An athlete runs very high risks by consuming doping substances or by using prohibited methods. This may result in very severe health but also financial, legal and social consequences.


Physical health: depending on the substance, the dosage and the consumption frequency, doping products may have particularly negative side effects on health. Some damages to the body are irreversible and may lead the athlete’s life to be in great danger.

Men may develop:

  • Prominent breasts
  • Shrunken testicles
  • Infertility
  • Prostate gland enlargement

Women may develop:

  • A deeper voice, which may be irreversible
  • An enlarged clitoris, which may be irreversible
  • Increased body hair
  • Baldness, which may be irreversible
  • Infrequent or absent periods
  • Masculinization, such as deepening of the voice and male-pattern baldness

Both men and women might experience:

  • Severe acne
  • Increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture
  • Liver abnormalities and tumors
  • Increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
  • Decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Heart and blood circulation problems
  • Aggressive behaviors, rage or violence
  • Psychiatric disorders, such as depression
  • Drug dependence
  • Infections or diseases such as HIV or hepatitis if you’re injecting the drugs
  • Inhibited growth and development, and risk of future health problems in teenagers
  • Death
  • Hospitalization
  • Disability or incapacity
  • Endangering the lives of others
  • Damage of the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fluid retention
  • Diabetes
  • Vision problems
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Impaired glucose regulation
  • Enlarged heart (cardiomegaly)
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Potassium deficiency
  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Tremors

Risks of supplement use:

Extreme caution is recommended regarding supplement use. Neither WADA nor IFBB is involved in any supplement certification process and therefore do not certify or endorse manufacturers or their products. WADA and IFBB do not control the quality or the claims of the supplements industry.

The use of dietary supplements by athletes is a serious concern because in many countries the manufacturing and labeling of supplements do not follow strict rules, which may lead to a supplement containing an undeclared substance that is prohibited under anti-doping regulations. A significant number of positive tests have been attributed to the misuse of supplements and attributing an Adverse Analytical Finding to a poorly labeled dietary supplement is not an adequate defense in a doping hearing.

Companies producing nutritional supplements are not ruled by very strict regulations. In other words, one never exactly knows the supplement’s composition.

The risks of taking supplements should be weighed against the potential benefit that may be obtained, and athletes must appreciate the negative consequences of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation as a result of taking a contaminated supplement.

Use of supplement products that have been subjected to one of the available quality assurance schemes can help to reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of an inadvertent doping infringement.

Psychological health: some doping substances may not be detrimental to the body but exercise an impact on mental health. It was scientifically evidenced that anxiety, obsessive disorders or psychosis are direct consequences from doping.

For more information about the dangers of doping in sport, please consult the WADA’s Dangers of Doping Leaflet .


The existence of an athlete who was held guilty for doping may be completely disrupted. Indeed, doping may represent a danger for the health but it may also be prejudicial to the fame, respect and creditworthiness. Even future negative findings are regularly questioned by the media and the entourage. The poor image will remain in the collective unconscious and the athlete will remain isolated.


As regards high-performance sport, an infringement of anti-doping rules often leads to a loss of income, the reimbursement of prize money and of the sponsorship money. An athlete suspended for several years, or even life-banned, cannot earn his/her living as usual and can even be forced into debts to live on a day-to-day basis.

Financial consequences may be imposed both on the Athlete and the National Federation for doping.


The consequences of an anti-doping rule violation may include the disqualification of results, the imposition of a period of ineligibility, mandatory publication of your violation and, perhaps, financial sanctions.


Ineligibility means that the athlete cannot take part in any competition or the activities of an International Federation, its member national federations or their member clubs.

Similarly, the athlete cannot take part in any competitions authorized or organized by any of the other signatories of the Code or their affiliated entities.

The period of ineligibility may range from a reprimand to a life-time ban. For Anti-Doping Rule Violations of presence or use of a prohibited substance, this period is generally as follows:

  • If you intended to cheat, the period is 4 years;
  • Otherwise, it is 2 years – unless you can show that you had no significant fault no negligence, in which case ineligibility may be reduced to a minimum of one year;
  • If the violation involves a specified substance or a contaminated product, and you can establish “No Significant Fault”, ineligibility may range from 2 years to a reprimand, depending on your level of fault.

In case there are multiple Anti-Doping Violations or aggravated circumstances, the period of ineligibility may be more than 4 years up to a maximum of a life-time ban.


The factors include the type of violation, the prohibited substance or method used, the nature of the athlete’s conduct and the athlete’s degree of fault.


If you are found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation, that fact will be made public. An Anti-Doping Organization will publish the name of the athlete, the nature of the rule’s violation and the consequences within 20 days after a final ruling. If the final decision was that there was no violation, the decision may only be disclosed publicly with the consent of the athlete.

According to WADA Anti-Doping Code and related Standards and Guidelines IFBB publishes all necessary information about ADRV committed:

  1. Full decision
  2. Sport
  3. The Anti-Doping Rule violated
  4. The name of the Athlete or other Person who committed ADRV
  5. The Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method involved
  6. The Consequences (sanctions) imposed

It may be an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) to work with Athlete Support Personnel who has been sanctioned by the IFBB, as well as any coaches, trainers, physicians or other Athlete Support Personnel who are ineligible on account of an ADRV or who have been criminally convicted or professionally disciplined in relation to doping (see WADA’s Prohibited Association List).

For more information about the sanctions, please consult:

World Anti-Doping Code

– IFBB Anti-Doping Rules