Steroids are synthetic substances analogous to testosterone (male sex hormone). Scientists made it to replicate what testosterone does in the human body naturally. Doctors crafted and engineered steroids to decrease inflammation and quickly heal human tissue. Steroids, though often abused, have some legitimate medicinal uses. Many medical practitioners prescribe them to healthy young people to help them build muscle mass while bodybuilding.
There are two main types, i.e., corticosteroids and anabolic steroids.
Corticosteroids are drugs that promptly fight inflammation of the body. These laboratory-made steroids work like hormonal cortisol that adrenal glands make in the body. Cortisol helps keep your immune system from making inflammation-causing tissue. They stop or slow down the system procedures that activate inflammation.
They help treat medical conditions that lead to irritation and swelling. For example, steroids reduce asthma symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, autoimmune disorders, COPD, rashes, multiple sclerosis, and other skin conditions.
These human-made versions of male sex hormones build bigger muscles. Doctors often prescribe steroids to boys with delayed puberty. Bodybuilders and people with AIDS, cancer, and other medical conditions also use them to enhance muscle mass.
Commercial websites list up to 32 types of anabolic steroids for medical and other use. Some have medicinal uses only, while others have medicinal and performance uses. People choose various kinds of anabolic for different intents, such as:
-Bulking steroids to build body mass
-Performance steroids for more endurance and strength
-Cutting steroids to burn extra body fat
The Uses of an Anabolic
Steroids are helpful when used in moderate amounts. Many people use them for a wide range of athletic and health purposes:
- Lowering overall body fat percentage,
- Gaining more body mass via protein production (4.5-11 pounds)
- Increasing the density of the bones
- Gaining fortitude and muscle strength
- More red blood cell production
- Improved performance in strength-related sports like weightlifting
- Increasing muscle mass and maintaining it because of health conditions that cause muscles to waste away
Health effects and side effects
In moderate doses for short periods, monitored by a professional, steroids pose a fewer risk of harmful side effects or long-term health problems. However, your genes may also affect how they work in your body. Using extreme amounts of steroids, even for a short duration, can lead to multiple side effects, such as:
- Increase The Risk Of Heart Disorders: Steroids combined with resistance workouts enhance the size of your left ventricle and increase blood pressure. As a result, it can increase your risk of getting any heart disorder or other related health condition.
- More Aggressive Behavior: male athletes who continuously use them become more aggressive. It can lead to impulsivity in teenagers and adults as well.
- Low Body Image: According to the diagnostic manual of psychological disorders, long-term use of steroids and their dependence can lead to a classified body image disorder.
- Permanent Liver Damage: Steroids, especially those you take orally, can increase your risk of developing liver dysfunction.
- Low Production Of Testosterone: Anabolic steroids cause hypogonadism. Doctors characterize this disorder by the common and decreased function of the testes.
- May Lead To Gynecomastia: Medical experts define this condition as swollen male breast tissues. It occurs because of hormonal imbalance and usually appears when you stop consuming steroids.
- Infertility Issues: Steroids also decrease sperm production and overall sperm count, which may lead to infertility.
- Patterned Baldness: The androgenic side effects of long-term use of Steroids can lead to male baldness. Though, this side effect may vary from person to person depending upon the type of drug used.
Long-Term effects and misuse
Regular use of steroids can cause severe and permanent health problems like:
- Kidney problems or kidney failure
- Liver damage and liver tumors
- High blood pressure, enlarged heart, changes in blood cholesterol, and increased risk of heart attack and stroke
- More risk of developing blood clots
Some other gender and age-specific side effects are:
- Decrease sperm count
- Shrinking testicles
- Development of breast
- Increased risk of prostate cancer
- Excess growth of facial hair or body hair
- Male pattern baldness
- Decreased breast size
- Deepened voice
- Enlarged clitoris
- Changes in the menstrual cycle and early menopause
- Stunted growth occurs because of the high level of hormones that may signal the body to stop bone growth very early
- Diminutive height if misuse occurs before the growth spurt
The psychological side effects are:
- Sleep disruption
- Mood swings
- Extreme irritability
- Aggressive behavior
- Impaired judgment because of feelings that nothing in the world can harm you
- Depression because of withdrawal symptoms
- Lack of sexual drive
Industry and Distribution
Steroid manufacturing occupies an important place in the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, the annual global market sales have reached 10 billion dollars in the past few years. Because of this, steroids have become the second-largest class of drugs sold for medicinal purposes.
In nations with stringent laws, many pharmaceutical laboratories produce steroids in homemade, underground labs, usually from raw substances imported from various parts of the world. Subsequently, in many countries, most are obtained illegally via black-market trading.
As far as steroid distribution is concerned, the market is segmented based on the mode of administration, method of application, and basis of distribution channels.
- Medical experts distribute steroids as injections, oral capsules, topical creams and gels, inhalers, and skin patches based on the mode of administration.
- Based on the application, doctors and practitioners distribute androgenic or anabolic.
- Based on distribution channels, manufacturers segmented steroids for retail, online, and hospital pharmacies.
