steroids are drugs such as
testosterone or substances that work like
testosterone. Doctors prescribe them to treat problems such as delayed
puberty and other medical problems that cause the body
to make very low amounts of testosterone. Steroids make muscles bigger and
bones stronger. They also may cause puberty to start and can help some boys
who have a
genetic disorder to grow more normally.
Common anabolic steroid medicines include fluoxymesterone (such as Halotestin)
and nandrolone (such as Durabolin). In the United States, you need a
prescription to get any anabolic steroid. Illegal anabolic steroids are those
that people get without a doctor?s prescription.
Sitting in high school biology, listening to the teacher drone on about
genetics, I snapped to attention when she used male pattern baldness as an
example of a dominant trait. My heart started pounding with fear - with bald
men on both sides of my mother's family as far as the eye could see, I was
doomed to have a chrome dome.
I remained anguished about the prospect of being bald for the next 20 years
as my hairline retreated and my hair steadily thinned. Bald men seemed
disfigured to me....
Some people take
legal dietary supplements that have certain steroid hormones also made by the
human body. One such drug is dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). The body can turn
DHEA into other steroid hormones, including testosterone,
cortisol. People use it to try to make their muscles
bigger. Whether such products actually work has not been proved. But if you
take them in large amounts, they can cause the same side effects as anabolic
Why do some people abuse anabolic steroids?
Some adults and teens use illegal anabolic
steroids to lower body fat, get bigger muscles, and increase strength. They use
the drugs because they are seeking to improve how well they play sports or how
The dose of illegal anabolic steroids is 10 to 100
times higher than the dose a doctor prescribes for medical problems. People
often use more than one of these illegal drugs at the same time. This is called
stacking. Or they may take the drugs in a cycle from no drug to a high dose
over a period of weeks to months. This is called pyramiding.
Anabolic steroids may be taken as a pill, as a shot into a muscle, or as
a gel or cream rubbed on the skin.
What problems can abusing anabolic steroids cause?
Anabolic steroids can
cause serious side effects. Some of these effects can be permanent.