Steroids are compounds that accelerate the growth of tissues. The best known are anabolic steroids, commonly used by athletes to increase muscle mass and energy storage.
What are steroids?
Anabolic-androgenic steroids (EAAs) are a group of synthetic derivatives of testosterone that produce anabolic (muscle-building) and androgenic (masculinizing) effects. Although it’s most popular use is to improve physical appearance and Athletes performance, they are also used for medical purposes. Its consumption was initially restricted to professional and elite athletes, but it has spread to a significant segment of the general population, especially in the United States.
Different studies indicate that between 10 and 30 percent of men who exercise regularly in gyms have used this type of products. At present, these substances are totally prohibited in professional sports, and for this, anti-doping controls are carried out. In the rest of the population, although they are legal, they should only be taken under prescription and medical supervision, as their consequences can be harmful to health
What are steroids used for?
Anabolic-androgenic steroids are substances used for medical purposes in the first place for their androgenic actions since testosterone emphasizes the differentiation, development, and maintenance of male secondary sexual characteristics, in addition to regulating the spermatogenesis and sexual behavior. Doctors prescribe this hormone in cases where the patient does not have enough testosterone naturally.
Also, they are used in cases of severe malnutrition or the treatment of certain types of cancers and anemia due to their anabolic effects, since they help people with this type of problem to increase their muscle mass. People who take steroids seek to improve their muscle mass, although it may have other uses.
Although the influence of anabolic steroids on muscle mass was established in 1935 through animal experimentation, its extra-clinical use began in the mid-1950s. Weightlifters were the first to decide to take advantage of its effects to improve muscular performance. Ten years later, in the 1964 Olympics, its use had spread to the point of becoming considered a severe problem. It was in 1968 when the International Olympic Committee agreed to a definition of doping, and in the Olympic Games of 1976 when its absolute prohibition was in the Olympic Games of 1976 when its use in the athletes participating in the tests is definitively prohibited.
How is it consumed?
Steroids are administered orally or injected. One of the most common forms of consumption among people with anabolic addiction is through patterns called cyclic use, which consists of taking several doses of steroids in a certain period, stopping the application for a while and starting over. Also, users often resort to the practice of stacking, the combination of different classes of steroids to maximize their effectiveness and at the same time, minimize their unfavorable effects.
The terrible consequences of the use of steroids in sport
Top athletes, bodybuilders, and other athletes are victims of the use of steroids to gain the desired muscle mass more quickly. However, the aftermath could be severe. In the world of Athletes performance, especially those that need a developed muscle mass, the use of steroids is common. According to a report, up to 20% of the athletes linked to bodybuilding consumed them at some point in their careers.
The consequences are divided into different types: Irreversible, reversible, short-term and long-term, among others. They also manifest in different ways for men and women. In the male hormonal system, infertility, baldness, breast development and shrinkage of the testicles are some of the effects, while in the female order, the excessive growth of body hair is the one that stands out the most.
Changes in personality are also manifested by the constant use of steroids, as they have the ability to make the consumer irritable and aggressive, to the point of forcing him/her to do things he/she would not normally do. Anxiety, stress, and anger are other characteristics.
Hazards to health
The consumption of these substances in large doses can cause kidney failure, cardiovascular problems, and impotence in men because the human body cannot process large amounts of these hormones. Also, recent studies have shown that the use of anabolic steroids can cause addiction since it is still a drug. The hormones found in steroids could cause high blood pressure, since the body retains sodium and fluids, creating more trouble on the blood vessels. The blood pressure of steroid users was between 8 and 10 millimeters of mercury more than the ones who don’t ingest.
Other adverse effects of the use of anabolic steroids are the possibility of suffering liver tumors, jaundice (the yellow pigmentation of the skin, tissues, and body fluids), fluid retention, high blood pressure, acne, and tremors. Besides, there are other specific effects of each sex such as the reduction of the size of the testicles, a lower sperm count, infertility, baldness and development of the breasts, in the case of men.
And, in women is through the growth of facial hair, changes in the menstrual cycle, an increase in the size of the clitoris and adjustment of the voice, in the case of women. It can also produce an early cessation of growth due to premature skeletal maturity and accelerated changes in puberty when adolescents consume anabolics.
Another possible side effect of anabolic agents is psychiatric disorders, as they can cause strange alterations in behavior and mood, with symptoms similar to those of maniacs, which can lead to violent and even murderous episodes. On the other hand, stop consuming them can lead to depression, which contributes to the dependence on these substances.
Finally, according to recent research, these substances can lead to those who consume them to suffer jealousy, paranoia, extreme irritability, delirium and alterations of the judgment.