Monday, February 28, 2011

Anabolic Steroids

A family of steroids related to the male sex hormone TESTOSTERONE. These are classified as prescription drugs used to make up for hormone imbalance and deficiencies. However, synthetic analogs of testosterone have been obtained illegally by athletes and by teenage males to build muscles, and the U.S. FDA has described steroid abuse as a drug epidemic. While testosterone stimulates growth during adolescence, the synthetic derivatives can cause many side effects. Athletes compound this unsafe practice by “stacking” anabolic steroids—taking a combination of brands at 10 to 100 times the recommended doses for weeks at a time.
In men, the side effects of anabolic steroid use include lowered sperm count, enlarged prostate gland, shrinking testicles, balding, and enlarged breasts. If taken before puberty, anabolic steroids can stunt growth. These effects seem to be reversible if anabolic steroids have been used for a short time. Some women body builders also use steroids to build muscle. Side effects in women do not seem to be reversible: masculinization, including increased muscles, increased size of clitoris, growth of facial hair, a deepening voice, shrinkage of breast size, uterine atrophy, and menstrual irregularities. Severe cases of acne and bouts of rage are signs of anabolic steroid use, especially in males. Anabolic steroid use can have more subtle, longterm detrimental effects; damage may show up years later as a HEART ATTACK, high blood pressure, CANCER, and LIVER damage in both men and women.

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