Anabolic steroids are powerful prescription drugs, which can only be taken under medical supervision. The chemical composition of anabolic steroid is similar to the testosterone, the male sex hormone. However, anabolic steroids that are produced outside the body are synthetic in nature and have their own side effects. These are androgenic drugs that help in muscle building and increasing the strength of the muscles for a short period of time. Most athletes who use these drugs seek to increase lean muscle mass, endurance and stamina to compete in sports.
Male gonadotrophic hormones are responsible for the occurrence of adolescence and puberty. These hormones have androgenic effects causing positive anabolic pathways such as muscular development and also secondary sexual characters. Anabolic steroids are designed to act on the muscular physiology of the body by enhancing androgenic activity to increase the definition and size of the muscle tissue. In addition, anabolic steroids also enhance the production of excess skin lipids which can cause acne. The bacteria causing infections invade this acne.
Since testosterone is a male gonadotrophic hormone associated with masculinity; excess production of these hormones especially in females can cause masculine characters such decrease in breast size, deepening of voice and also jawbone elongation. In males, it causes gynecomastia also known as breast development.
Physiological and psychological effects
Administration of anabolic steroids affects the metabolism and causes damage to vital organs such as heart, brain, kidneys and liver. The estimates based on studies imply that there are more that 1,000,000 anabolic steroid users in the United States alone. In a recent surveillance conducted by the FDA, an anabolic supplement called 'mass destruction' was proven to cause liver damage as it affected a young man who used the supplement for a few weeks and required a liver transplant. Similar cases have also been reported in Australia, where there is a significant amount of increase in injectable androgenic and ergogenic drugs.
Oncological surveys indicate the emergence of cancers among sportsmen because of the administration of these steroids. This is due to the increased activity of the cells under the anabolic steroid action. The pathway leading to catabolism is blocked to attain more results by increased performance of the muscle. Although short lived, this mechanism of muscle physiology can cause damage. In some cases treatment to such conditions can become impossible.
Anabolic steroids also have major effects on the brain as they trigger neurotransmitters that enable the person to depend upon the respective steroid. This is similar to caffeine or alcoholic addiction. The dependency grows based upon the peer group, social network or the kind of sport the person is involved in. Withdrawal from anabolic steroids requires appropriate therapy along with counseling in case of addictions.
Steroids are either anabolic or corticosteroids. Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones that increase the levels of testosterone in the blood. Corticosteroids are drugs that are prescribed for inflammation. Anabolic steroids are largely taken by those who are seeking to increase muscle mass, especially athletes and bodybuilders. But these kind of steroids are not without side-effects. Prolonged use can lead to reproductive problems. Women athletes who take anabolic steroids over a long period of time also face problems such as voice deepening, acute acne, increased facial and body hair. Other effects of long-term steroid use are liver tumors, blood lipid abnormality, enlarged heart muscles and growth of breasts in men.
Polymyalgia rheumatica is a condition of muscle pain and stiffness - often in the shoulders, neck, hips and upper arms. Sometimes it happens in the thighs as well. This condition begins with a gradual onset and often lasts for several years. The stiffness is worse for many hours with bouts of depression and sometimes patients report fever.
Cause of Polymyalgia: The cause is often obscure. It is thought to be associated with autoimmune disease with a reaction resulting in inflammation of the connective tissue. Joint linings and tendon coverings may well be affected. Polymyalgia almost always begins after the age of 50 and is common with women.
Treatment for Polymyalgia: Mostly the treatment option is symptomatic. Many people respond to non-steroidal anti inflammatory medicine like Aspirin and ibuprofen. Some cases might require steroids. While on steroids, avoid contact with people infected with varicella, shingles (herpes zoaster) as the steroids will render you vulnerable to the virus infections. A protective injection of VZIG - varicella / zoaster immune globulin antibodies might help in some cases.