What are anabolic steroids?
Anabolic–androgenic steroids, commonly known as anabolic steroids, are steroidal androgens that include natural androgens like testosterone as well as synthetic androgens that are structurally related and have similar effects to testosterone.
Anabolic steroids are synthetic (man-made) versions of testosterone. Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men. It is needed to develop and maintain male sex characteristics, such as facial hair, deep voice, and muscle growth. Women do have some testosterone in their bodies, but in much smaller amounts.
What are anabolic steroids used for?
Health care providers use anabolic steroids to treat some hormone problems in men such as delayed puberty, and muscle loss from some diseases. But some people misuse anabolic steroids.
Why do people misuse anabolic steroids?
Some bodybuilders and athletes use anabolic steroids to build muscles and improve athletic performance. They may take the steroids orally, inject them into muscles, or apply them to the skin as a gel or cream. These doses may be 10 to 100 times higher than doses used to treat medical conditions. Using them this way, without a prescription from a health care provider, is not legal or safe.
What are the health effects of misusing anabolic steroids?
Misuse of anabolic steroids, especially over a long period of time, has been linked to many health problems, including
- Stunted growth in teens
- High blood pressure
- Changes in cholesterol
- Heart problems, including heart attack
- Liver disease, including cancer
- Kidney damage
- Aggressive behavior
In men, it can also cause
- Breast growth
- Low sperm count/infertility
- Shrinking of the testicles
In women, it can also cause
- Changes in your menstrual cycle (period)
- Growth of body and facial hair
- Male-pattern baldness
- Voice deepening
Are anabolic steroids addictive?
Even though they don’t cause a high, anabolic steroids can be addictive. You can have withdrawal symptoms if you stop using them, such as;
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep problems
- Decreased sex drive
- Steroid cravings
- Depression, which can sometimes be serious and even lead to suicide attempts
Behavioral therapy and medicines can be helpful in treating anabolic steroid addiction.
Anabolic steroids Safety Information
For teens, hormone balance is important. Hormones are involved in the development of a girl’s feminine traits and a boy’s masculine traits. When someone abuses steroids, gender mix-ups happen. Using steroids, guys can experience shrunken testicles and reduced sperm count. They can also end up with breasts, a condition called gynecomastia.
Using steroids, girls can become more masculine. Their voices deepen. They grow excessive body hair. Their breast size decreases. In addition, teens who abuse steroids before the typical adolescent growth spurt risk of staying short and never reaching their full adult height.
Furthermore when steroids get into the body, they go to different organs and muscles. Steroids affect individual cells and make them create proteins. These proteins spell trouble. The liver for example, can grow tumors and develop cancer. Steroid abusers may also develop a rare condition called peliosis hepatis in which blood-filled cysts crop up on the liver. Both the tumors and cysts can rupture and cause internal bleeding.
Furthermore when steroids get into the body, they go to different organs and muscles. Steroids affect individual cells and make them create proteins. These proteins spell trouble. The liver, for example, can grow tumors and develop cancer. Steroid abusers may also develop a rare condition called peliosis hepatis in which blood-filled cysts crop up on the liver. Both the tumors and cysts can rupture and cause internal bleeding.