Steroids – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Most of us have already heard about the warnings regarding the use of steroids. But what are steroids and how does it affect the body? In the medical world, steroids are a natural substance that has various effects on the body. It is mainly used in reducing inflammation and other symptoms caused by illnesses.

Steroids contain androgenic and anabolic substances which are the cause of steroid side effects generally known in sports-related controversies. The androgen substance is the main factor in the development and enhancement of male characteristics. For this reason, it is common to hear about steroids in sports, especially among athletes and bodybuilders.

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Although commonly heard in the world of sports, steroids are also used in treating skin diseases. So what are steroids’ roles in dermatological treatments? Since steroids have substances that alleviate inflammation such as in the case of eczema. Topical steroids vary in strength, especially those that are found in skin creams and ointments.

Some examples of these topical steroid creams that are normally used in treating skin diseases are hydrocortisone, fluocinolone acetonide, predicarbate, and desonide. But the steroids used in dermatology are only to be used for a short period based on the doctor’s prescription. Prolonged use of the topical cream may cause the disease to develop tolerance to it. In this case, patients are advised to minimize the application of the cream or completely stop its use.

When used in dermatology, steroid side effects cause the epidermis to get thinner and the connective tissues are also affected. The skin may become shiny yet wrinkled and in some cases, hypopigmentation is observed. These symptoms are part of the side effects of skin atrophy which includes having stretch marks in areas where the topical steroid is applied such as the armpit, belly, and groin area.

Another dangerous side effect of topical steroids is the weakening of the immune ability of the skin in fighting off bacterial infection. During prolonged use or misuse of the topical steroid, a simple skin rash may become extensive and may develop allergies and rashes that cannot be controlled by the same strength of steroid.

A higher dose may be prescribed by the dermatologist to control it or completely eliminate the use of the topical steroid treatment, it may be advised. But the side effects may take months to control, and in worst cases, the steroid side effects are irreversible. Hence, proper education on the use of steroids is a must and the use of it requires a doctor’s prescription.

Concern about the use of steroids in dermatology is just one side of the whole spectrum. The prolonged use of steroids in sports has been more focused due to people’s unwavering interest in enhancing their bodies. Most athletes and muscle mass gainers have resorted to the use of health supplements and body enhancers to immediately get the results they want.

From celebrity boxers to football stars, these athletes have not escaped the scrutiny of people, especially if their performance is remarkable. The effects of steroids include making the individual feel hungry thus raising the blood sugar level.

It is popularly used for muscle mass gain, especially in men who want to sculpt their physique as its anabolic factor helps in muscle growth. The anabolic substance mainly affects the individual’s immunity and metabolism. But the abuse in the administration of steroids can clearly be seen in the physical changes of both men and women.

With its androgenic factor, women’s features take a turn to the masculine side. Their hair becomes thicker and their muscle bulk is more enhanced. Men who prolong the use of steroids begin to develop more feminine physical attributes. Their breasts become enlarged and most of these men will suffer from testicular atrophy. This shrinking of the muscle organs is one of the most feared side effects that men on steroids want to avoid.

Men on steroids, especially those who abuse their use, increase their chances of infertility. Worse, bone corrosion will be encountered as the calcium in the bones starts to degrade. Other irreversible side effects include liver organ deterioration, tumors, cancer, fluid retention problems, and bone problems. For teenagers, steroid abuse can lead to a halt in bone development and growth. What it does to adolescents is that it prompts the premature development of the skeletal structure and induces changes in the puberty cycle.

The harmful effects of steroids on the body, however, are widely misunderstood. This substance has a great role in medicine, only that people abuse its use. The medical purpose of steroids is substantial and cannot be disregarded. In the case of corticosteroids, this type of steroid helps patients suffering from asthma attacks, arthritis, lupus, eczema, and certain types of tumors and cancers. Nevertheless, its misuse and abuse may also lead to the same mentioned illnesses.

The administration of steroids can be done topically, orally — liquid, powder, tablets, or pills, and intravenously. Those who use it for weight or muscle gain take steroids in cycles. Typically, muscle mass gainers use it along with other substances and supplements.

The point of using steroids with other supplements is to avoid the harsh side effects of its anabolic and androgenic ingredients. For those who use topical applications of steroids, the frequency and duration of their use are only for a short period. It is strongly advised not to go over the prescriptive period.

Nevertheless, there are other types of steroids that have different effects on the body. Estrogen, cortisol, and progesterone do not have the same anabolic effects as common steroids which muscle builders use. Hence, these types of steroids do not cause the harmful effects associated with the anabolic androgenic steroids used mainly in muscle mass gain.

