Steroids use has both positive and negative effects to the users. For bodybuilders and weightlifters, the need to achieve increased muscle size and muscle strength is the biggest factor that forces them to use steroids even if it means risking their health. Some well-known professional athletes in the field of baseball, track and field, and cycling have also once hugged the headlines for reportedly using steroids or for coming out positive on steroid testing during their professional career. Apparently, the use of steroids by several sports figures has led to the assumption that an improved aggressiveness, physical strength, and motivation are the only way to win a game and be a top scorer.
However, steroids use is not without any harmful effects. While you might probably just want to look good and enhance your performance, the use of anabolic steroids may also increase your risk to certain health conditions, such as depression, paranoia, and hypertension.
Unlike psychological effects, the physical symptoms of steroids use are easier to notice. For example, when a professional athlete begins to show increased aggression and starts developing bulky muscles quite rapidly, the idea of steroids use comes almost instantly. But aside from the increased muscle size and aggression, other physical side effects of steroids use in men include:
- Development of breasts
- Increased risk for prostate cancer
- Reduced sperm count
- Shrinking of the testicles
- Difficulty or pain while urinating
- Rapid weight gain
- Penile enlargement
- Epistaxis (nose bleeds)
- Changes in hair growth and distribution
- Bloated appearance
- Swelling of feet and ankles
In Willian N. Taylor’s Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete, the adverse physical effects associated with anabolic steroids use are listed in the following categories: lethal; serious and life-threatening; and less serious adverse physical effects.
Most of the lethal effects involved the cardiovascular system, such as heart attack, blood clot in the lungs, stroke, sudden death from intra-abdominal hemorrhage; and sudden death from suicides and accidental drug overdose.
Liver conditions and serious cardiovascular conditions occur to people with high-dose prolonged anabolic steroid therapy. Hence, patients who take therapeutic steroids are closely monitored to lower steroids dosage as their health conditions improve. In the case of people who take anabolic steroids without prescription and doctor’s supervision, the likelihood of experiencing liver cancer and other serious health problems is relatively high. Kidney cancer, liver cancer, weakening of the heart muscle, and peliosis hepatitis are among the notable adverse physical effects of anabolic steroids use.
Less severe physical effects of anabolic steroids use have also been reported by several existing studies. Some of these physical effects are prevalent in male users than females.
In adolescents, anabolic steroids can halt growth prematurely. Dr. Gary Wadler, a New York University School of Medicine professor and lead author of the book Drugs and the Athlete, explains “What happens is that steroids close the growth centers in a kid’s bones. Once these growth plates are closed, they cannot reopen so adolescents that take too many steroids may end up shorter than they should have been.”
One way to discourage your own children from using performance-enhancing drugs is by performing random test at home using a steroid testing kit. If your children know that you’re keeping an eye on their health, they are less likely to commit into using any form of illegal drugs at home or in school.