Anabolic Steroids Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects
Anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of the male sex hormone testosterone, they are used for increasing muscle and gaining strength. In this article, I will discuss the benefits of anabolic steroids including use, benefits, and side effects.
Androgenic anabolic steroids have the potential to promote cell growth, improve appetite, and also help in puberty issues. In the medical field, they are used in the treatment of serious cancer and AIDS patients.
Although Anabolic steroids work by increasing protein synthesis, muscle mass, and strength, they may cause certain side effects. They can affect your health by increasing LDL cholesterol and decreasing HDL cholesterol. The can also increase blood pressure and may cause liver damage.
Anabolic steroids have numerous medical uses and at the same time, they are very beneficial for athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness models. For this reason, anabolic steroids play an important impact on sports as well.
Anabolic and Androgenic Effects of Steroids
Anabolic steroids have anabolic and androgenic benefits.
The anabolic effects are the development of metabolism and tissues while androgenic effects imply the development of masculine effects.
Anabolic steroids bind to the androgen receptor; however, they do it at different levels.
This level of binding of androgen receptors ensures the effect on the protein synthesis, glycogenolysis (conversion of glycogen polymers to glucose monomers).
Steroids prevent catabolism by reducing recovery time and blocking cortisol (hydrocortisone, steroid hormone).
Some of the benefits of anabolic steroids include muscle gains, strength, development of appetite and bones.
It can also enhance the production of red blood cells.
On the other hand, the androgenic effects work in a very different way.
Administration of Steroids
Anabolic steroids can be taken orally, in the form of injections, or in transdermal (administering medication in a form for absorption through the skin into the bloodstream). Taking oral steroids, orally is the easiest method however it may have more of a negative effect on the liver.
Oral anabolic steroids may cause hepatotoxicity if taken in high doses or for an extended period. The injectables are normally injected into the muscle tissue while the transdermal forms imply creams, gels, or patches that are absorbed through the skin.
Medical Uses of Anabolic Steroids
The most known medical function of these steroids is their ability to oppose the effects of chronic wasting by enhancing appetite and developing muscles.
- Bone marrow stimulation
- Testosterone replacement therapy for men who struggle with low testosterone
- Help stimulate hormone production in young boys suffering a delay in puberty.
- Treatment of muscle wasting disease for patients suffering from AIDS or cancer
Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids
No matter if you use steroids for medical or other reasons; they do have certain side effects.
Common side effects include:
- High blood pressure
- Enhanced cholesterol levels
- Hair loss
- Prostate cancer
- Liver problems
- Problems related to gums
Anabolic steroids affect men and women differently.
Side effects in men:
- Reduction in testicle size
- Low sperm count
- Prostate cancer risk
- Painful urination
- Breast development (gynecomastia)
Side effects women:
- Facial hair
- Change in voice (deeper)
- Enlarged clitoris
- Irregular menstrual cycles
Minimizing the Effects of Anabolic Steroids
The negative side effects of steroids can be controlled in a number of ways.
In order to reduce the effects of natural testosterone production in the body, men may take a post-cycle treatment to decrease the effects of a temporary decline of testosterone. Frequent blood work is recommended in order to keep a check on possible liver damage, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Misconceptions about Anabolic Steroids:
One common misunderstanding about taking anabolic steroids is that they are deadly substances.
The fact is that if steroids are abused, they may prove fatal in this context, however, this is true for many drugs.
Although steroids can cause depression and when the user quits them, it may lower his testosterone levels, but it is an exaggeration to associate death with the use of steroids.
Positive Effects of Anabolic Steroids on the human body
Steroids are part of a large group of fat-soluble compounds which have specific physiological action. They are externally administered into the body in the form of pills, and injections.
Many people, across the globe, take anabolic steroids because of the benefits they have on increasing muscle.
Steroids increase protein synthesis from amino acids which result in the build-up of cellular tissues, especially in the muscles.
This enhances the size of the skeletal muscles leading to increased strength.
This is the main reason why it is common among bodybuilders.
In modern days, steroids are also being used therapeutically for treating various “chronic wasting conditions” such as cancer and AIDS. They are also widely administered in the body for stimulating bone growth along with the already mentioned muscular growth.
Anabolic steroids are also believed to be successful in stimulating appetite.
Anabolic steroids are also responsible for increasing the lean mass in the body and side by side decreasing the fat content of the body.
Names of anabolic steroids
Short term side effects
Aggression is another symptom of steroid abuse, it is referred to as roid rage, there is little scientific proof but it is believed that the increase in testosterone may attribute to mood swings and irritability.
Water retention (Edema)
Steroids are known to cause water retention. The irresponsible use of steroids can lead to swelling in the ankles, knees, feet, and wrists.
Testicular atrophy is a condition that causes the testicles to shrink this happens because of the excess testosterone being injected into your body. this causes the testicles to shrink and stop producing testosterone on their own.
This is a condition referred to as man boobs (moobs) This results in enlarged breasts which may require surgery to reduce the size of the breasts as it obviously causes great embarrassment.
Acne is a skin condition that results from excess oil in the skin this can clog pores and cause pimples.
Anabolic steroids may raise lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in the bloodstream which may cause high cholesterol which may lead to long-term damage such as heart attack or strokes. These are the main short-term effects although many others have been mentioned including baldness and liver damage, there is a lot of speculation and not enough medical evidence to support these as real side effects.
Other effects mentioned include dizziness, nausea, jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, sleeping problems, and hallucinations though again lack of hard evidence does not fully support these effects
Long Term Effects of anabolic Steroids
There is little evidence to support the long-term effects of steroid use but some are evident, such as those described below.
Young men who are still developing may experience stunted growth which may result in them being permanently shorter than average.
High cholesterol associated with steroids may increase the chance of blood clots to the heart or the brain which can increase the risk of stroke and high blood pressure because it places greater strain on the heart as it struggles to increase the supply of blood to cope with this.
Enlargement of the prostate is normally a condition that affects older men, however, it has been known to develop in younger men who use steroids. Aditional testosterone in the body causes it to swell, which may increase the risk of cancer.
Using anabolic steroids can cause a condition called peliosis hepatitis blood-filled cysts which can lead to liver failure. It is thought that these cysts can turn into tumors leading to liver cancer.
Anabolic steroids can be effective for gaining muscle and increasing strength but most people can achieve their goals with a proper diet and a good training regimen, unfortunately, people often look for quick gains which steroids can offer. unfortunately, these gains come with a price that can negatively affect your health.