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Pumped Up on Steroids: The Risks Outweigh the Benefits

Posted by Shane Magee, M.D. on Dec 10, 2016 10:05:00 AM

From professional athletes to weekend warriors, the drive to be bigger, faster and stronger is a very real factor in today’s body-conscious climate. Countless magazine covers promise routines for washboard stomachs, commercials for workout equipment seem to run 24 hours a day, and new workout videos are released every few months. With all this pressure to look and feel as though you’re in top-physical form, it’s easy to see why the use of steroids and other illegal supplements is on the rise. But here’s what you need to remember: The risks of using those supplements far outweighs the benefits. 

It’s Illegal

First of all, steroid use is illegal. Taking steroids can put you in legal jeopardy, and that alone isn’t worth it. Designer steroids, which are a class of anabolic steroids, have not even been tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which means they aren’t regulated. You shouldn’t be putting them into your body.

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Side Effects in Men

Because steroid use is essentially the same as adding hormones into your body, it isn’t uncommon for men to experience: 

  • Baldness
  • Shrunken testicles
  • Infertility
  • Prominent breasts
  • Impotence
  • Enlargement of the prostate gland 

Side Effects in Women

Likewise, women often develop unwanted side effects as a result of the extra hormones. Some of these are: 

  • Baldness
  • An increase in body hair
  • Deeper voices
  • Infrequent or absent periods

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Side Effects in Men and Women

Here’s a list of side effects that men and women frequently notice: 

  • An increased tendency for tendon rupture
  • Tendinitis
  • Liver tumors
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Increased “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein)
  • Decreased “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein)
  • Severe acne
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Feelings of rage or violence
  • Infections as a result of drug injections
  • Depression and other psychiatric disorders 

If you feel your workout routine is hitting a plateau or you aren’t seeing the results you want, talk to your doctor. Maybe you have an underlying medical condition stopping your progress. Perhaps a simple change in your routine could help break through that plateau. Your doctor will likely have some good safe (and legal) ideas for your workout and healthy eating regimen. Please consider that anyone willing to sell you steroids or other illegal supplements doesn’t have your health and safety first in mind.

Magee_Shane.pngDr. Shane Magee is an Internal Medicine physician who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Tanglewood Clinic.  His clinical interests include hypertension, diabetes and care of chronic conditions.



Topics: steroids, steroid side effects, steroid health risks

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