Steroids have been on the forefront of bodybuilding debates. Some say that maximum gains are impossible without them, while others say that the side effects are not worth the gains one gets from steroids.
Steroids are popular because they allow athletes and bodybuilders to train longer and more intensely. It also allows for faster recovery from fatigue. Steroids can be taken orally, can be injected, and can even be applied using dermal patches, gels, and nasal sprays. Many of those that take steroids do so to gain an advantage over other athletes in their sport. This has led many of the sports sanctioning bodies to declare these substances illegal for use in sports. Many athletes have been stripped of their awards and have been given stiff penalties for infractions of this rule. Unfortunately, the use of steroids is not without its ill effects. The improper use — usually the overuse — of steroids has led to many instances of liver failure — even liver tumors. This plus a host of other side effects has put a question mark on the use and abuse of this substance.
ANABOLIC STEROIDS: the evil side
When steroids are abused — and sometimes even when they are not — they can cause a host of adverse effects. Hormonal imbalance: Steroids affect your body in a way that short circuits your hormonal system. If your hormones go bonkers you could become infertile. And that’s still just touching the tip of the iceberg. Your hormones govern a lot of your body’s function. During puberty the reaction of your hormones both trigger and end the growth spurt. It also triggers the formation of opposite sexes’ distinguishing characteristics such as pubic hair, deepening of the voice, enlarging of breasts and testicles, and even skin conditions. Steroids increase the amount of sex hormones in your body. This spurs muscle growth. Unfortunately it also spurs a host of other bodily changes. It is not uncommon to find men growing breasts or losing hair because of the use of anabolic steroids. Some men have experienced the shrinking of their testicles, and the onset of skin cysts and pimples. Women, on the other hand, have not been spared the damage steroids can do. They have experienced deepening of voices, the development of masculine features, stronger facial and structural features, and others. Some have even reported the growth of facial hair — and that can be pretty embarrassing to most women.
The premature use of steroids can also cause the stunting of one’s growth. Since steroids increase the amount of sex hormones in the body, and since it is these hormones that govern the start and end of the growth spurt the use of steroids can cause the premature stop of one’s growth. This is why steroids are not recommended to those that have not yet stopped growing. Steroids can also adversely affect the cardiovascular system. They have been known to cause the enlargement of the heart and contribute to cardiovascular disease. They also cause blood clots that can lead to cerebral hemorrhage. This is why if you have a history of heart disease, or if you are genetically predisposed to heart disease, you are best advised to forego steroid use. As mentioned earlier, the liver also suffers greatly from the processing of steroids in the body. The liver can grow tumors or can be damaged to the point that they bleed. Excessive use of steroids can cause jaundice and permanent liver damage. To top it all, steroids can also affect your mood and temperament. There are those that have reported increased irritability and tension due to the use of anabolic steroids. Even naturally calm people have been known to exhibit aggressive behavior as a result of such usage.
Proper Use: the Key?
Given all the disheartening downside steroid use brings, there will always be those that will testify to its potency in improving one’s performance. Deciding whether steroids are your way of bodybuilding is your decision. However, at least you are now more aware of the effects of such substances on the body. When you make your decision on its use, keep them in mind. And in any case, if you decide to use steroids, make sure that you use it properly. Do not misuse or abuse it, as that could lead to the ill effects outlined above. Take great care when training with such substances and you will at least decrease the chances that you harm yourself.