Anabolic steroids are synthetic compounds that mimic the effects of natural testosterone. Initially, they were produced for medical purposes like treating delayed puberty, hypogonadism, and osteoporosis but with time, they have found numerous applications. For one, they are widely used in bodybuilding, fitness as well as in athletics to boost performance. While anabolic steroids do promote secondary male characteristics, they also improve muscle and bone development. Another result of AS is increased red blood cell count. However much the results may be appealing, there are serious side effects of anabolic steroids.
Common side effects of steroids
There is a serious array of negative effects of steroids that may prove to be life threatening. While mild ones are short term, dangerous effects are long term. All this comes with nothing but abuse of anabolic steroids. Abusing anabolic steroids results in a hormonal imbalance in the body which may lead to irreversible changes but most of them can be corrected if steroid abuse is stopped early. The following are common anabolic steroids side effects.
Damage to the Liver and its function
The liver plays a pivotal role in human physiology as it serves several key functions amongst them; homeostasis, detoxification, enzyme synthesis just to mention a few. Steroids, however, poses a serious risk on its function more so, anabolic steroids with 17 alkyl-group. This is even more evident with orally administered steroids because they are designed to survive through the digestive system leaving the liver vulnerable to dangerous chemical compounds. Anabolic steroid abuse, therefore, may lead to severe anemia, benign and malign tumors, hepatic carcinoma and alteration of enzyme activity. These and much more puts the liver on the verge of damage, and prolonged usage of steroids may cause liver failure.
Anabolic steroids and the reproductive system
Both males and females who use anabolic steroids for prolonged periods do experience some side effects. In males, abuse of AS lead to shrinking of the testicles, decrease in sperm count as well as the introduction of abnormal types of sperm cells. Although the gonadal function may be restored with stopping steroid abuse, it is quite daunting when it comes to abusers in bodybuilding or intense performance. In contrast, females experience altered ovulation and menstrual cycles. AS also leads to hypertrophy of the clitoris, increased sexual drive, the growth of hair, deepening of voice, baldness, and decreased breast size change in skin texture. In general, females develop masculinity while males may develop some feminine features in the long run.
The heart is at the center of the cardiovascular system and AS makes it a prime target with prolonged usage. While steroids do work well in muscle growth, they put a lot of pressure on the heart. This may lead to increase in size of the organ. In other cases, anabolic steroids do increase the level of bad cholesterol as well as affect blood pressure. All these negative side effects of steroids put the heart at risk, therefore, increasing heart attack risk factors and heart disorders.
Other side effects of anabolic steroids
Other effects include behavior changes such as mood swings, aggressiveness, depression, anger, sleep disorders, sexual desire, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. While these effects do happen outside the medical usage, they may prove to be fatal.