Anabolic STEROIDS – what is it, how it works and why it is so harmful to your health?

Steroids are still popular among gym goers. Often, these “bodybuilders” do not take into account that the use of steroids has many dangerous side effects – one of them is increasing aggression. Anabolics can seriously worsen overall health, inhibit young man’s growth by 30 percent. and lead to infertility.

Steroids have been a serious problem not only in gyms for years. Aggression, skin changes, infertility are just some of the side effects of taking anabolics. Our article is dedicated not only to young people dreaming about the strength, figure and successes of Mariusz Pudzianowski (one of the strongest man on earth), but also to parents who are too willing to agree that growing children support their development with various “vitamin sets”. In fact, they often contain large doses of hormones, mainly testosterone. Widespread praise of large muscles, strength and endurance induces more and more people to take care of their physical condition. It would be a praiseworthy trend, were it not for the anabolic steroids used by those who want to sculpt their figure without hard work in the gym. Unfortunately, users are getting younger. Average age is between 18 and 25 years old.

What are steroids?

The meaning of the term “steroids” varies depending on the context in which it is used. Steroids also include cholesterol, vitamin D, bile acids, sex hormones and adrenal cortex hormones. In the medical sense of the term “steroids” there are drugs based on various corticosteroids. In sports doping, on the other hand, steroids are understood as a group of chemical compounds that have the ability to control the body’s anabolism and which are professionally called anabolic steroids. Corticosteroids are used in many fields of medicine. Most often in dermatology, allergology, rheumatology and neurology. These drugs can only be obtained with a prescription, and therefore their use is controlled by a doctor. The situation is different with anabolic steroids, because their availability is easy and the effects of abuse can be very dangerous.

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Anabolics – disappointed hopes of medicine

At the end of the 1940s, steroid properties were tried to be used in patients with extremely devastated organisms. It was thought that the administration of a natural anabolic steroid would increase the muscle mass of patients, improve their appetite and thus quickly recover, but the side effects turned out to be much worse than the disease. The expected results were also unsuccessful in attempting to administer anabolic steroids to people with appetite disorders who wanted to gain weight faster. The thought of anabolic steroid treatment was abandoned. However, testosterone is an exception. It is used to accelerate the sexual development of boys in whom this development is definitely delayed. Occasionally, the hormone is also given in some bone-destroying cancers, such as myelomas. The same is true for children with growth problems. Because anabolic steroids, especially testosterone, increase mood, more and more often they are being used in terminally ill people to improve their quality of life.

Dangerous Anabolic Steroids (Anabolics)

Anabolic steroids accelerate the division of cells that form specific tissues of animals and humans. The most visible effect of steroids is to stimulate the growth of muscle mass, strength and endurance. Testosterone – the male sex hormone – is a natural anabolic steroid. But administering it without a reason (congenital or acquired deficiency proven by medical research) has many undesirable effects. Serious, though difficult to notice, is the strong hormonal imbalance of the body. After some time, this translates into malfunction of individual organs and changes in external appearance. Still, some anabolic traits (e.g. effects on muscle mass gain) can be considered desirable. Unfortunately, subsequent scientific studies prove that they do not serve our body.

For now, scientists have not been able to develop synthetic steroids that would act selectively, e.g. only to increase strength, weight or bone. This is because all steroids are metabolized and the products of this metabolism harm the body. Of course, e.g. bodybuilders, focused on quickly shaping the body, will not think about the late consequences of such preparations. There is really no messing around with steroids.

Steroids harm you regardless of gender

In men, they cause a short-term increase in sex drive, followed by a decrease in the amount of naturally produced testosterone. Effect? Testicular shrinkage and consequently even infertility. In women, the use of anabolics can result in a permanent lowering of the voice, irregular menstruation, enlargement of the clitoris, skin changes, body and face hair as well as alopecia on top of the head. Men also have lush facial hair, but usually on the torso and back. Since testosterone does not get hair on their heads, which many would expect. In both sexes, high doses of anabolics cause gynecomastia (hyperplasia of the mammary glands). Acne, or pimples that come in with pus and leave a permanent scar, often appears all over the body. Painful muscle spasms and edema due to water retention are also common. The consequence of using anabolics by adolescents may be stunting of body growth. This is due to premature closure of the root (end) of the long bones. If anabolics are taken by people who are not completely physically developed, they can be expected to be 20-30 percent lower than their peers.

