Your favourite grizzled sailor man is in trouble. He’s facing a foe several times his size, taking pummel after pummel straight to the face. So what does Popeye do? He pulls out a can of spinach, glugs the leafy greens, and suddenly he has the strength of Schwarzenegger with the moves of Bruce Lee. His opponent’s out cold and Olive Oyl is cheering from the wings.
In real life, it takes more than spinach to get you jacked. Pro athletes and regular gym rats alike turn to performance-enhancing drugs to build muscle, burn fat, and boost endurance. According to a recent SBS report, the underground steroid business is booming, with various online forums and Youtube channels purporting to educate people on how to use anabolics “safely.”
However, before you turn to the kind of juice that doesn’t come from a fruit, it’s important to educate yourself. Your goal may be the muscles of Lou Ferrigno, but your result could be the assets of Pamela Anderson. Here are 6 potential side effects of steroid use.
It’s not often you hear the US National Library Of Medicine talking about gonads. But testicular shrinkage is an all-too-real side-effect of steroid usage. According to a study published in said journal, taking steroids increases testosterone levels, which throws the body’s natural hormone balance out of whack. In response, your body shuts down native testosterone production and the family jewels shrivel like uneaten avocados. The higher the dose and the longer the use, the longer testosterone suppression continues. Men can suffer lasting fertility and sexual dysfunction problems long after steroid use has stopped.
It’s not just the little guys that pay the price for your juice habit. Former steroid users often have trouble getting it up during sex because their body has become accustomed to the artificial testosterone. Without that extra influx, the body exhibits classic “low T” symptoms. Topping that list (and not much else) is erectile dysfunction.
Pumped up pecs? #Goals. Actual breasts? Not so much. The male body naturally converts a percentage of testosterone into estrogen, but when a guy takes an excessive amount of testosterone, his body creates more estrogen to match it. The spike in estrogen can cause gynocomastia – enlargement of the breasts. Not only will your girlfriend will be furious when her favourite bras start to go missing, but you may even end up having to see a doctor like Joseph T Cruise, a male breast reduction surgeon. The problem is so widespread that a recent in house study showed that fifty percent of patients who come to see him have hormone-induced gynecomastia—and the “vast majority” are bodybuilders who have taken steroids at some point in their lives.
Dare you risk messing with your mane? Anecdotal evidence is probably all you need to be wary of hair loss, but if you ain’t adverse to a bit of data, various studies (such as this one, published at Science Daily) have established hair loss as a side-effect of steroid use. Numerous factors play a potential role in hair loss, some of which have nothing to do with drug abuse, but steroids up your chances in the baldness lottery. Some men are particularly sensitive to testosterone, and if they are already prone to male-pattern baldness, the process can be accelerated by the increased hormonal imbalance created by steroids.
Heart And Liver Damage
Studies have found that anabolic steroid use causes decreased levels of HDL (or “good” cholesterol) and increased levels of LDL (or “bad” cholesterol), increasing the risk of heart attack. High levels of liver toxicity have also been found in juicers, which means a very significant risk of serious liver damage. Although it’s tragic, there is an irony here: health-conscious men damaging their bodies in pursuit of an unattainable perfect physique.
Of all the side effects of steroid use, this is the most famous. Long-term reliance on performance-enhancing drugs has been linked to aggressive and violent behavior colloquially known as “roid rage.” This study conducted by Dartmouth college highlights the effects steroids can have on your brain, including mood swings, paranoia and anxiety. Other research has linked steroid use to poor mental health later in life. Steroids have also been (less conclusively) linked to increases in a persons likelihood to commit both homicide and suicide. Either way: play it safe and stick to spinach.