What are the Anabolic Steroids?Anabolic steroids are the common name for synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones (androgens). They encourage the growth of body muscles (anabolic effects) and the development of secondary male characteristics (androgenic effects).
Anabolic steroids are manufactured 1930s in order to treat hypogonadism, a condition in which the testicles are not able to produce enough testosterone for growth, development and sexual functioning. The main medical use of anabolic steroids includes treatment of delayed puberty, some types of impotence, body wear due to HIV infection and other diseases.
During the 30's, scientists discovered that anabolic steroids facilitate the growth of body muscles in laboratory animals, which later led to the abuse of these compounds by bodybuilders and other athletes. Main reasons why people abuse steroids are to improve the achieving results in sports competitions, increase their muscle and/or to reduce body fat.
Side EffectsAbuse of anabolic steroids cause many harmful side effects such as those that look unattractive - acne and breast growth in men and those that may be life-threateningly such as heart attack and liver cancer.
Hormonal SystemAbuse of steroids impairs normal production of hormones in the body, causing curable and incurable changes. Changes that can be cured include reduced sperm production and testicular atrophy. Irreversible changes include baldness and breast growth in men (gynecomastia). In women, anabolic steroids cause mannishness. Breasts and body fat are reduced, the skin becomes coarse, the clitoris is increased and the voice becomes rougher. In women, also appear increased body hair and the hair loss.
Muscular SystemElevated testosterone level stimulates growth during puberty and adolescence. Later, when these hormones reach a certain level, they stop their growth by signaling the bones to stop growing. When a child or adolescent takes anabolic steroids, elevated levels of sex hormones can signal the bones to stop growing earlier than it would be in normal conditions.
Cardiovascular SystemSteroid abuse has been associated with cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, even in athletes younger than 30. Steroids contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, partly because they change level of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in the blood. That increases the risk of arteriosclerosis. Steroids, also, increase the risk of blood clots which obstructs blood flow, causing damage to heart muscles, so the heart cannot pump blood efficiently.
LiverAbuse of anabolic steroids causes liver cancer and rare condition called peliosis hepatis, when the blood-filled cysts form on the liver. These tumors and cysts may pop, causing internal bleeding.
SkinAanbolics affect the occurrence of acne, cysts and oily hair and skin.
InfectionsMany users who inject steroids use non-sterile equipment or share contaminated needles with other users. Besides that, some steroids are manufactured illegally in non-sterile conditions. These factors increase risk of different viral infection diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C. Users can also get infective endocarditis, bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the heart valves, which can be fatal. Bacterial infections can cause pain and abscess at the spot where the steroid is injected.
BehaviorUsers Testimonials and small studies indicate that anabolic steroids, especially in high doses, increase irritability and aggression. They also cause some behavioral effects such as euphoria, increased energy, sexual excitement, frequent mood changes, abstraction, forgetfulness and confusion.
AddictionA number of people who use steroids become addicted. They continue to take steroids in spite of physical problems, disturbed social relationships, anxiety and irritability. They, also have withdrawal symptoms, such as mood swings, fatigue, anxiety, loss of appetite, loss of sexual drive, insomnia and desire for taking more steroids.