Anabolic Steroids – Applications, Effects, and Risks

Published: Dec 25, 2023 | Revised: Feb 11, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Anabolic Steroids - Applications, Effects, and Risks

Anabolic steroids (officially Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids and abbreviated AAS) are synthetically produced variants of the naturally occurring male sex hormone testosterone which is primarily produced in the testicles.

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The use of anabolic steroids has a number of legitimate medical applications, but they are also used for non-medical purposes by athletes and other people to increase muscle size, strength, physical appearance, and performance.

Legitimate medical uses include, for instance, bone marrow stimulation, growth stimulation, breast cancer treatment, stimulation of appetite, treating delayed puberty, preservation and increase of muscle mass, aiding weight gain after illness, treating alcoholic hepatitis, masculinizing hormone therapy for transgender men, treating hypogonadism, and treating low libido and Erectile Dysfunction (ED), among other applications.

On the other hand, some people use anabolic steroids for non-medical purposes and may abuse them by using doses that are far higher than the approved therapeutic and medical treatment dosages. This can cause severe health damage, depending on several factors such as age, the type of anabolic steroid used, amount used, and duration of use.

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In any case, long-term use or excessive doses of anabolic steroids disturbs the hormonal balance in men (or even completely inhibits natural testosterone production) and may result in harmful cholesterol levels, acne, high blood pressure, liver damage, aggression, recklessness, heart failure, strokes, reduced sperm count, hormonal imbalances, testicular size reduction, breast enlargement, ED, low libido, and prostate cancer, just to name a few adverse conditions.

Anabolic steroids may be ingested orally, injected intramuscularly, or applied to the skin, among some other means of application.

You can read more about the controlled and medical use of anabolic steroids in our post about Testosterone Replacement Therapy.

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