In the past three decades, steroids have become a serious problem in the athletic field. The demand for it has increased within recent years and the prices shot up since the mid-1980's. The smuggling of steroids into the United States increases every year. The methods have become easy. Simple methods such as stashing it inside a teddy bear, sneaking it across the Mexican border inside shampoo bottles have worked. These type of steroids are anabolic drugs that build growth hormones that include testosterone, which are the male sex hormones that improve performance.
Testosterone in the male is produced mainly in the testes and a small amount is produced in the adrenal. It is synthesized from cholesterol. Once steroids enter the body, the hypothalamus part of the brain produces gonadotrophin releasing hormone which acts on the anterior pituitary gland to increase the production of luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. Luteinizing hormones acts on Leydig cells in the testis to regulate the production and maturation of spermatoza. This produces the testosterone which acts on the hypothalamus and anterior pituitay to supress the production of GnRH, FSH, and LH. Which produces a negative feedback mechanism. The small amount produced in the adrenal is regulated by secretion of adrenal corticotrophic hormone, also secreted by the pituitary.
Not all steroids are bad. Some steroids are used to treat inflammatory disorders, strengthen weakened hearts, prevent conception, and alleviate symptoms of arthritis and asthma. Those are called cortico steroids and are taken in low dosages. The steroids used by athletes are mostly androgenic steroids. Androgenic steroids act like testosterone and are the steroids that are commonly abused. Steroids can be injected or taken orally. Androgenic steroids have a fairly limited use in medicine. They are effective in males with testicular failure and are occationally used in osteoporosis and as an appetite stimulant.
Many athletes take anabolic steroids at higher dosages. Unfortunately most athletes will not restrict their dosages to theraputic dosages. Many people are fascinated about steroids because of their ability to build up the body. Steroids help muscular tissue after a workout by speeding up the muscle healing process which add more fiber and increasing their bulk, but for these results, dosages need to be pretty high, causing greater side effects. These benefits of steroids help athletes obtain the competitive edge over their opponents. Everybody wants better biceps and triceps. There is a large price to pay when using steroids to achieve these goals. Numerous side effects can result while on steroids depending on the type of steroid taken, gender and body chemistry.
Injectable steroids are longer lasting in the body, but the trade off being that it can be detected in your body for a longer period of time and the result take a while to kick in. Some athletes prefer to take it orally because they obtain faster results. You swallow the pill and results will come faster because it goes through the digestive tract. The problem with orals is they put a lot of strain on the liver.
Most of the side effects of steroid use result from the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. There are some anabolic steroids that do not undergo this conversion. Those steroids will have fewer side effects. Men and women will have different side effects. Women should take even more caution using steroids since their normal levels are only 5 % of the average male's testosterone level. Women will experience lowering of the voice, increased facial and body hair growth, reduced breast size, enlargement of the clitoris, and irregularity of the menstral cycle. In men, steroids can cause shrinkage of the testicles, decrease in sperm count, impotence, prostate enlargement, and growth of female breast. In both men and women, hair loss, liver ailments, acne, atherosierosis, and cancer are very common. This dangerous drug shortens the life span up to 20 years and increases the chance of obtaining diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and high blood pressure. Many side effects are irreversable.
Cancers of the prostate are frequently dependent on testosterone and they may progress very rapidly in the presence of high level of androgens. A percentage of testosterone is converted to estrogen and some artificial androgen have some estrogen effect as well, causing enlargement of breast tissue behind the nipple (glynocomastia). This is seen in boys going through puberty and a small percentage of the adult male population. This effect can be reduced by drugs that block the enzyme, aromatase, that converts testosterone to estrogen. Steroids don't just harm the body physically, they cause psychological problems.
This drug becomes very addictive and damaging to the mind. It causes one to be very violent. Instead of talking problems out, they become rather violent. Research has discovered that steroids cause psychotic side effects called "roid rages". In a few people, steroids cause people to withdraw from everybody close to them. They stop caring for others and start to only care for their own desires. Steroid users lose the ability to reason with others. They get so wrapped up psychologically that the negative physical effects don't matter to them.
Some of the other symptoms include rapid weight and muscle gain, agressive behavior, acne on the back, trembling, sudden increase in food consumption, change in personality, reduced recovery time while working out, large increase in strength in little time, reduced bodyfat, enlarged muscle size.
Many of these effects are temporary. Once you get off of steroids, most of the gains disappear. Once someone quits, depression is often experienced, self esteem drops and the desire to train as well. Sometimes people stop cycling steroids because they don't manage to get off the drugs for a month or two. Once an individual gets off steroids, that individual will lose almost all the gains they made while taking steroids. This might be due to the fact that your body shuts down the production of it's own testosterone when supplied with large amounts of synthetic testosterone in the form of steroids.
You or someone you know might be on steroids. There are a number of things you can do for help. Telling someone you trust like a parent or a best friend is a big step. If you are scared of telling either one of them then there is always someone at school with that you can trust like a favorite teacher or a coach. They will understand the pressures of this dangerous drug and will probably handle it better then you're parents or your best friend who would just freak out and do more harm then good.
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