Merely mentioning the word steroid evokes many negative opinions and thoughts in most people’s minds. For a common man, a steroid is normally seen as an illegal performance enhancing drug (mainly by the athletes or athletes) or a medication for certain conditions.
In truth, steroids are nothing but complex organic chemical compounds, and depending upon its structure and composition can be categorized into various types.
One particularly well known category is as anabolic steroid or anabolic androgenic steroids often abbreviated as AAS.
It is widely known to anyone who uses steroids, that there are numerous performance and aesthetic benefits. But, as with most of other of its kind, anabolic steroids come with their fair share of side effects.
In this article, we will focus upon various side effects of anabolic steroids and explain in more detail what we are really dealing with. But, before we begin, let’s start by taking a look at what exactly steroids are.
What Are Anabolic Steroids?
Anabolic steroids are effectively a lab synthesized compound that acts in a similar way to testosterone, promoting tissue growth.
While there are numerous legitimate medical uses of anabolic steroids, they are more commonly used by athletes and bodybuilders to enhance performance and achieve rapid muscle growth.
Properties and types:
Anabolic steroids are known to possess androgenic properties, properties quite similar to that of the naturally occurring testosterone in our bodies.
These properties are highly instrumental in the development of masculine features such as a deeper voice, broader shoulders, and sexual organs.
It also exhibits virilizing effects in the body and is used as a therapeutic remedy for inducing puberty and for treating various other terminal medical conditions such as: Cancer, AIDS, etc.
Categories of Anabolic Steroids
1) Exogenous (e.g.; Bolasterone, danazol, gestrinone, etc.)
2) Endogenous (e.g.; Testosterone, androstenediol, etc.)
3) Metabolites and isomers (e.g.; Epitestosesterone, androstenedione, etc.)
Side-effects of Anabolic steroids:
Anabolic steroids are considered quite addictive and if consumed or used in excess can cause severe damage to one’s physical and mental health. Steroid use could lead to a severe (although rare) drug like addiction with symptoms of withdraw and depression.
Steroids also have a number of other significant (and not so significant) side effects.
Side effects vary wildly. Some individuals may not suffer from any significant negative side effects, while others may have either physically or mentally damaging
The side effects of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) can be broadly categorized into:
General Side Effects:
This includes the overall side effects affecting an individual’s physical and mental health condition due to overuse of the anabolic steroids. These conditions are irrespective of the user’s gender. It includes:
1) Cardiovascular Effects:
Prolonged and over consumption of anabolic steroids can lead to various cardiovascular anomalies and irregularities leading to – elevated cholesterol levels, heart enlargement, hypertension (increased blood pressure), polycythemia (an exceptionally high red blood cell count, far more above than the normal count) which may lead to severe heart attacks and other critical medical conditions that can damage one’s heart permanently.
2) Potential Brain Damage:
Though low to moderate usage of anabolic steroids does not impact our brains’ activity and effectiveness. Excessive or prolonged intake can damage the chemical activities and nerve pathways of brain potentially causing: depression, aggression, mood swings and other significant change in one’s character and behavior.
3) Liver function and Cholesterol Changes:
Though the anabolic steroids are themselves non-toxic to the liver, prolonged oral intake can cause some modifications in the chemical structure and mechanisms in the liver leading to a condition known as hepatotoxicity.
Cholesterol can also be impaired by usage of anabolic steroids, making a clean diet and regular exercise a must if you decide to use them.
Androgenic Side Effects of the Anabolic Steroids:
Androgenic side effects refers to the hormonal side effects that are caused by the prolonged and excess use of these steroids on male, female and adolescents.
1) Male specific side effects:
These include: Testicles shrinkage, reduced sperm count often leading to infertility, elevated risk or likeliness of prostate cancer, voice deepening, development of breasts often termed as gynecomastia.
2) Female specific side effects:
These include: Development of masculine features such as hoarseness and deepening of voice, growth of facial hairs, etc. irregular pattern of menstrual cycle, clitoris enlargement, variation in cholesterol levels, etc.
3) Adolescent specific side effects:
These are the side effects irrespective of men and women that occurs in adolescents if they consume anabolic steroids. The effects include: Restricted height and overall body growth and skeletal damage and deformation, etc.
Mild Anabolic Steroids:
Mild anabolic steroids are tolerated well by the body. These androgens do not cause a wide range of side effects, or cause any high degree of permanent damage.
Mild steroids can be used by women in lower dosages, or used by males for extended periods. That said, however, we do suggest getting blood testing done prior to intake, since everyone responds differently to anabolics.
Examples of well-tolerated anabolic steroids are:
– Winstrol (Stanozolol)
– Testosterone (Exogenous)
– Masteron Propionate and Masteron Enanthate
– Primobolan (Methenolone)
While it is recommended that you refrain from any unnecessary steroid usage, there are options you can choose that will mitigate/eliminate the side effects of anabolics completely.
So if you do decide to opt for the anabolic route, do your research first, get some blood work done, and experiment with various compounds to ensure that you aren’t suffering from preventable side effects.
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