Anabolic steroids are man-made (synthetic) drugs which act in a similar manner as the hormone testosterone. They may be legally prescribed to treat puberty delays and other testosterone deficient conditions. Anabolic steroid side effects can range from mild to severe.
For example, when doctors discovered I was going to give birth to my son prematurely, I was given steroids to ensure the maximum amount of growth before delivery.
There are three ways to administer an anabolic steroid – orally as a pill, intravenously into a muscle, or externally, as a topical gel/cream applied to skin. Common prescription name brands include Holtestin and Durabolin.
However, the main problem is the illegal use of steroids. They are common used in sports to decrease body fat and build muscle, increase strength, and enhance performance.
Also, these drugs are typically taken in much greater amounts that a typical prescription would allow. Also, using more than one type of drug is common, and referred to as “stacking”. Conversely, they may begin with a low dose and gradually increase over the course of several weeks or months (pyramiding).
Using steroids can result in a myriad of effects, ranging from mild to severe. Some may be irreversible.
Anabolic Steroid Side Effects – Men
- Sperm count reduction
- Testicle shrinkage
- Decrease fertility
- Enlarged breasts
Anabolic Steroid Side Effects – Women
- Increased body hair
- Roughening of skin
- Breast reduction
- Enlarged clitoris
- Voice changes (deepened)
Anabolic Steroid Side Effects (Men and Women)
- Increased risk of high blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart attack or stroke
- Increased levels of bad cholesterol, while reducing good cholesterol
- Liver disease/cancer
- Oily skin and acne
- Hair loss
- Skin infections (with intravenous use)
- Mood/mental disturbances such as anger, aggression, violence, extreme energy, and delusions.
Anabolic steroids have a very high potential for abuse and addiction. Upon withdrawal, symptoms include fatigue, depression, and loss of appetite.