Anabolic steroids are composed of compounds that are organic in nature. It is the synthetic, man-made equivalent of testosterone, which is the sex hormone associated with masculinity.
Anabolic steroids (which are muscle building substances) can be prescribed to patients suffering from delayed puberty and diseases like AIDS which result in the loss of lean muscle mass. However, they are known for athletic performance enhancement.
How Are They Used?
Anabolic steroids are administered in three ways, through injections, orally and the application of creams and gels on the skin, the former being more efficient and responsive.
Dangers of Steroid Use
Disruption of the Body’s Own Secretion of Testosterone
The human body is very clever, a marvel of biological engineering so much so that uninterrupted and continuous use of steroids sends signals to the body’s hormone secreting organs that there is no need to naturally produce any more testosterone as that would lead to unnecessarily high levels of the hormone in the blood stream.
Anabolic Steroid Tolerance
As with the use of most anti biotics, over time the body’s immune system develops immunity and starts fighting the foreign substance. This usually leads to most steroid abusers continuously reaching for more potent doses of the substance, this may lead to a failure of key body organs as discussed below.
The liver suffers from having to assimilate large amounts of testosterone from the blood stream to the body’s musculature.
Contraction of HIV/AIDS
This arises from sharing syringes to administer the substance.
Effect on Female Users
Increased levels of testosterone in women may lead to adverse and unwanted secondary sexual characteristics normally associated with men; such as facial hair, menstrual cycle disruption which may lead to infertility, low and deep voice, clitoral enlargement and development of male pattern baldness.
Effect on Adolescent Users
Adolescents who experiment with anabolic steroids are likely to affect their potential maximum height attainable due to accelerated muscle growth at a rate higher than the skeletal frame growth. Teenage boys are likely to become infertile and harm their sexual development. Although the use of steroids is not as common in teenage girls as it is in boys, those who use the drug are likely to develop masculine qualities and harm their menstrual cycle.
Effect in Male Users
Steroids shrink a man’s testicles and lead to lowering of sperm count and semen volume. This leads to infertility in the long run. Furthermore, men who abuse steroids develop mild breasts in a condition known as gynecomastia caused by release of female sexual hormones. In addition, steroid abuse accelerates male pattern baldness in men and raises the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Research indicates that steroid abuse in growing males has the potential to stunt development of sexual organs, which means that they are more likely to have a smaller than average penis size and testicular volume. This is more aggravated in cases where the patients inject themselves with the steroids.
The use of steroids can definitely shrink penis size in addition to testicular size permanently and lead to other sexual and health problems. Use them at your own peril.