Anabolic-androgen steroids, commonly known as anabolic steroids are a group of natural and synthetic steroid hormonal substance or drug that promote muscle growth and strength. They are usually synthetic variations of the male sex hormone testosterone.
The steroid can be traced back to the 1930’s when scientists created the synthesized testosterone to treat men who were unable to produce sufficient testosterone for sexual functioning and normal growth. It was in World War II that malnourished soldiers used the steroid to gain weight and improve their performance in the field. Soon after, Olympic athletes begun to use steroids to improve their performance levels. The popularity of the anabolic steroids increased in the 1970’s where high school athletes and professional sports players got fond of the steroid. However, the usage of steroids in Olympics was banned in 1975 by the International Olympic Committee. It was then that federal regulation of steroids was introduced in the following years.
Accompanying the usage of anabolic steroids are some myths which are commonly believed.
Steroid boosts fertility
This has been a common myth since anabolic steroids are believed to improve sexual functioning. In the contrary, steroids interfere with the body’s natural ability to produce and maintain a normal sperm count which may affect a man’s fertility in the long term.
Large doses of the steroid can help medical conditions better
While a doctor prescribes just the right amount of anabolic steroids to address one’s hormonal imbalance or other medical conditions, a casual user may take 10-100 times greater dosage for muscle boost. These large doses could result to serious side effects such as rapid mood swings, high blood pressure and heart problem.
All steroids are pills
Steroids come in form of injectable and oral, each having its specific function. The injectable steroid is more androgenic, providing male characteristics and is less damaging to organs like the liver. The oral steroid is more anabolic, providing strength and has more side effects as it has to be processed by the liver.
Medically, anabolic steroid is used to treat several conditions such as delayed puberty in growing boys, low testosterone levels, bone disorder, blood disorder such as anemia, acute and chronic wounds, protein-calorie malnutrition with associated weight loss, HIV wasting syndrome and severe burns.
Besides its medical uses, people tend to use anabolic steroids without a doctor’s prescription, which often results to abuse with serious side effects.
The use of the anabolic steroid suppresses naturally occurring testosterone in the body which may cause decrease in testicle size, sperm production, infertility and baldness in men. While in women, increase in hair production, a deeper voice and changes in the menstrual cycle maybe noticed.
The abuse may also affect numerous organs including the skin which may lead to development of skin acne, the liver causing cancer and the heart causing heart attack, stroke, high amount of cholesterol levels in the body and an aggressively violent behaviour.
Even though anabolic steroids may be medically useful, any form of misuse should be revoked legally.