How to purchase?
Many health practitioners and doctors may prescribe steroids for legal medicinal purposes. For example, medical experts prescribe steroids for breast cancer, delayed puberty, low red blood count, and other autoimmune disorders.
As a typical customer, any individual can easily purchase synthetic steroids, injectable testosterone, and alternative therapies from black market dealers and internet websites with no prescription. At least one member of your local gym likely uses it. Also, any healthy person can go to a hormone therapy clinic, complain of low hormone symptoms, and the clinician will prescribe steroids to treat their complaints. Some signs that will quickly get you approved for steroid use under a licensed medical provider are mental fatigue, low sex drive, physical fatigue, feeling depressed, reduced erections, obesity, and slower hair growth.
According to different degree searches, 87% of online websites openly sell used forms of steroids. Subsequently, internal pharmacies supply these sites outside the FDA jurisdictions. Many black-market traders and sites also give potentially inaccurate information to customers. Different data have shown that synthetic steroids are on the rise. Unlike traditional steroids made for medical use, they have more harmful effects that are still unknown and may cause many strange impacts on an individual’s body.
Administering an Anabolic
Doctors administer anabolic steroids designed for legitimate medicinal intentions in several ways, including:
- Subcutaneous injection
- Intramuscular injection
- Pellet implantation under the skin
- Application to the skin (gels and patches)
- By mouth
These similar routes are used by abusers for steroid administration, with oral administration and injections being the most common ones. People misusing steroids can consume anywhere from 1 to 100 times the average doses of it. It includes consuming two or more steroids simultaneously, a method called stacking. Abusers can also alternate the periods of high doses with low amounts or no use, called cycling. Another mode of use is called pyramiding. The user slowly increases the steroid use, reaching the peak between cycles and then gradually tapering the dose towards the end.
The doses of steroids depend upon the goal of the user. For example, professional and high school athletes usually consume it for a limited period. Subsequently, other people, like bodybuilders, fitness fanatics, and bodyguards, typically take these drugs for extended periods.
Difference Between Doctor and Self-Administration
Apart from relying on the manufacturer’s directions, the doctor considers the type of the drug, its interaction with your system, your age/weight/health, and the part of your body that needs to be treated. A doctor also considers any other medication you might take and your allergies. Doctors are professionals and consequently are more thorough, so they are considered a better option than self-administration.
Before administering steroids, a doctor decides how the medication will be issued in light of clinical research, the effectiveness, and the side effects of an application. A team of doctors first assesses you. Then, they go through the entire process with you, after which the nursing staff supervises you until the procedure is over.
Steroidal injections are usually in the form of liquid. They are available in multiple concentrations, so it is vital to know the serum’s intended dosage and concentration before self-administration. Sterile and new syringes/needles/tools are also required for self-administration. In addition, you must keep the medication at the recommended temperature and maintain hygienic conditions at all costs.
Self-administration is becoming an increasingly popular area among steroid users. It has many advantages for people as it promotes better clinical skills and access to medication. However, it is also associated with certain risks, such as drug overdose, misdiagnosis, prolonged use, and drug abuse (cycling).
Even though steroids do not cause the same effects as other drugs, they can still lead to a substance use disorder. This condition usually occurs when an individual uses steroids, even though many profound consequences are involved. The most severe form of steroid abuse is addiction. Some people might continue using steroids despite experiencing physical problems and adverse effects on their behavior. Some steroid users may also turn towards other drugs, like opioids, to improve irritability and sleep problems caused by the constant use of steroids.
Steroid addiction often causes the following withdrawal symptoms:
- Sleep disturbance
- Loss of appetite
- Low sex drive
- Steroid cravings
Most times of addiction, people take medicines to help improve the symptoms. Also, a healthcare provider may prescribe medications for depression and pain.
There are many safe and natural alternatives to get the bulk, strength, and performance you want.
- You can opt for a healthy and balanced diet. Include a diet regime in your routine that is high in fiber, proteins, and healthy fats.
- Always workout closely with different muscle groups. You can even alternate between muscle groups to get long-term effects.
- A consistent exercise plan can keep you on track and accountable whether you want to stay fit or bulk up for bodybuilding.
Well-calculated and lower doses of steroids are safer than uncontrolled amounts linked to misuse/abuse. Today, doctors use synthetic testosterone for low levels of TRT, i.e., testosterone replacement therapy. It is safer for men when administered by a professional doctor or health practitioner. Practitioners provide higher doses to competitive athletes, but strength sports increase the risk of side effects and health concerns.
Regardless of the dosage, steroids always have a certain level of risk linked to them. In addition, people react differently to them because of alterations in genetic makeup and other parameters, such as height, age, and weight.
Final Thoughts Anabolic Steroids
Steroids are a synthetic form of testosterone that many people use to improve muscle mass and strength. While the health risk associated with the regular use of steroids may differ by type and dosage, they can still be extremely dangerous and lead to severe side effects at any dosage. Subsequently, they are illegal to use in most parts of the world. Thus, using steroids is a tough decision because the risks usually offset the benefits.