What Are The Side Effects When On Oral Steroids?
The widespread use of oral steroids in both sports and general medicine has allowed information to be obtained regarding sufficient statistics on undesirable side effects to the body. However, steroids that are prescribed by a medical doctor for the treatment of a disease are done so at a recommended dose that is observed closely by the prescribing physician. Intake of oral steroids for medical treatment is different than the intake of oral steroids by both bodybuilders and athletes. Those taking prescribed steroids have a less likely chance of developing side effects if taking the dose that is recommended. Although the risk of side effects is still present. In sports and bodybuilding, the situation is, unfortunately, somewhat different. Many athletes who use oral steroids are not thinking of the harmful side effects associated with the drugs. They focus solely on the growth of results and believe steroids will provide the end result in mind. It is widely believed, especially among novice athletes, that “the more, the better and more effective.” This notion is not only a thought of novice athletes and bodybuilders but also of those at more experienced levels. This is a deep and dangerous misconception. More is not always better. There are several other key factors that play a part in the result of steroid cycles.
The use of any oral steroids can cause more than one negative side effects but in most cases, it all depends on the dosage. The higher the dose, the more likely the appearance of various negative effects will occur. These side effects include acne, fluid retention, testicular size changes, liver disorders, hair loss on the head, hair growth on the body, sleep problems, increased appetite, gynecomastia, lowering the tone of voice, increased aggressiveness, insomnia, mood swings, cardiovascular stress, suppression of the body’s natural production of testosterone and more. Most of these side effects are considered reversible (temporary) and will begin to disappear after the discontinuation of the steroid or the end of the cycle. However, there may be much more severe consequences of oral steroids, such as heart disease and serious mental disorders. These side effects are not felt or seen overnight, so don’t be alarmed. It may take years of steroid use as well as excessive dosages, continuous use and lengthy cycles to experience any or all side effects. It should also be noted that athletes who use steroids can also develop both physical and mental dependence on drugs. These effects and consequences depend on the individual’s tolerance level for the steroid in addition to the level of experience and mental attitude on life as a whole.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the negative side effects associated with the use of oral steroids.
Effect of Oral Steroids on The Central Nervous System
Initially, the focus or main attention was on the negative impact of oral steroids on the organs and systems directly responsible for the physical condition of the body. And only after some time, the researchers concluded that the consequences of taking oral steroids no less affect the mental state and behavioral reactions of people. The human brain has receptors for interaction with testosterone and therefore can be considered as a “target organ” for this hormone and its synthetic analogues. Users will tolerate steroids at all different levels since the brain of each individual is not the same.
One obvious factor that can play a key role in the dependence of steroids is the age of the athlete. The younger the athlete, the deeper shifts in the psyche take place, that is, a young growing organism is much more vulnerable to steroids. Younger, less experienced athletes also feel the peer pressure of taking steroids because teammates or others at the gym are getting results from steroid use. A significant side effect of the use of oral steroids is the emergence of dependence on the athlete. Moreover, psychological dependence on oral steroids is much more common than physical dependence. It is not yet clear whether there is a definite predisposition for this and, if so, what is the cause. Although the athlete sees a noticeable change in their physique, it is the mindset of taking steroids that can lead to dependence. Skipping or missing doses can do mental damage to the user who feels that by not taking the dose, they begin to lose their gains.
Effect of Oral Steroids on The Endocrine System
Since testosterone and anabolic steroids themselves have hormonal activity, it is natural to expect their effect on the endocrine system. This is primarily a reproductive function in men. The introduction of high concentrations of anabolic steroids for a long time suppresses the body’s natural production of his own testosterone, which leads to a decrease in its concentration in the blood, testicular atrophy, sperm formation disorders. Once testosterone levels dip too low, the individual will start to feel symptoms such as fatigue and depression (just to name a few).
Sperm will lose their mobility as well as the ability to penetrate the egg and the amount of sperm decreases. In boys, steroid use may cause a stint in the puberty development process. Due to the fact that part of testosterone and anabolic hormones is converted in the process of metabolism into estradiol, there is a feminization in the male body. This is expressed in gynecomastia – breast growth in 65% in adolescents and 40% in adult men. Many refer to this as man boobs in which men start to develop tenderness and swelling around the nipples. Experts believe that the decline of fertility, changes in sex drive and impotence are the most striking clinical manifestation of the so-called drug anabolic syndrome, common among athletes, that is a new disease of civilized society, the called a systematic taking best oral steroids. Anabolic steroids also affect the adrenal cortex, which regulates electrolyte metabolism and water metabolism in the body. Water retention in the body or carrying extra fluid also plays a role in whether the user may or may not develop gynecomastia.
Effect of Oral Steroids on The Cardiovascular System
The increase in pressure, sometimes leading to fainting, in athletes (and persons not involved in sports) who take oral steroids, is a well-known fact. Twenty-five percent of patients using anabolic steroids have heart disease and hypertension, and 1-2% – myocardial damage. Healthy adults are less likely to develop any stress to the cardiovascular system whereas those who lead a less healthy lifestyle are more at risk. Various authors have described several cases of death as a result of acute heart failure as a result of oral steroids. Keep in mind this may have over a prolonged period of time and with over-excessive dosages and cycles. Thus, with the current tendency to increase blood pressure, shifts in metabolism towards the occurrence of risk factors (increased cholesterol, triglycerides, lipoproteins, increased formation of free radicals and others), the possibility of complications from the cardiovascular system increases many times, despite the relatively young age of athletes taking anabolic steroids. It is important when considering cycling with oral steroids to eat a diet rich in omega fatty acids, as well as proteins and carbohydrates. Avoiding alcohol consumption and foods high in saturated fats and simple sugars will cut down on the amount of cardiovascular strain which could lead to heart disease down the road. There are practical guidelines to consider when taking oral steroids. To reduce or minimize these complications, doctors prescribe drugs that reduce blood pressure, improve microcirculation, prevent and treat acute and chronic heart failure (ischemia of the heart, arrhythmia, which are common when performing physical exercises with weights, large in volume and long in time).
Other Side Effects
Nervous system – mental changes, increased excitability, irritability, aggressiveness or depression, euphoria, psychosis. More likely to occur if the individual is already susceptible to these moods.
Endocrine system – Changes in insulin secretion and reduced glucose tolerance, lipid metabolism, hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia, decreased testosterone secretion in men, suppression of spermatogenesis, changes in libido, impotence. Symptoms will vary from person to person.
Cardiovascular system – Changes in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism are a factor predisposing to the development of atherosclerosis and other diseases of the cardiovascular system. This can lead to a negative effect on the cholesterol level of the individual as well as a spike in blood pressure. Pay attention to the foods you consume and exercise regularly to cut down on these effects.
Liver and gallbladder – Oral steroids cause disorders of the antitoxic and excretory function of the liver, prolonged intake leads to blockage of the biliary tract, cholestasis, fibrosis, hepatitis, cirrhosis. Possible tumors, tumors, hepatocellular carcinoma, angiosarcoma, liver hyperplasia. Oral steroids are toxic to the liver and in combination with excessive alcohol consumption can do severe damage over the years. It is important to keep your drinking in check.
Urogenital system and sexual system – The formation of kidney stones, glomerular dysfunction. Possible prostate cancer, kidney tumors, decreased spermatogenesis and changes in the normal composition of sperm, testicular atrophy can occur but this depend on the individual as well.
Musculoskeletal system – At a young age, irreversible changes of long bones, premature fusion of epiphyseal plates, degeneration of the tendons, the change in muscle structure, increasing the morbidity. Each individual will respond differently to oral steroids.