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Anabolic-Androgen Steroids Facts

Anabolic –androgen steroids (AAS) are supplements which act as testosterone in the body increasing protein synthesis as well as elevating the level of tissue, particularly in the muscles. Anabolic means that the substance is increasing the growth of cells, while androgenic refers to muscle development and maintenance. Other characteristics of steroid use include excess hair, increased libido, enlargement of testicles and vocal cords, and malfunctioning sperm production. Aside from being utilized to increase muscle strength in individuals without any underlying medical conditions, AASs are also employed in medicine to aid in bone growth, male puberty, appetite, and provide comfort to cancer and AIDS patients. If the dosage of anabolic part is higher than that of the androgen part the steroids are employed in dealing with hypogonadism in men, but if the ratio is vice versa then the steroids are good in treating anemia and osteoporosis. The effects of different doses of steroids are tested on animals. Many people engage in steroid use to further increase the results achieved through rigorous exercise and healthy nutrition. On the other hand, there are many adverse effects that go along with steroid use, which include acne, hypertension, liver, heart and testicular damage as well as changes in cholesterol. The use of steroids is prohibited in many sports in part because of the side effects and in part because they provide an unfair advantage. Steroids can relatively easily be obtained on the black market in many places.


Throughout recent history many scientists have contemplated isolating steroids. During the late 19th and the early 20th centuries professionals were extracting male hormones from urine as well as testicles and using those for purposes similar to those for which modern day steroid are used. The testing of early steroids was done during the 1930s, while the first documented use in sports dates back to 1938. It is speculated that during the WWII German soldiers were using steroids to increase their physical strength, while steroid testing was openly done on inmates in concentration camps. Further development continued after the war in the Soviet Union and other neighboring countries. During the Cold War the Soviet Union and the US were racing to produce higher quality steroids which were used in bodybuilding and weightlifting. In 1958 the use of steroids was first officially approved in the US. Many athletes of the time abused the approved steroid called Dianabol and subsequently suffered from enlarged or damaged male reproductive organs. In 1976 the Olympic Committee prohibited the use of steroids and 10 years later introduced anti doping controls.

Administering Steroids

There are a few most common ways to administer steroids such as through skin patches, oral tablets and injections. The oral use is the most widespread although only about 1/6 of the substance is absorbed. By taking steroids this way there is potential for liver damage. Medical injections are inserted directly into the muscles every few days or weeks. Taking the steroids via skin patches, creams or gels is less efficient and more costly. Individuals who opt for this type of intake should be careful when coming into close physical contact with women or children as testosterone can have highly adverse consequences for them. In addition, individuals who are using steroids for a period shorter than 10 weeks can expect a weight gain of 2 to 5 kilograms, depending on the dosage. Upper body parts are more likely to be affected as they contain more androgen receptors while the most improvement is usually seen in the arms. After stopping steroid intake the effects are slowly going away. The exercise that produces the most results is the bench press.

Side Effects and Other Uses

There are numerous side effects characteristic of steroid use and they usually depend on the amount of steroids as well as the length of time during which an individual consumes them. High blood pressure is commonly seen in long term users, and so is increased cholesterol. In addition, there are various cardiovascular problems which can be experienced. Facial skin problems, such as acne are also very common, and so is premature boldness. As previously mentioned, oral intake of steroids produces liver damage. In addition, men are likely to develop breast tissue, erectile dysfunction, and infertility. When it comes to women who are taking steroids, they are likely to experience excess body hair, clitoral growth, decreases in menstrual periods, and deepening of the voice. Taking steroids during pregnancy can produce the development of female characteristics in male fetuses and male characteristics in female fetuses. Further, teenagers who are taking steroids can experience growth problems, severely strong erections, and early sexual maturation. Numerous heart problems are also possible. Aside from the physical side effects, there are many adverse psychological consequences. Aggression, mania, and dependence are commonly seen. Medical use of steroids does not appear to be producing dependence.

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