Anabolic Steroids There should not be a controversy over anabolic steroid use in athletics -- non-medical use of anabolic steroids is illegal and banned by most, if not all, major sports organizations. Still, some athletes persist in taking them, believing that these substances provide a competitive advantage. But beyond the issues of popularity or legality is the fact that anabolic steroids can cause serious physical and psychological side effects. What are anabolic steroids? Anabolic steroids -- or more precisely, anabolic-androgenic steroids -- are the synthetic derivatives of the naturally occurring male anabolic hormone testosterone. Both anabolic and androgenic have origins from the Greek: anabolic, meaning "to build," and androgenic, meaning "masculinizing." Testosterone's natural androgenic effects trigger the maturing of the male reproductive system in puberty, including the growth of body hair and the deepening of the voice. The hormone's anabolic effect helps the body retain dietary protein, which aids in the development of muscles. "Although there are many types of steroids with varying degrees of anabolic and androgenic properties, it's the anabolic property of steroids that lures athletes," says Dr. Wadler. "They take them to primarily increase muscle mass and strength." Who takes anabolic steroids and why? It is not only the football player or weightlifter or sprinter who may be using anabolic steroids. Nor is it only men. White- and blue-collar workers, females and, most alarmingly, adolescents take steroids -- all linked by the desire to hopefully look, perform and feel better, regardless of the dangers. Anabolic steroids are designed to mimic the bodybuilding traits of testosterone. Most healthy males produce less than 10 milligrams of testosterone a day. Females also produce testosterone but in minute amounts. Some athletes however, may use up to hundreds of milligrams a day, far exceeding the normally prescribed daily dose for legitimate medical purposes. Anabolic steroids do not improve agility, skill or cardiovascular capacity. What are the health hazards of anabolic steroids? "There can be a whole panoply of side effects, even with prescribed doses," says Dr. Wadler. "Some are visible to the naked eye and some are internal. Some are physical, others are psychological. With unsupervised steroid use, wanton 'megadosing' or stacking (using a combination of different steroids), the effects can be irreversible or undetected until it's too late." Also, if anabolic steroids are injected, transmitting or contracting HIV and Hepatitis B through shared needle use is a very real concern. Additionally, Dr. Wadler stresses that "unlike almost all other drugs, all steroid based hormones have one unique characteristic -- their dangers may not be manifest for months, years and even decades. Therefore, long after you gave them up you may develop side effects."
TYPE OF STEROIDS DecaDurabolin This is the most popular anabolic steroid. It is mildly androgenic and moderately anabolic. Few serious side effects if only used short term. It comes in_ pre-loaded ampules for injection. Dianabol Dianabol is a very potent oral steroid. It causes huge gains in strength and size, but it is very damaging to the liver. It causes water retention, acne, and a host of other side effects. Winstrol V This is actually a veterinary drug. It is not very androgenic. It does not aromatize into estrogen, but it does not cause the same type of gains you would see from stronger steroids. Sustanon This steroid is a composite of four different synthetic testosterones. It causes dramatic gains in muscle size and strength but also causes severe side effects. One preloaded ampule per week is the typical dosage. Primobolean Depot This steroid is not as severe as other steroids. It causes mild gains and mild side effects. Injectable and oral forms exist. IGF-1 Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 is one of the most potent drugs ever conceived for muscle growth. However, it is very expensive: 175 dollars for 25 micrograms. This is usually not sold on the black market. Human Growth Hormone In addition to spurring the growth of new muscle cells, growth hormone appears to enhance fat burning. It is most effective when combined with some kind of anabolic steroid to spur growth in the new muscle cells. Growth hormone is not without risk and it is very expensive. Years of growth hormone abuse can result in bone cancer. "Waters" Waters refer to short-acting injectable steroids. These steroids are injected directly into muscle tissue but their effects do not last for a very long time. "Oils" Oils also refer to a type of steroid, but these steroids last longer once injected into the body. Once injected into muscle tissue, oils release the steroids slowly over time. One injection can last up to 17 days.
Steroids Side Effects (Physical) The side effects described below can happen to anyone who uses steroids—not just people who abuse steroids for prolonged periods of time. Remember: these side effects can develop just as quickly as your muscles develop! PHYSICAL EFFECTS Aching joints Decreased glucose tolerance High blood pressure Increased risk of heart disease Impaired thyroid function Inability to release body heat through sweating Increased chance of injury to tendons, ligaments, and muscles Increases in body weight and muscular strength Jaundice: eyes and skin turn yellow due to body's inability to properly excrete waste Liver cancer Liver tumors, both benign and malignant Longer recovery time for injuries Persistent bad breath Reduction in HDL, the "good" cholesterol Risk of infection of HIV through sharing of needles to inject steroids Severe acne Sterility Swelling of feet and ankles Unusual distribution of hair growth Water retention in tissues
Steroids Side Effects (Emotional) The side effects described below can happen to anyone who uses steroids—not just people who abuse steroids for prolonged periods of time. Remember: these side effects can develop just as quickly as your muscles develop! In many cases, the mental side effects of steroids continue even after the drug is no longer used. EMOTIONAL EFFECTS Auditory hallucinations Bouts of depression when use of the drug is ended Combative behavior Delusions Drug dependency and psychological addiction Extreme irritability and anxiety Hyperactivity: the state of being excessively active Hypertension: abnormally high blood pressure Impaired judgment from feelings of invincibility Manic episodes Paranoid jealousy Preoccupation and craving for the drug after a period of long-term use Roid rages: violent outbursts with no provocation Suicidal thoughts Uncontrollable aggression Wide mood swing
Steroids Side Effects (By Gender) The side effects described below can happen to anyone who uses steroids—not just people who abuse steroids for prolonged periods of time. Remember: these side effects can develop just as quickly as your muscles develop! MALES Male body converts anabolic steroids into female hormones, estrogen. Partial baldness may occur. There is difficulty or pain when urinating. Prostate grows enlarged. Female- like breast begin to grow. Impotence may develop. Erections become painful and irregular. Production of live sperm is reduced or discontinued. Testicles decreased in size. FEMALES As part of the masculinization of steroids, females lose breast tissue. Changes in menstrual cycle occur. Voice becomes deeper, more masculine. Clitoris grows enlarged. Exaggerated male-like muscle growth. Fetal damage is possible in pregnant women. Women experience a growth of facial hair and body hair. Sex drive increased. Male pattern baldness. Oily skin and acne develop. Adolescents using steroids face other risks in addiction to those listed above: → Sexual development can be disturbed by steroids because the body is “tricked” into believing that all the necessary changed that accompany puberty have already taken place. → Growth may be stunted because a premature closing of the long bones that are developed in teens’ arms and legs