What are Steroids?
Anabolic steroids are synthetic, or human-made, variations of the male sex hormone testosterone. The proper term for these compounds is anabolic-androgenic steroids. “Anabolic” refers to muscle building, and “androgenic” refers to increased male sex characteristics. Some common names for anabolic steroids are Gear, Juice, Roids, and Stackers.
Anabolic steroids are used as performance-enhancing drugs to increase the ability to do work and exercise by abnormally stimulating muscle growth, power, and aerobic capacity. This increased function comes with a cost of potentially life-threatening side effects.
How does a steroid function?
Within a single day of taking steroids, the expression of genes starts to change. Steroids easily enter the body’s cells and bind to the androgen receptor. This allows the body to increase protein synthesis and reduce protein breakdown. Days in and the user quickly starts losing fat while gaining strength, power, aggression, proactivity, reflexes, and the ability to exercise.
Enhanced performance enables the user to exercise harder, faster, and more frequently. Since the user becomes habituated to increased performance, quitting becomes extremely difficult.
What happens during cycling?
Cycling is the process of taking multiple doses over a period of time, stopping for a while, and then resuming again. Many falsely believe that the steroid-free period helps the body to recover. There is no scientific evidence to support any of these claims.
A lot of people try to use steroids only for a season or a year max but unfortunately, they get addicted. Once they stop taking steroids, they get adverse withdrawal symptoms such as loss of appetite, tiredness, restlessness, insomnia, mood swings, and depression.
What are the side effects?
Damage to Cardiovascular System
Steroid use has been associated with high blood pressure, decreased function of the heart’s ventricles, and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, artery damage, and strokes.
Steroids also increase the risk of blood clots forming in blood vessels, potentially disrupting blood flow and damaging the heart muscle, disabling it to pump blood effectively. It can also cause weakness in the heart muscle i.e ability to contract and relax.
Damage to Hormonal System
Steroid use disrupts the normal production of hormones in the body. In males, it can lead to decreased sperm production, low testosterone levels, shrinking of the testicles, male-pattern baldness, and breast development (gynecomastia).
In females, anabolic steroids cause masculinization. Specifically, breast size and body fat decrease, the skin becomes coarse, and the voice deepens. They may experience excessive growth of body hair but lose scalp hair.
With continued administration of steroids, some of these effects become irreversible.
Many people who use anabolic steroids inject using non-sterile injections or share contaminated needles with other users. This puts them at risk for acquiring life-threatening viral infections, such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. Anabolic steroids also suppress the immune system, which further worsens the infections.
Damage to Liver
Steroid use has been associated with liver damage, tumors, and a rare condition in which blood-filled cysts form in the liver. The cysts can rupture, causing internal bleeding and even death in rare cases.
Damage to Skin
Steroid use can cause acne, hair loss on the head, cysts, and oily hair and skin. Users who inject steroids may also develop pain and abscess formation at injection sites.
Anabolic steroids can also produce jaundice, or yellowing of the skin or eyes, as a result of damage to the liver.
High steroid use can increase aggression which can lead to fights, verbal aggression, and violence.
Anabolic steroid users suffer from anxiety. Moderate to high doses of anabolic steroids are also associated with major mood disorders such as mania, hypomania, and depression. The body starts deflating once the withdrawal process begins, which can leave users mentally devastated.
Other Side Effects
These include stunted growth and height in teens and enlargement of organs.
Steroids are a shortcut to gaining muscles and getting shredded in a short period of time. All these changes come along with long-term health complications, which are absolutely not worth the risk. Steroids are also illegal in India, and their usage can land you in jail.
A good physique can also be achieved by training the healthy way: eating the right foods, practicing, and training without using drugs.