Steroid Dangers

As a teenager, so many of your decisions will have a greater effect on your health. One big decision is steroid use. Whether you’re playing a varsity sport or just trying to gain muscle, you may think taking steroids is a quick way to get ahead. However, the dangers of steroids far outweigh anything you may think to be a benefit.

Risks for your Body

Anabolic steroids are a synthetic version of the male sex-hormone testosterone. By taking this steroid, you’re altering your body’s natural state. This can cause:

  • Very bad acne
  • Baldness
  • Stunted growth
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood clots
  • Liver damage
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramping
  • Nausea that can lead to vomiting or diarrhea
  • Problems sleeping
  • Risk of ligament or tendon injuries

You may have heard of methods such as mega-dosing, pyramiding or stacking—this is not by any means safer. You may believe you can avoid negative drug tests through these methods—you cannot. You may think the side effects won’t last—many of them will.

For guys specifically, steroid use causes your body to produce less testosterone naturally, which can cause testicle shrinkage, lower sperm count, erection issues, breast and nipple growth, and an enlarged prostate.

For girls specifically, steroids can cause breast shrinkage, more facial hair, voice deepening, menstrual issues and clitoris enlargement.

Risks for your Mind

Beyond the effects on your body, steroids can cause emotional issues as well. You may have heard of “roid rage,” when people on the drug are more aggressive or violent. Steroids can also cause mood swings, paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, depression and plenty of other issues.

Other Dangers

Beyond everything that has been mentioned, if you’re injecting steroids or sharing needles, you’re also at serious risk for other infections such as hepatitis or HIV, which causes AIDS. Many organizations also drug test, and one negative test could destroy your athletic career forever.

These dangers and risks are serious and can greatly affect your future. If you want to train seriously or pursue a sport, it’s important you treat your body well. Eating healthy, getting rest, and working out responsibly are the only true methods to obtain and maintain a fit body.

If you have questions about steroids or are worried about a friend who may be using, speak with your UPMC Children's Community Pediatrics doctor.