Oral steroids side effects
Oral steroids are synthetic versions of the hormone testosterone that are often used by bodybuilders and athletes to enhance muscle growth, strength, and performance. While these drugs can have some positive effects, they can also cause a range of side effects, especially when used in high doses or for long periods.
Some of oral steroids side effects in bodybuilding include:
- Liver damage: Oral steroids are processed by the liver, which can lead to liver damage over time. This can include liver cancer, as the liver may become overloaded with the drugs.
Oral steroids are processed by the liver, which means that the liver must work harder to break down and eliminate these drugs from the body. Over time, this increased workload can cause damage to the liver, which can range from mild to severe.
Mild liver damage may not cause any noticeable symptoms, but severe liver damage can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
Long-term use of oral steroids can also increase the risk of liver cancer, as the liver may become overloaded with the drugs and other toxins. Additionally, some oral steroids are more toxic to the liver than others, so the risk of liver damage can vary depending on the specific drug being used.
- Cardiovascular problems: among other oral steroids side effects taking it can increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. These drugs can also cause the heart to enlarge, which can lead to heart failure.
Cardiovascular problems refer to a range of health issues related to the heart and blood vessels. Oral steroids can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems in several ways, including:
- Increased blood pressure: Oral steroids can cause a rise in blood pressure, which can put extra strain on the heart and blood vessels. Over time, this can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
- Elevated cholesterol levels: Oral steroids can cause an increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and a decrease in HDL (good) cholesterol levels. This can lead to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Enlargement of the heart: Oral steroids can cause the heart muscle to thicken and enlarge, a condition called left ventricular hypertrophy. This can impair the heart's ability to pump blood effectively, increasing the risk of heart failure.
- Increased risk of blood clots: Oral steroids can increase the risk of blood clots, which can cause blockages in the arteries and lead to heart attack or stroke.
- Mood changes: Steroids can affect mood and cause irritability, aggression, and even depression. This is because the drugs can affect the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
Mood changes are a potential oral steroids side effects, and can include a range of emotional and psychological symptoms. The exact mechanisms by which oral steroids affect mood are not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to the drugs' effects on the brain and neurotransmitters.
Some of the mood changes that may occur with oral steroid use include:
- Irritability: Oral steroids can make individuals more prone to irritability, leading to a shorter fuse and increased frustration and anger.
- Aggression: Oral steroids can increase aggressive behavior, leading to verbal or physical confrontations with others.
- Depression: Oral steroids can trigger feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair. Some individuals may experience more severe forms of depression, including suicidal thoughts or actions.
- Mania: Oral steroids can trigger episodes of mania, characterized by feelings of extreme euphoria, high energy levels, and a decreased need for sleep.
- Anxiety: Oral steroids can cause feelings of nervousness and anxiety, including panic attacks, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety.
- Acne and skin problems: Steroids can cause acne, oily skin, and other skin problems. This is because the drugs can stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin, which can lead to excessive oil production and acne.
Acne and skin problems are a potential side effect of oral steroid use. Steroids can affect the body's production of natural hormones, including androgens, which can stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin and lead to an overproduction of oil. This can clog pores and lead to the formation of acne.
Some of the skin problems that may occur with oral steroid use include:
- Acne: Oral steroids can trigger or exacerbate acne, particularly on the face, chest, and back. This can range from mild to severe and may require medical treatment.
- Rosacea: Oral steroids can worsen symptoms of rosacea, a chronic skin condition characterized by redness, flushing, and pimple-like bumps on the face.
- Skin thinning and fragility: Oral steroids can cause the skin to become thin and fragile, making it more prone to tears, bruises, and other injuries.
- Stretch marks: Oral steroids can cause the skin to lose its elasticity, leading to the formation of stretch marks, particularly on the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks.
- Hair loss: Steroids can cause hair loss or baldness in both men and women. This is because the drugs can cause the hair follicles to shrink, leading to hair loss.
- Testicular atrophy: Steroids can cause the testicles to shrink, which can lead to infertility and reduced sex drive. This is because the drugs can interfere with the production of testosterone in the body.
- Gynecomastia: Steroids can cause the development of breast tissue in men. This is because the drugs can interfere with the balance of hormones in the body, leading to an excess of estrogen.
- Virilization: In women, steroids can cause deepening of the voice, facial hair growth, and other masculine traits. This is because the drugs can cause an excess of testosterone in the body.
- Increased risk of infection: Steroids can suppress the immune system, making users more susceptible to infections. This is because the drugs can interfere with the function of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infections.
It's important to note that the severity and frequency of these side effects can vary depending on factors such as the dose, duration of use, and individual response. It's always best to consult with a healthcare professional before using oral steroids or any other performance-enhancing drugs.