Steroids, more specifically, anabolic steroids are man-made versions of testosterone. Testosterone is the major male hormone that acts on various parts of the body such as the muscles, liver, kidneys, hair follicles, bones, central nervous system and the reproductive system. It can also contribute to changes in behavior. So here we tell you about all the various actions of steroids- the good and the bad.
Steroids Enhance Muscle Build-up
You have probably heard about many athletes taking steroids in order to enhance their training and their performance. This is because anabolic steroids have anti-catabolic effects, meaning that they prevent tissue breakdown. This is most probably by inhibiting the action of cortisol (which causes protein breakdown.) Because of this, muscles breakdown is reduced, even during intense training. Because of this, even recovery is enhanced. Steroids also increase strength my improving the body’s ability to recruit motor units.
Psychological Effects of Steroids
According to research, it is now known that anabolic steroids increase aggressiveness and tolerance to stress. This furthermore helps athletes train well. Not only that, it has also been known to enhance feelings of well-being and euphoria. Many athletes that found that this kind of “psychosomatic state” can be very useful to them.
What are the Side Effects of Steroids?
While all drugs carry risks of side effects, those of steroids are known in greater detail. This is because steroids are one of the most abused drugs in the world- meaning that people often end up using steroids in doses higher than prescribed. Sometimes, people are seen taking 10 to 100 times the allowed amount, but side-effects can sometimes even be seen with normal doses.
So what exactly are these effects?
At normal doses the side effects seen are:
- Hair loss of growth
- Pain on urination
- Increased RBC(Red Blood Cell) Count
- Lower Sperm Count
- Gynaecomastia(enlargement of male breasts)
- Increased levels of LDL cholesterols (the harmful cholesterol) and decreased levels of HDL cholesterols(the “good cholesterols)
- Shrunken testicles
- Involuntary or long-lasting erection
- Sleeping difficulties
- Menstrual irregularities
- Increased sex drive
- Hirsutism and deepening of voice in females
Side effects of long term steroid use are:
- Cardiovascular irregularities
- Liver damage
- Ligament Damage
- Kidney Tumors
- Tendon rupture
- Permanently stunted growth(in adolescents)