Professional athletes perform at an elevated level, and the demands placed on their bodies are very high as well. During athletic careers, steroids might be considered in order to enhance their performance or recover from an injury faster.
Although it has been proven that steroids are effective in both of those situations, the risks should be known by anyone who is even remotely thinking of using them.
Types of Steroids
In order to increase size and strength, anabolic-androgenic steroids are taken because they are a form of testosterone. The body naturally produces testosterone and it has two purposes. First, the anabolic effects are to encourage muscle building. Second, the androgenic effects are to develop various male traits, such as a deeper voice, facial hair, etc.
Straight testosterone is sometimes taken by people to deliver extra doses of the above effects. However, there are also synthetic versions of anabolic-androgenic testosterone, which could be more convenient because they are available in both an oral and injected form. The synthetic versions include methyltestosterone, oxandrolone, and oxymetholone, or their alternate names: android, oxandrin, and anadrol.
What makes the anabolic-androgenic steroids so enticing is the fast recovery times that athletes experience with them. Through more intense training and less muscle damage, it is easy to see why they have become a popular choice. In addition, increased aggression has been reported and for some people, that is seen as a benefit during workouts.
The use of designer steroids has alarmingly grown since 2002. They are more difficult to detect in drug testing and have absolutely no medical purpose whatsoever.
These unapproved synthetic designer steroids are also a form of anabolic-androgenic steroids and come in many forms, including tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), desoxymethyltestosterone (Madol), and norbolethone (Genabol).
The Uses of Steroids
Steroids have many uses and can be prescribed by a physician in the form of a pill, injection, or as a topical treatment.
It is important to note that the improvement of athletic performance is not among any of the reasons that a doctor might prescribe steroids to a patient. In general, athletes will take much larger amounts of steroids than a physician would ever recommend. For this reason, the effects of large doses of anabolic-androgenic steroids have not been properly studied.
The Risks of Steroids
Since steroids are not recommended or prescribed for a boost in an athlete’s performance, this kind of use is illegal, and they can only be obtained through illegal methods. The places that produce the steroids are not endorsed by any medical facility and the drugs are not screened by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, purchasing any type of steroid without a doctor’s prescription will substantially raise the risk of contamination or unhealthy manufacturing.
Besides the danger of using an illegal, unapproved substance, anabolic-androgenic steroids have several side effects. For males, noticeably larger breasts, shrunken testicles, infertility, and baldness can occur. Women who use these steroids might develop a deeper voice, baldness, and more body hair.
Besides all of the damaging side effects, steroids come with a risk of dependence. They can easily cause a person to have a chemical need for them, or to raise the dosage levels, resulting in further damage to the body.
Perhaps the most troubling part of steroid use is that it has become a problem for teenagers and adolescents. This is especially concerning because steroids can halt natural growth and development processes.
The bottom line is that steroids should only be used under a doctor’s supervision for an injury or other medical condition, not to give an athlete an edge over the competition.