Anabolic-androgenic steroids are synthetically made to be akin to the male hormone – the testosterone. Therefore, the intake of these types of steroids in women for a prolonged period causes them to develop masculine features. The most popular steroids used today are equipoise, oxandrin, dianabol, winstrol, and andro.

The use of steroids in sports had been quite controversial as people consider it cheating due to the performance-enhancing abilities of steroids. But the real controversy is not really about its use in professional sports but in its harmful side effects on the body as well as the influence, it brings to the younger generation.

A study has been conducted wherein teenagers in the eighth to twelfth grade have been found to have tried steroids. The risk of using steroids in young adolescents is that it stunts their growth and causes other complications associated with their bone and sexual development.

For some, its use may help them gain confidence due to the expected muscle gain it is known for. But this is a great misconception as most steroids cause drastic mood swings such as irritability, jealousy, delusions, and depression. With today’s problem of suicide, the administration of steroids in teens is absolutely not to be considered a confidence booster.

This is a dangerous issue that could lead to violence and death among teens who are unaware of the harmful and mostly irreversible side effects of steroids. It is illegal to use steroids without a doctor’s prescription due to their life-threatening effects especially when it is abused. Steroids are not totally disadvantageous as these have been proven to be crucial in the field of medicine.

The fact that steroids are very significant in the treatment of various illnesses; their use can never be banned compared to illegal and addictive drugs. Strict regulations on the procurement of steroids should be well in place. A doctor’s prescription is a must before administering steroids.

There are so many reasons why steroids are prescribed by doctors; however, there are greater reasons why steroids should not be used just to enhance one’s physique. Artificially gaining muscle mass with steroids is never recommended due to its harmful side effects on the bones and vital organs.

In rare cases due to the abuse of its administration, steroids can cause a disruption in the blood flow wherein atherosclerosis occurs. This will then either lead to a stroke or a heart attack. Thus, early use of steroids, especially in teenagers, can put them at risk for cardiovascular diseases. It can even lead to other viral infections such as HIV, hepatitis, and AIDS due to its administration with hypodermic needles.

Serious risks caused by the use of steroids should be avoided by keeping children informed about its harmful side effects. People who have already abused its use are likely to have already been addicted to the substance. The problem with this is that it causes restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, and emotional imbalance.

Some steroid abusers are observed to have impaired judgment due to their extreme feelings of confidence and invincibility. Others would also experience paranoia and manic depression. Because of these life-threatening effects, roids or juice – which are some common names of steroids used in the streets – have been put in the spotlight along with other illegal drugs.

The focus of authorities right now is to protect children from using steroids. In today’s fancy for sexy sculpted bodies, it is inevitable that some teens will not think twice about using steroids to achieve the body that they want. Nonetheless, adults who want to try anabolic androgenic steroids to build up muscles should seek the advice of a physician or nutritionist.

The maintenance of androgenic substances should be supervised by a medical professional to avoid irreversible side effects. Although some supplements containing steroids are out in the market with easy access over the internet, these individuals should be smart enough to understand the cycle when these enhancers should be used.

Weight lifters who wish to gain muscle mass within a few months may find it tempting to try steroids, but great precautions should be observed. There are still other health supplements in the market that can improve performance as well as drive muscle gain without any anabolic androgenic ingredients.

Protein shakes and a proper diet should still be on top of the workout program instead of focusing on the use of steroids. Steroids may have come a long way and their forms and uses may have evolved. Still, the side effects due to prolonged use, abuse, and misuse should be avoided.

For those who are concerned about their fitness, steroids are not just the only substance you can take to enhance your physique. A good training program with a balanced diet and safe health supplements should be your number one priority and should not just be your alternative to steroids.

A good understanding of the administration of steroids is paramount to avoid irreversible damage to the body which you will have to carry for a lifetime. Abide the laws and regulations set upon the use of steroids, and never ignore the thousands of warnings and advice regarding the use of these anabolic androgenic substances.

The degree of the effects of steroids in the body may vary with each individual – according to gender and age. And aside from the issue of its side effects, those who may still want to include it in their training program should weigh the cost and benefits. Most supplements and medicines with steroids are pricey and finding a steroid supplement online at a bargain should be questionable. This should be a warning to anyone who plans to buy steroids online, especially from shady suppliers.

It is imperative that you use steroids, as it is best done with a medical professional who can supervise your progress during the training program. Avoid abusing and misusing these body enhancers just because you want quick results. The lifetime and irreversible steroid side effects should already help you set limitations to its intake.

There are more reasons to stay healthy without steroids in the body. Maintaining a good workout program along with a balanced diet is of vital importance. There is no greater value than having good health as you grow old. Live life without being dependent on any drugs or medicine. Create a holistic training program and stick to nature.

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