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Understanding Anabolic Steroids and the Reproductive System

While there is a big negative light on athletes using performance enhancing substances, the users of many of these has changed. The use of performance enhancing substances is common in arenas where drug testing is not administered. Anabolic steroid is likely the most common and widely used performance aid by professional athletes in private leagues, and more often by bodybuilders.

Anabolic steroid, or AS has an effect on many functions in the body and its side effects are dependent upon dosage, terms of use, method of administration and the individual taking it. It can be taken orally or directly into the bloodstream.  In minimising adverse effects and benefiting the most from AS, the version which is injected to the blood is considered the most effective.

Anabolic steroid is made up of parts of testosterone, and the body treats it as a hormone. Hormones are secreted to control various bodily functions and mechanisms, generally aiming to keep the body in a steady state. By increasing the levels of this testosterone or derivatives of testosterone, the body responds by reducing the production and release of various other hormones. With long-term continuous use of AS, luteinizing hormone, testosterone and follicle stimulation hormone are all decreased.

Depending on the dosage, structure and length of use of anabolic steroid, they can have an effect on concentrations of gonadotropins. This leads to an atrophy of the testes in men, as well as a decrease in sperm cell count. Studies have shown a decrease in fertility in many long time users of AS. Gonadal function does return once dosages of steroid stop, however it may take several months.

Another well known side effect of anabolic steroid use in men is the formation of breasts, also called gynecomastia. This occurs as the increase in testosterone leads to increases in estrogen hormones estradiol and estrone during aromatization and conversion of AS. This is a side effect which is irreversible in men.

Emotions are also influenced by AS. Both sexual desire and aggressiveness appear to increase while using AS, though there is not a lot of academic research to back this up. Another sexual effect of using anabolic steroid is erectile dysfunction. There is a higher prevalence with this combination, for sexually aggressive behaviours to exhibit themselves.

Knowing what one is putting into their body is important. Understanding the processes and long-term consequences within the body should be taken seriously and weighed before deciding to ahead and use them to achieve goals sooner or more easily.

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