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Steroids – a threat to the whole body

Long intake of anabolic steroids has an adverse effect on most internal organs. Oral use of steroids puts a strain on the liver, which catches toxic substances and deprives biologically active substances, including hormones. If the blood is saturated with hormones, the liver cannot remove them. It can be said that it is working at higher speed. Over time, this can lead to inflammation, cholestasis, bleeding, and benign or malignant neoplastic lesions. Anabolics also affect the circulatory system. They cause high blood pressure, which is usually accompanied by headaches or visual impairment. Impaired blood circulation threatens kidney failure, heart attack, even stroke. Anabolics also have a devastating effect on blood clotting. It becomes sticky, and then it’s easy for vein thrombosis. Lowering the blood level and changing the proportion of lipids promotes the development of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.

Effects of long-term steroid use

If steroids are taken for many years, the changes in the vessels are irreversible, sometimes even leading to disability. It is also suspected that taking steroids in adolescence (up to 30 years old), when the prostate gland, i.e. the prostate, is growing, may in the future be the cause of its hypertrophy. This is a benign ailment, but it makes it very difficult to urinate. It is thought that steroids may also increase the risk of some prostate cancers.

Steroids also wreak havoc on the immune system. The weakening of immunity is conducive to catching colds and angina. This is especially common after discontinuing steroids when the endocrine system is not working at a normal level. Also then there are pain in the joints. This is caused by both overloading the joints during hard training (while taking steroids) and lowering the level of nitrogen in the blood (after stopping anabolic use). Taking steroids also contributes to injuries. Muscles growing after anabolics do not keep up with tendons, ligaments and so-called muscle trailers. They remain in the form prescribed by nature for a given body type. If you train intensively, they are too weak to cope with hard muscle work. It is therefore easy to overload or tear them. Treatment of such injuries is troublesome and their effects are felt for the rest of your life.

Taking steroids is conducive to gum disease

Researchers in Adana conducted research showing that long intake of anabolics promotes gum disease. People who abuse steroids are more likely to have gum hypertrophy. They become swollen, which makes bacteria easier to attack. Surgical intervention is sometimes necessary to remove excess gum tissue.

The impact of steroids on the psyche

Anabolic steroids also have a negative effect on the psyche. People using them appear aggression, irritation, euphoria, but also severe depression sometimes ending in suicide attempts. When the body is saturated with steroids, there is a mood swing incomprehensible to the environment, from euphoria to pronounced depression. After attacks of anger, or even aggression against random people, comes a malaise breakdown, fatigue, lack of energy and severe headaches. To avoid unpleasant symptoms, some reach for higher doses of anabolics. They fall into the trap of addiction, from which one can free themselves only through properly selected psychiatric treatment.

Steroids and doping

It is illegal to give athletes acceleration and muscle mass gainers. This is nothing but doping. In the 1970s and 1980s, doping was not formally prohibited. Sports law did not notice the existence of such a problem. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the authorities of the International Olympic Committee banned the use of anabolic steroids in sport. All countries participating in the Olympic Games followed this decision. Despite this, the temptation to “achieve a goal” is often so strong that players reach for this forbidden fruit.

This is observed in strength sports, where success is determined by muscle endurance and often superhuman strength. Anabolics are used by weight lifting athletes, bodybuilders, but also athletes (runners, jumpers), swimmers and cyclists. Competitive sports are equipped with staffs of specialists, including doctors, who are trying to minimize the effects of doping. For this purpose, regenerative treatments are carried out, the right diet, nutrients and vitamins are selected. Limiting the use of steroids to 2-3 “treatments” during the year is to guarantee the return of the hormonal system to normal.

The use of anabolic steroids by people exercising for their own pleasure is not prohibited. There is no staff of specialists who will regulate steroid doses. Amateur bodybuilders take what they fall into their hands or what they can afford. And this is what doctors are most worried about. Anabolic agents (even with high doses of testosterone) are sold under the label of nutrients or vitamins for intensive training. These funds are reported as dietary supplements and easily undergo the entire registration procedure. Anyway, it is important that the preparation provided by the manufacturer is presented for registration, and not the one that will appear on the market in the future. And the differences in their chemical composition can be significant.

Is it bigorexia?

The use of anabolics can be associated with bigorexia, which is also called male anorexia. The characteristic features of this disease include:

  • Disturbed body image – man with bigorexia is constantly dissatisfied with his appearance. Nothing can convince him otherwise.
  • Measuring the body – constantly measures the circumference of biceps, chest and compares them with the dimensions of its masters.
  • Strange diet – usually limited to eating high-calorie, protein-overcharged meals. Lack of fat in food quickly leads to deficiencies of vitamins A, D, E, K.
  • Avoiding people – social contacts are an unnecessary waste of time for addicts. They usually collide (in their opinion) with an intricately planned training plan.

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