Anabolic steroid use and abuse has been linked to several undesirable side effects. Side effects ranging from acne and the development of breasts in men to side effects that are life threatening such as heart attacks and cancer of the liver. Most of the side effects caused by the use of steroids can be reversed if the user simply stops taking the steroid but some side effects are permanent, such as the masculine voice experienced by female users.
Most of the information on the long-term use and effects of anabolic steroids in humans originate from actual case reports from users of anabolic steroids. With limited information it appears that the life threatening and adverse effects may be not be recognized or not documented. This can be attributed to the fact that they usually occur several years later. This is supported from data compiled from animal studies. One such study indicated that exposing male mice for one-fifth of their lifespan to steroid doses comparable to those taken by human athletes caused higher incidence of early deaths.
It is obvious that steroid use and abuse disrupts the normal production of hormones in the body. This disruption leads to reduced sperm production and shrinking of the testicles (testicular atrophy). These changes are reversible but irreversible changes include male-pattern baldness and breast development (gynecomastia) in males. In one study of male bodybuilders, more than half had testicular atrophy and/or gynecomastia.
In females, anabolic steroids cause women to take on more characteristics of males than females. In females, their breast size and body fat will decrease, the skin loses its smoothes and becomes coarse comparable to males and the clitoris enlarges and the voice deepens and becomes masculine. Additional side effects caused by the use of steroids seen by women include excessive body hair growth and the thinning and lose of head hair. As the use of steroids is continued many of these potential reversible side effects will become permanent and irreversible.
Rising levels of testosterone and other sex hormones usually trigger the growth spurt seen during puberty but these same hormones also signal when to stop growth. With that said, when a growing adolescent uses anabolic steroids, this could result in prematurely signalling the bones to stop growing.
Steroid use has been linked to cardiovascular diseases to include heart attacks and strokes. This is true regardless of age athletes younger than 30 have experienced these life threatening side effects. Steroids contribute to the development of Cardiovascular disease, partly by changing the levels of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in the blood. Steroids, particularly oral steroids, increase the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and decrease the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). High LDL and low HDL levels increase the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition in which fat is deposited inside the arteries which lead to blood flow being partially or totally blocked. When blood is blocked from reaching the heart, the result can be a heart attack. If blood is blocked from reaching the brain, the result can be a stroke.
Also steroids increase the danger of blood clots in the blood vessels which will inevitably disrupt blood flow and damage the heart so that it does not pump blood efficiently.
Steroid use and abuse has been linked with liver tumors and a rare condition called peliosis hepatis, in which blood-filled cysts form in the liver. Both the tumors and the cysts can rupture, causing internal bleeding.
Steroid use and abuse has also been linked to acne, cysts, and oily hair and skin.
Many users of anabolic steroids who inject the drugs may use non-sterile injection techniques or share dirty needles with other abusers. In addition, some steroids are manufactured illegally under nonsterile conditions. These factors put users of steroids at risk for picking up life threatening viral infections, such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. Users of steroids can also develop endocarditis, a bacterial infection that causes a potentially fatal inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. Bacterial infections also can cause pain and abscess formation at injection sites.
What effects do anabolic steroids have on behavior?
Case reports and studies signify that anabolic steroids increase irritability and violent behavior. Steroid abusers report they have committed aggressive acts, such as fighting, armed robberies, thefts, vandalism, or burglary. Steroid users who participated in such activities generally report they commit these acts more often during steroid use. Studies suggest that the mood and behavioral effects seen during anabolic steroid use result from secondary hormonal changes.
In summary, the extent to which steroid abuse contributes to violence and behavioral disorders is unknown. As with the health complications of steroid abuse, the prevalence of extreme cases of violence and behavioral disorders seems to be low, but it may be undocumented or not recognized.
Research suggests that some steroid users are more prevalent to turn to other drugs to ease some of the negative effects of anabolic steroids use. A study of 227 men in 1999 to a private treatment center for addiction to heroin or other opioids found that nearly 10% had abused anabolic steroids before trying any other illicit illegal drug. My suggestion is of course don’t use steroids. Any strength and or muscle gains you see during the use of steroids are short term and will be lost as soon as stop using steroids. You will be back where you started but now have life threatening or at the very least life altering consequences to now deal with. Besides you exercise to not only look good but to feel good and extend your life, not to shorten it and make it less desirable. See below for recap of the side effects of steroid use. Be sure to check out our recommended supplements page there we have all the supplements we use and no for a fact that they work. Also on our recommended supplements page there is a link to the supplements we do not recommend.
- breast development
- shrinking of the testicles
- male-pattern baldness
- enlargement of the clitoris
- excessive growth of body hair
- male-pattern baldness
- short stature (if taken by adolescents)
- tendon rupture
- increases in LDL;
- decreases in HDL
- high blood pressure
- heart attacks
- enlargement of the heart's left ventricle
- peliosis hepatis
- severe acne and cysts
- oily scalp
- fluid retention
- rage, aggression