Numerous issues involving steroid use by sports athletes are quite common – athletes seem more eager to risk their freedom, employment, and health to gain that “edge.” Such harms aren’t astonishing considering the large financial tokens often offered. The use of steroids is commonly done in private; hence well-outlined studies showing the effects of performance-enhancing drugs on athletes are uncommon. Still, testosterone treatment boosts body size, healing rate, and muscle strength. These benefits; however, are still connected with various long-term and short-term risks.
Increased Muscle Strength
It’s well-branded, both anecdotally and scientifically, that using performance-enhancing drugs boosts muscle strength. One of the recent studies done in 2007 finely illustrates this effect of steroid use. The authors reported that testosterone enanthate – the most usually used and abused form of steroid – increased cycling performance and bench press strength in fit subjects relative to placebo. Older studies had reported that such effects were usually obtained in the span of 6-12 weeks of treatment; still, these authors illustrated that crucial effects are obtained within 3 weeks. These astonishing results prove that steroid use could quickly increase muscle strength.
Increased Body Size
In addition, these authors illustrated that steroid use increases body size. In general, a large amount of research supports that entire end. The authors tested the effects of testosterone enanthate in weight instructors. Essentially, testosterone increased bicep girth, quadriceps circumference, and body weight. This study also proved the increase in abdomen “tightness.” That finding is unusual; still, as most studies don’t illustrate a fat-reducing effect of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Increased Healing Rate
Another reported effect of steroids is their positive impact on the user’s healing rate. One of the current steroid issues involving professional athletes contained repeated references to the use of performance-enhancing drugs for simplifying recovery. Unluckily, only a few studies testing these effects in fit individuals are available. Still, there’s a nice compilation of steroid data in “trauma” subjects including individuals who have experienced severe injuries and burns. For example, one of the recent studies done in 2009 showed that oxandrolone (a synthetic derivative of testosterone) increased muscle strength, restored body weight, and enhanced lean body mass in patients with severe thermal injuries.
Cortisol is the hormone which is secreted by the body to help it handle stress. Besides, cortisol is responsible for causing damage to muscle tissues and slowing down the time for the human body to regenerate. Steroids are known to handle the secretion of this hormone when an individual’s body is stressed. This helps bodies to recover from sustained injuries a lot easier than normal and allows more stamina while exercising.
Steroids Increase Dangers
It’s irresponsible to illustrate the benefits of performance-enhancing drugs without stating the risks connected with their use. A study in 2004 illustrated both the positive and negative side effects of steroid use. The authors noted that testosterone use increases unnecessary libido and aggression as well as disfiguring hair and acne formation. Using steroids also alter the internal hormone milieu before and after their use. Most concerning of all; however, is the adverse cardiac effects of anabolic steroids. Exogenous testosterone increases resting blood pressure and diminishes good cholesterol levels. In addition, performance-enhancing drugs alter the heart’s functions and structures.
Learn more about the anabolic results to balance the pros and cons of steroids!