Sports celebrities have been plagued with stories and rumors of steroid abuse. Athletes give out their best performances every time, but some athletes find their best not good enough. But instead of trying harder, giving more time for practice, learning new strategies and modifying game plans, some athletes go for the easier route -- use steroids.
While steroids are useful to males experiencing abnormally low amounts of testosterone as well as to people suffering from osteoporosis and AIDS, many use it to increase muscle and bone mass to improve performance in competitive sports.
However, the abuse of anabolic steroids has its consequences, which are more dangerous for teens whose bodies are still developing.
Short-term effects include acne, hostility, and aggression. Males can experience shrunken testicles, hair loss, difficulty or pain in urinating, increased risk of prostate cancer, and development of breasts. Females can experience decreased body fat and breast size, changes in the menstrual cycle, excessive growth of body and facial hair, male-pattern baldness, and a deepened voice.
Long-term effects include severe acne, fluid retention, high blood pressure, increased risk of blood clotting, increase in bad cholesterol, decrease in good cholesterol, jaundice, liver cysts and cancer, and kidney cancer.
Since steroids are often administered through injection, there is also an increased risk of acquiring hepatitis and HIV from the use of unsterile needles or syringes.
Coaches, trainers, and even employers can use laboratory steroid tests to make sure their players and workers do not abuse performance-enhancing drugs.