The Dangers of Anabolic Steroid Use

One of the largest health concerns of today‘s recreational athlete is the temptation to use anabolic steroids. This temptation should be overcome as the main goal of any athlete is to improve not only performance and appearance but also overall health. The use of steroids with a supporting fitness (resistance) program can cause the appearance and some performance improvmence that many of the users are attempting, but due to the possible health consequences and illicit practices surrounding the steroid trade they should be avoided without a valid medical reason and proper medical supervision in regards to their administration.

Below are only some of the more common steroids as well as some general side effects of their use.

Deca-Durabolin (nandrolone decanoate)

Deca-Durabolin is a brand name of Organon Company, the manufacturer of the drug containing the substance nandrolone decanoate. It is suitable, even above average, to develop muscle mass since it promotes the protein synthesis and simultaneously leads to water retention.

Dianabol (methandrostenlone / methandienone)

Dianabol (1 7-alpha-methyl-1 7beta-hydroxil-androsta-1.4dien-3-on) is an orally applicable steroid with a great effect on the protein metabolism. The effect of Dianabol is it promotes the protein synthesis, so it supports the buildup of protein (muscle).

Testosterone cypionate

Testosterone cypionate is the most popular and most used testosterone. Cypionate, like enatanthe, is an oil-dissolved inject-able form of testosterone with strong androgenic and anabolic effects

Equipoise (boldenone undecylenate)

Equipoise has a relatively high anabolic effect which is usually connected with a moderately distinct androgenic component. This steroid is only for veterinary medicine. The American Equipoise is for horses; the Columbian Ganabol is used for cattle; and the German Vebonol for dogs.

Some steroids lead to more side effects than others. In most cases, the more effective the steroid, the more negative effects the user will see.

Water Retention:
This is most common from using steroids. It is a "puffiness" or swelling in the neck and facial areas. It can be mild swelling or very serious, obvious swelling.

Acne & cysts
This is a very common side effect, it can give acne to someone who has never had acne, and it can make acne worse for others. It can also appear in new places for a person, such as, the back and neck.

It is the formation of breasts, or abnormally large glands. The first signs are lumps under the nipples, then will gradually grow to fatty tissue and increase in size.

Aggression, also know as "roid rages". Some athletes feel this is a positive effect. They often find they lift more, and are more intense during workouts. On the negative side, users find themselves fighting with family, friends, and coworkers.

High blood pressure is also a chance when taking steroids. Most athletes would not know if they had high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to many more serious diseases.

Cardiovascular Disease:
Studies have shown that steroid use is a risk factor for heart disease. This is because steroids affect the cholesterol levels. Over a period of time the cholesterol builds up and clogs the arteries.

Heart palpitations have been reported by a number of athletes on steroids. These may indicate an excited or elevated level of the central nervous system.

Impotence occurs when a user goes on and off steroids. When steroids are first used sexual interest increases because of the heightened frequency and duration of the erections. But eventually the opposite happens and no erections can be produced.

A serious liver disease which is found by an enlarged painful liver, yellowing of the eyes and skin, and flu like symptoms. This happens when athletes use high dosages of steroids.

Musculoskeletal system

Steroids can cause the rise in levels of testosterone and other sex hormones that normally trigger the growth spurt that occurs during puberty and adolescence. When these hormones reach certain levels, they signal the bones to stop growing, and ossified the growth plates preventing any additional height.

When a child or adolescent takes anabolic steroids, the resulting artificially high sex hormone levels can signal the bones to stop growing sooner than they normally would have done.


Many users who inject anabolic steroids do not use sterile injection techniques or share contaminated needles with other users. In addition, some steroids are manufactured illegally under non-sterile conditions. This can put users at risk for acquiring viral infections, such as HIV and hepatitis. Users also can develop infective endocarditis, a bacterial illness that causes a potentially fatal inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. Bacterial infections also can cause pain and abscess formation at injection sites.

Sources Institute on Drug Abuse Research Report)