Anabolic Steroids are variants of the male sex hormone testosterone. Before attempting to use these substances, there is an important question that should be answered, what do anabolic steroids do? The answer lies in studying the effects of these steroids, whether positive or negative.
What Do Anabolic Steroids Do?
Steroids have been employed by body builders, sports persons, and ordinary people to help build larger muscles. To achieve this, steroids work by retaining large amounts of nitrogen in the body. Nitrogen is a substance present in the body in normal conditions, and helps synthesize proteins. An increase in nitrogen concentrations brought about by steroids translates to more protein uptake from the digestive tract and synthesis. More protein synthesis increases the muscle bulk, which is one of the major desirable outcomes for users.
Increased Body Performance
Steroids users have been shown to perform better in several fields. In sports and athletics, persons who use steroids register better performances in terms of strength, speed, and endurance. This is attributed to the fact that these steroids increase muscle strength by increasing oxygen delivery to the muscles for energy metabolism. Additionally, with the enhanced mechanism for efficiently replenishing energy levels, it translates to better endurance in demanding physical activities.
Enhanced Male Characteristics
Another effect of anabolic steroids to the body is amplification of male characteristics. Male users develop more facial and body hair, their voices becomes deeper, and develop more pronounced skeletal muscles.
Increased Sex Drive
Anabolic steroids have been found to increase libido in users, thus useful for many people across the globe who experience a reduced sex drive. The steroids also reportedly increase sexual arousal in users and sexual performance in males.
There are several unwanted side effects for prolonged use of steroids:
In males, there is evidence linking them with the occurrence of male infertility. They cause the testicles to shrink significantly thus leading to low sperm count and hence infertility. Additionally, prostate cancer has been linked to increased and prolonged consumption of anabolic steroids. Steroid use in men has led to a condition known gynecomastia where breasts become larger than normal and susceptible to cancers. Early onset male baldness has also been attributed to steroid use.
In females, an array of unwanted consequences are encountered by those who engage in improper and and unregulated use of anabolic steroids. For instance, women experience increased air growth in unwanted regions such as the face and trunk. Others include a break in their voices, interference with the monthly menstrual flows, and enlargement of the female genitalia such as the clitoris.
In teens, it has been documented to cause stunted growth and an eventual short stature. This is caused by the fact that use of steroids leads to closure of growth plates thus hindering growth to the expected height.
Use of steroids has been linked to mental issues. Some of these are short term, including unexplained aggressive tendencies, questionable decision making, easy irritability, and awkward behavior. Long term effects include depression.
Cardiomegaly, a condition where the heart chambers are enlarged, has been shown to be as a result of long standing steroid use. There are other serious conditions linked with steroids, for example; high blood pressure, increase in the levels of bad cholesterol, and incidences liver and kidney failure.