People often use steroids without any supervision and knowledge about the risks involved. They are mostly used to gain increased muscle size, stamina for competitions and some may also use it to handle daily rigours of their job. Steroids are drugs, when used inappropriately, can cause a host of severe, long-lasting, and often irreversible negative health consequences.
Steroids are either taken orally in tablet form or injected intramuscularly. Sometimes under false assumption that taking "more is better", some users combine many different types of steroids, to get better results but it causes serious consequences.
This phenomenon is popularly known as stacking. Side effects are dangerous not only for men, but women too can suffer some serious side effects.
"Some of the commonly used steroids are of two types - Corticosteroids and Anabolic steroids. Corticosteroids are used for many allergic and immunological disorders like asthma and as life saving medication in many emergency situations. Unqualified doctors and quacks prescribe these medications for symptomatic relief in many clinical situations without proper diagnosis and without knowing the proper dosing, schedule or side effects.
Anabolic steroids are used by athletes, body builders and weight lifters for development of lean body mass, muscles and body building. These are banned medicines in sports field and come under doping. These people generally use these drugs in very high doses and many a time more than one type of anabolic steroids are used at the same time, which can be very harmful," says Dr Arpit Jain, Consultant, Internal Medicine..
"All steroids, if not used under proper medical indication and without medical supervision could be harmful. If Corticosteroids is taken without supervision, it can decrease body's immunity to fight infections, flare-up of latent tuberculosis; also may cause diabetes and high blood pressure. It can also weaken your bones making them brittle and more vulnerable to fractures.
Anabolic steroids can cause liver damage, risk of liver tumour (adenoma) and liver cancer, also increase risk of kidney and prostate cancers, increase cholesterol, blood pressure and triglyceride level and also increase risk of heart disease and brain stroke.
Some of the prominent effect is on the reproductive system - testicular atrophy (shrinkage), decrease sperm counts and abnormal sperms leading to infertility. Also, there is increase in sexual desire and causes erectile dysfunction or impotency. In males there can also be abnormal breast formation," reveals Dr Arpit Jain, Consultant, Internal Medicine.