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Anabolic steroids: Uses, side effects, and risks of steroids

Anabolic steroids are sometimes also referred to as steroids, roids, juice, nandrolone, restandol, striant, or sustanon.


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


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Anabolic steroids are drugs that raise the level of anabolic hormones in the body such as testosterone. You can get them as a tablet, capsule or liquid to inject. Your doctor may prescribe them to treat specific conditions.

Anabolic steroids are prescription only. It is illegal to buy them online or to have them without a prescription. Under the Irish Sports Council’s Anti-Doping Rules, they are also banned from use in sports.

What are the side-effects?

The side effects of steroids can vary depend on your gender, but there are also general side effects that will affect you despite your gender.

Anabolic steroids do not immediately affect your mood, but it has been suggested that over time they can cause a person to become aggressive due to excess hormones being produced.

Taken regularly, they increase muscle size as well as sex drive.

General side-effects

  • Acne
  • Increased risk of heart disease and cancer
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Increased aggression
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Stunted growth if taken by young people or teenagers.

Male specific side-effects

  • Breast growth
  • Shrinking of testicles
  • Decreased sperm production
  • Impotence
  • Balding
  • Erectile dysfunction

Female specific side-effects

  • Deeper voice
  • Facial and body hair
  • Enlarged clitoris
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Infertility

Dangers of steroids

  • If injecting, you can damage your veins. For information on safer injecting, see Merchant Quay’s guide
  • Sharing needles can leave you at risk of HIV and hepatitis
  • They can lead to liver abnormalities, including cancer
  • They cause excessive mood swings
  • If purchased over the internet, it is impossible to know what they contain, and they may be mixed with other dangerous chemicals

Why do people take steroids?

People tend to take steroids for two main reasons, to treat a condition or for athletic purposes.

To treat certain conditions

Anabolic steroids can be prescribed by your doctor to treat numerous conditions that result in the loss of lean muscle mass, including cancer and AIDS, as well as certain hormone deficiencies.

For athletic purposes

They are also sometimes used without a prescription to increase muscle size or athletic performance. Steroids are particularly popular in sports like bodybuilding and weightlifting. There are many health risks associated with using them in this way and it is illegal.

Feeling pressured to take steroids

There is a lot of pressure in society to have a certain body type. Many men and women feel under pressure to have strong, muscled bodies that look like those we see in the media. Sometimes, people take steroids because they feel it will help them achieve these results, despite the health consequences.

However, this is not healthy approach and can do harm to your body. There are millions of different body shapes and sizes, and it’s good to try to accept your body as it is. You shouldn’t feel the need to take health risks to achieve a certain type of body. For more information on body image, click here.

How can I gain muscle in a healthy way?

If you want to gain muscle, there are ways to achieve this that are way healthier than steroids. A good mixture of strength and cardio training, as well as a healthy, balanced diet can help you gain muscle. For more information on getting fit click here, and for learning the basics of healthy eating click here

You can find a list of needle exchange services on Drugs.ie

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Published Feb­ru­ary 14th2013
Last updated Novem­ber 6th2018
Tags drugs addiction exercise
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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