The Positive and Negative Effects of Steroids
What Are Steroids?
Steroids are natural or synthetic compounds that help to regulate certain body functions. There are two types of steroids used for body enhancement, anabolic that helps in building muscles and androgenic which makes the users more masculine by emphasizing masculine traits such as a deeper voice and growth of body hair. There are over one hundred different types of anabolic steroids.
The most common type of steroids that we hear about frequently is anabolic steroids used by athletes to improve their performance in sports. These types of steroids are called by many different names, among them juice and roids (shortened form of steroid).
How Do Steroids Work?
The human body produces steroids to assist with growth and development during puberty, as well as with stress control. Anabolic steroids increase the work of natural steroids, that is, it causes muscles to grow bigger. They also improve endurance and strength; it is for these reasons why athletes use steroids, especially in sports where strength and endurance are important to performing well.
Steroids can be taken as a pill, an injection or a powder that can be mixed into drinks.
The Pros and Cons of Using Steroids
There are both positive and negative effects from using steroids. The following list of pros and cons of steroid use is in no way complete. Although some of the adverse reactions affect both males and females, some reactions are gender specific as you will see.
The Possible Negative Effects of Steroids
- Blood clots
- Causes heart disease
- Damages the liver and causes jaundice
- If taken while a teenager you will not grow to your full adult height
- Increased risk of developing certain types of cancer
- Joint pain
- Mood changes and depression.
- Outbreak of or worsening of acne
- Premature balding /Hair loss
In addition to the above, females on steroids sometimes develop obvious masculine features such as deeper voices, male pattern baldness and larger than normal muscle mass. Some females also have irregular menstrual cycles and smaller or reduced breast size. Some also grow excess body and facial hair.
Men on the other hand also develop problems such as enlarged breasts and shrunken testicles. Some also report having pain when urinating, becoming impotent (difficulty or failure to have an erection) and sterile (unable to father children).
Fortunately, many of the side effects of using steroids can be reversed once the drugs are no longer being taken. As with most drugs, users of steroids can become dependent on them and go through severe withdrawal when they stop using them.
The Positive Effects of Steroids
Steroids are used in low dosages to treat some types of illnesses such as asthma, arthritis and brain injuries and some types of breast cancer.
The type of steroids used to treat these conditions are corticosteroids, these types do not result in bigger muscles. Anabolic steroids which are used for muscle building and performance boosting can also be used for treating some medical conditions such as delayed puberty and anemia.
Steroids, because of their possible side effects, should not be taken lightly. While they may be potentially beneficial, they should not be used illegally.