Anabolic-androgenic steroids are sex hormones that are produced chemically. They work in two ways. First, they build up muscle and other tissues in the body, and they provide male maturation and lower testosterone production in the testes.

Anabolic-androgenic steroids are sex hormones that are produced chemically. They stimulate muscles and various tissues in the body.

Anabolic-androgenic steroids, AAS, began to be used as a drug in the 1930s. For many years, the use of AAS has been primarily linked to the sports world, but today is perceived more as a wider societal problem related to physique and exercise at the gym. Today, the number of drug users is greater outside the sport.

The vast majority who abuse anabolic steroids are men in their 20-30s. The prevalence is greater among exercise at the gym than in the general population. Several surveys from different cities many countries show that about five percent of men who exercise at the gym have used AAS at one time or more regularly, compared to a maximum of one percent of the male population in general. The proportion of women who have used AAS is much lower.

AAS works in two ways. They are anabolic which means that they build up muscles and other tissues in the body. They are androgenic, which means that they produce male sexual maturity and lower the body’s own production of testosterone in the testicles. AAS is used in the context of doping in order to be able to train more intensively and to achieve quick results.

Important to know

  • Those who use anabolic-androgenic steroids expose themselves and others to great risks.
  • It is illegal to buy, hold, manufacture, sell, transfer or introduce AAS in the country.
  • It is also forbidden to have AAS in the body.

Symptoms of abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids

It may be difficult to detect if someone is abusing AAS, but there are several signs that indicate abuse. If several of these changes are noticed in a person, you can suspect abuse:

  • rapid weight gain in a short time
  • the mammary glands become larger
  • the person seems plump and swollen
  • problem with acne
  • increased beard growth and hair on the body
  • ruptures of the skin 
  • changed sex drive. Initially, the desire for sex can increase and then decrease during the addiction and eventually cause potency problems. A psychological effect of potency problems can be jealous
  • severe mood swings, a person may oscillate between exhilaration and depression or suddenly become provocatively aggressive or irritated
  • problems with sleep – you turn around the clock, have trouble sleeping and are constantly tired 
  • excessive body fixation and an excessive interest in exercise, nutrition, and pills
  • messing with tablets, syringes, and ampoules
  • great interest in literature and sites that glorify bodybuilding.

Specifically for women

  • the voice becomes darker and coarser
  • smaller breasts and male body shapes
  • clitoris is growing
  • menstruation ceases.

Side effects of AAS

Risk of dying prematurely

Studies show that people who abuse AAS risk dying prematurely. The preparations cause damage to the heart and liver, among other things. The damage can lead to cirrhosis, enlarged heart, atherosclerosis and blood clots. The risk of suicide is great.

Injuries to the psyche and brain

AAS can make a person very easily irritated. There is a link between the abuse of AAS and violent crime. Both the use of the drug alone or in combination with other drugs, such as alcohol or drugs, increase the risk of aggressive actions.

For those who abuse AAS, there is a greater risk of psychosis, which can lead to hallucinations and delusions. The body’s own sex hormone production is limited. Many feel very bad and become depressed after stopping the preparations.

Larger breasts in men

The mammary glands can begin to grow in men after taking AAS. It can hurt the tense breasts and even drop the breast milk from the nipples. Sometimes after stopping the preparation some of the mammary glands go back, but in some cases, surgery is required.

Potential problems and decreased testicles

Potential problems may come sometime after using AAS. The problem comes gradually. When you stop taking the preparations, it can take up to six months for sexual desire and potency to return.

Sperm production decreases when using AAS, and the sperm that is left has poorer quality. Prolonged abuse can make the testicles smaller, a change that does not always disappear when the abuse stops. Other problems are the enlarged prostate gland. Potential problems and infertility can persist.

These problems can have psychological effects, such as jealousy.

Rougher skin and acne

The skin becomes coarser and the sebaceous glands are stimulated by AAS, which often causes problems with unclean skin and acne (pimples). Stretch marks of the type that pregnant women get on their stomach are common. They sit at the armpits and back.

Side effects in women

Women taking AAS can get a rougher voice. They can have beard growth on the face, increased hair on the legs, back and arms, and hair loss on the head. It is common for menstruation to be upset and for women’s clitoris to grow. Prolonged abuse can lead to difficulties in having children.

Seek care

You can contact the health center for advice and assistance. They can help you further if needed.

If you have used doping preparations or need help to stop, you can also contact the Doping Reception in Örebro. They receive patients from all over the country. Here you can also call anonymously. You also can contact the Doping Reception in Örebro.

Ehtisham Nadeem

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