue, sensitivity change, etc.

What are Steroids?

Steroids are a man-made version of hormones and are designed to act like them to treat various health conditions. Steroids are structured carbon atoms arranged in a four-ring pattern. Steroids can be consumed in many forms including tablets, injections, and creams, etc.

The most significant purpose of steroids is to reduce inflammation in the body. When the human body experiences bacterial infection, the immune system fights the infection, which causes redness and swelling in the affected area. As a result, inflammation occurs. Even though steroids are not a direct cure for these infections, they significantly reduce inflammation. These anti-inflammatory steroids are medically termed Corticosteroids.

Furthermore, another common type of steroid is Anabolic Steroids. These are mostly used by athletes and bodybuilders to improve athletic performance and significantly increase muscle mass respectively. Anabolic Steroids are also one of the most misused steroids.

Misuse of steroids carries an abundance of side effects including changes in skin color, hair thinning, heartburn, stomach pain, etc. Thus, steroids are legally available under professional guidance or for medical purposes only. If taken in improper amounts or unfavorable health conditions, the side effects of steroids can be serious and life-threatening.

What are Hormones?

Hormones are substances in the body that chemically act as messengers. They flow in the blood throughout the body and support fundamental processes like growth, metabolism, and fertility, etc. There are mainly three chemical classes of hormones including lipid-derived hormones, amino acid-derived hormones, and peptide hormones.

As the name suggests, lipid-derived hormones are derived from lipids or fats. These hormones include testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol. They are regulators of reproductive functions, stimulating glucose synthesis, anti-stress, and anti-inflammatory processes.

On the other hand, amino acid-derived hormones are produced from tyrosine and tryptophan. The major function of these hormones is to support the brain in making and secreting Melatonin. Melatonin helps in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. This hormone is also available as a supplement, which helps in treating Insomnia.

Peptide hormones, however, are produced in the endoplasmic reticulum. These hormones are broadly responsible for physiological processes. Peptide hormones are secreted in an endocrine manner and they help in regulating many complex functions such as growth, appetite balancing, metabolism, cardiac function, stress, and reproductive function, etc.

There are various symptoms of hormonal imbalances including fatigue, hair thinning, sensitivity change, etc. However, symptoms are mostly not serious and possess no threats to life.

Main Differences Between Steroids and Hormones

  1. Steroids have a consistent four-ring structure whereas the structure of hormones differs with each type.
  2. Steroids are only artificially produced whereas most hormones are naturally produced but some hormones can also be produced artificially.
  3. The purpose of steroids is to treat medical conditions whereas hormones carry out necessary complex processes inside the body.
  4. The side effects of steroids’ over-use can be serious and life-threatening whereas the side effects of hormonal imbalance are not as serious.
  5. Anabolic steroids are misused in various fields but hormones cannot be misused.


Our body needs a hormonal balance to do complex processes. Any hormonal deficiency or excessive presence of a hormone causes many symptoms which can lead to serious conditions in the long term. The causes of this hormonal imbalance include genetics, age, weather, other diseases, etc. As a result, steroids were artificially designed to treat the conditions that were caused by such hormonal imbalances.

While there are several steroids for varying conditions, steroids for the reduction of inflammation are the most common. With scientific advancements over time, many steroids were produced for different purposes and some of them have since been misused as well. Anabolic steroids, common among athletes and bodybuilders, are the most abused medicine. It instantly enhances abilities, strength, muscle mass, etc.

Hormones, on the other hand, are an integral part of the body itself. Almost all the major processes in the body are led by hormones. Some hormones can also be artificially produced and operate as natural hormones once injected inside the human body.

Steroids must only be used under medical prescriptions or professional guidance in sports. While hormonal imbalance also causes various symptoms, they are not as life-threatening as the ones caused by the unprofessional use of steroids.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/096007609190312S
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0739724002001467
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