Anabolic steroids should be treated with respect. They are prescription-only medicines that athletes take – often with no medical advice. Their aim is to boost muscle mass and improve their performance.

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The reason they deserve respect is that there is a danger of addiction and serious side effects if misused. You can learn more at HealthEd Academy.

Anabolic steroids mimic the effects of testosterone, the male hormone. They have limited medical uses and should not be confused with corticosteroids.

It’s perfectly legal to have anabolic steroids if they are for personal use. But if the authorities believe you’re supplying or selling them, they deem it illegal. In professional sport, the majority of organizations have banned the use of anabolic steroids, and competitors are tested.

athlete, brawny, strong

Some athletes, especially bodybuilders and weightlifters take them to enhance their physical performance and tone up their bodies.

There are people of all ages who suffer from mental health issues known as body dysmorphic disorder. This is where the sufferer worries about perceived flaws in the way they look – even though other people are oblivious to these so-called flaws.

However, sufferers have been known to take anabolic steroids believing they are not either big or strong enough. It isn’t true that anabolic steroids help people achieve fitness and health. Taking anabolic steroids comes with dangerous risks attached.

The usual way of taking anabolic steroids is to inject the drugs into a muscle or to take by mouth in tablet form. There are also creams and gels that can be applied to a person’s skin.

Many people who use anabolic steroids are aware of the dangers but believe that there are certain ways to take the drugs to avoid any side effects.

They may, for example, “cycle” the drugs, which is they take the drugs for a period but then stop for a rest before beginning again. Some people “stack”, which means they taking more than one type of anabolic steroid believing this helps them work better.

Combining stacking and cycling is called “pyramiding”. It involves a person starting off taking just one or more anabolic steroids, and then increasing the dose over a period of time until they reach a maximum dose. Then the person takes a rest from the steroids to give their body a break prior to starting the cycle over again.

weightlifting, clean, jerk

It should be said the evidence does not indicate that these methods reduce the side effects associated with anabolic steroids.

Taking anabolic steroids can cause both physical and psychological changes in male and female users. There is also a risk of suffering potentially dangerous medical conditions.

In men, anabolic steroid use can cause reduced sperm counts and even infertility and erectile dysfunction. There are risks of baldness, male breast development and an enhanced risk of prostate cancer. Men have also been known to develop severe acne and stomach pain.

Women who use anabolic steroids can grow facial and body hair as well as losing their breasts. It’s been known for the clitoris to swell and for the voice to deepen. This is often accompanied by an increased sex drive, problem periods and hair loss as well as severe acne.