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Where strength athletes share techniques for building muscle, burning fat and the proper use of anabolc steroids to help you meet your fitness goals.
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Most of these problems are usually related to using high dosage or individual genetics. For convenience we've divided the potential side effects into those experienced by men, women, and teenagers.
Men - Although anabolic steroids are derived from the male sex hormone, testosterone, men who take them may actually experience a "feminization" side effect along with a decrease in normal male sexual function. This is because one of the metabolic breakdown products of testosterone is the female hormone, estrogen. Some possible anabolic steroid side effects in men include:
Reduced sperm count
Development of breasts
Shrinking of the testicles
Difficulty or pain while urinating
Women - It's not surprising that women who take the drugs may develop masculinizing effects. These include the following:
Facial hair growth
Menstrual cycle changes
Both sexes - With continued use of anabolic steroids, both sexes can experience the following anabolic steroid side effects, which range from the merely unsightly to the life-endangering. They include:
Rapid weight gain
Liver enzyme irregularities
Elevated cholesterol levels
Tendon damage from proportionally stronger muscles
Teenagers - anabolic steroid side effects can pose several serious health side effects in teens. Anabolic steroids have been known to fuse the growth centers (epiphyseal plates) in teens' bones. Once these growth plates are closed, they cannot reopen so adolescents that abuse anabolic steroids may end up shorter than their natural genetic height. Anabolic steroids have also been known to cause severe mood swings. This could have severe consequences in many teens as this age group is characterized by naturally occurring behavioral changes. Although not conclusive, there have been a few cases where anabolic steroids may have contributed to suicide in a few teens. It's because of these serious anabolic steroids side effects that teenagers should under no circumstances use these drugs.
Are anabolic steroids addictive?
Although the evidence is limited it is possible that addiction may be one of the most serious of anabolic steroids side effects. Recent evidence suggests that long-time users of anabolic steroids and steroid abusers may experience some of the classic characteristics of addiction including cravings, difficulty in stopping steroid use and withdrawal symptoms. As the research is limited, it's not known if the symptoms of addiction are psychological or physiological in nature. For those who use anabolic steroids, coming off the "juice" can be very traumatic as they begin to lose muscular size and strength. This loss of a key component of their identity can leave them suffering many of the same symptoms and side effects as those using common street drugs.
How to minimize the risk of anabolic steroid side effects
Given that anabolic steroids are illegal in many countries, it's probably a good idea to avoid them altogether. If you do decide to use them, the following tips will help you reduce the risk of side effects:
Use oral steroids as sparingly as possible. They have been chemically modified to survive the digestive system and hence much harder on the liver.
Never stay on a steroid cycle for more than 6 to 8 weeks.
Never use any steroids that have a questionable manufacturing background. Beware of the blackmarket.
At the first sign of any serious side effect (chest pain, blood in urine, etc), stop all steroids and see a physician.