Just as to lose weight there are slow but safe methods, such as a healthy and balanced diet, and shortcuts that can be unhealthy (in addition to ineffective in the medium term), such as undergoing very restrictive diets, also in the field of muscle building there are traps what one can do to get more results in less time.
One of those tricks is the use of anabolic steroids , substances and medications that help to gain muscle mass . But what are they and exactly how do they work? And what is equally important: what can be its side effects?
What are steroids and what are their effects?
The anabolic steroids or anabolic steroids are a synthetic substances derived from testosterone , the hormone responsible for male sex characteristics.
As such, steroids help to build muscle mass (what is known as an anabolic effect) as well as male sexual characteristics (androgenic effect) in both men and women.
When they were developed in the 30s it was to be used in medical treatments related to male sexual problems such as hypogonadism , a disorder in which the testes do not produce enough testosterone. Even today are used in treatments for delays in puberty, some types of impotence and body wear of some diseases such as AIDS.
But at the same time it was discovered that by administering anabolic steroids to the laboratory animals, this increased their muscle mass, which led them to apply them in the sports field , first to bodybuilders and then to athletes of other sports, reaching to alter the results of competitions.
Today they are prohibited in professional sports and should not be used if it is not under medical prescription and control.
What do steroids do in your body?
There are different effects that steroids can produce on mental and physical health .
They interrupt the hormonal production
The abuse of steroids interrupts the normal production of hormones, causing reversible changes (reduction in sperm production or shrinkage of the testicles) or irreversible changes (baldness and breast development in men).
In the female body, anabolic steroids have a masculinizing effect : they diminish the breasts and body fat, the skin becomes rougher, the voice becomes more severe and the clitoris enlarges. You can increase body hair while losing hair on your head. In principle they are reversible effects but can become irreversible with the continuous use of these medicines.
Stop growth in adolescence
During adolescence, increasing levels of testosterone and other sex hormones are responsible for the rapid growth typical of this time, and are also responsible for sending the signal when that growth should slow down and end.
Precisely because they interrupt normal hormonal production, the use of anabolic steroids in adolescence can interfere with these signals and cause growth to stop earlier than normal.
Increase cardiovascular risk
Steroid abuse is related to cardiovascular diseases, including strokes and strokes before the age of 30 .
The reason is, in part, that they alter blood cholesterol levels , increasing low density lipoproteins ( the bad cholesterol ) and decreasing high density lipoproteins (the good cholesterol ). This increases the risk of arteriosclerosis, a pathology in which fat molecules build up in the arteries, hindering blood flow in the form of blockages and clots.
They produce lesions in the liver
Steroid abuse is related to liver tumors and a rare disease called hepatic peliosis,which consists of the formation of cysts filled with blood in the liver.
It affects the skin
Like all hormonal imbalances, the use of steroids can cause acne and other skin conditions , as well as greasy hair or fluid retention.
Effects on mood and behavior
According to the National Institute of Drugs Abuse , there is currently a reasonable doubt about whether the use and abuse of anabolics affects mood and behavior, specifically increasing the rate of irritability and aggressiveness of the people who use them.
It is not known to what extent the abuse of steroids contributes to violence and behavioral disorders. As with the health complications that result from the use of steroids, the prevalence of extreme cases of violence and behavioral disorders seems to be low, but it may be that it is not reported enough or not recognized as such.
Are steroids addictive?
Again according to the National Institute of Drugs Abuse , steroids meet many of the conditions to consider an addictive substance .
- Continuous use despite the physical or social problems they produce.
- Dedication of a lot of time and money to obtain them.
- A withdrawal syndrome manifested in symptoms such as changes in mood, fatigue, anxiety, loss of appetite, insomnia, decreased sexual desire and desire to continue to use steroids.
Without help, these symptoms can last up to a year after you stop using steroids.