Also known as: Anabolic-androgenic steroids, “roids,” or “juice”
Common brand names: Androsterone, Oxandrin, Dianabol, Winstrol, Deca-durabolin, and Equipoise
Anabolic steroids are manmade substances related to testosterone (male sex hormone). Doctors use anabolic steroids to treat hormone problems in men, delayed puberty, and muscle loss from some diseases.
Bodybuilders and athletes may use anabolic steroids to build muscles and improve athletic performance, often taking doses much higher than would be prescribed for a medical condition. Using them this way is not legal—or safe. Some people who abuse steroids take pills; others use needles to inject steroids into their muscles.
Anabolic steroids are only one type of steroid. Other types of steroids include cortisol, estrogen, and progesterone. These are different chemicals and do not have the same effects.
Abuse of anabolic steroids has been linked with serious health problems. They include:
- High blood pressure
- Changes in blood cholesterol (increases in “bad” cholesterol or LDL, decreases in “good” cholesterol or HDL)
- Enlarged heart
- Heart attack or stroke (even in young people)
- Liver disease, including cancer
- Kidney problems or failure
- Severe acne
- Breast growth and shrinking of testicles
- Low sperm count/infertility (unable to have children)
- Increased risk for prostate cancer
- Voice deepening
- Growth of facial hair
- Male-pattern baldness
- Changes in or end of menstrual cycle/getting your period
- Enlargement of clitoris