Are Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids Bad For You?
What are anabolic-androgenic steroids? (AAS)
AAS are a synthetic form of testosterone, the male sex hormone. These steroids affect various parts of the body such as muscles, bones, liver and kidneys, much in the same as testosterone which is produced naturally by the body.
Anabolic refers to growth promotion, while androgenic refers to the development of male characteristics. Steroids have strength and muscle building capabilities for both men and women which are known to boost athletic performances.
While AAS have well-documented muscle-building benefits, they also come with well-documented potential side effects.
Potential benefits of anabolic steroids
Steroids are not only used for muscle gain. Here are other known benefits:
- Increased muscle strength and power which decreases body fat percentage.
- Speeds up and improves recovery from strenuous workouts and injury.
- Promotes better muscle endurance for athletic performances.
- Improves bone density in both men and women.
- Increases the production of red blood cells which benefits the cardiovascular system.
- Is useful for helping to preserve muscle mass in folk who have muscle wasting diseases.
In the world of sports, athletes are always looking for ways to improve their performances. Training and strength training are the usual ways they go about it. However, some athletes go a step further in their pursuit of glory, and resort to taking steroids to give them an edge over the others.
Unfortunately, this is highly illegal in the sports sphere. To avoid detection, some athletes take a lower dose of the steroids, as they know that a positive test will result in a lengthy banning from participating in their chosen sport careers.
Potential side effects
Notwithstanding the potential benefits, research has shown that AAS has several possible side effects, many of which may impact negatively on your health. The more you use the steroids, the greater the impact will be. Bear in mind that it is not only athletes who use steroids. There are many guys who want to improve their outward appearances by bulking up their muscles, sometimes to extreme.
Here are some of the main side effects
- Steroid use may increase blood pressure, as well as affect the left ventricle of the heart, potentially leaving you with an enlarged heart which increases the risk of a heart attack.
- Studies have shown that continued steroid use can result in aggressive and impulsive behaviour in male teenagers and adults.
- Oral doses of AAS increase the risk of liver damage.
- AAS is associated with hypogonadism which is characterised by the shrinking of the testes, which may lead to decreased testosterone and reduced sperm production, causing fertility issues.
- Depending on the specific steroid used, it may cause male and female pattern baldness.
- Women using steroids can result in a deeper tone of voice, facial changes and facial hair growth.
- Decreased breast size, irregular menstrual cycles, and possible infertility, may also occur.
Steroids cannot just be bought over the counter, and doctors will not always prescribe, so there are several illegal labs making steroids whose hygienic standards are not always up to scratch. For anyone using the injectable type of steroid, the risk of a dangerous infection is very high.
Steroids and sex
Certain steroids may make someone feel more sexually confident and boost sex drive, but this is usually very short-lived. Research has indicated that continued use of steroids actually weaken a man’s sex drive and causes erection problems.
Steroids actually reduce sexual desire in both sexes and may affect arousal and orgasm.
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