What effects do anabolic steroids have in adults? Steroids and Gynecomastia
In males, excess anabolic steroids are metabolized into female sex hormones.(1-4) This leads to growth of the breasts in men, known medically as "gynecomastia" or "man breasts" (2,5,6) While dramatic breast growth does not occur in every case of steroid abuse, it is an irreversible side effect.(4,7) Testosterone is produced by the testes at the rate of 4 to 10 milligrams per day.(8) When a male takes anabolic steroids, the body detects the excess steroids and signals the testes to stop producing them. When they stop producing testosterone, they also stop producing live sperm.(2,9) Long periods of anabolic steroid abuse lead to infertility and reduced testicular size(4,5,10) In adult males, the testes begin to function again within 6 months after steroids are withdrawn.(1,4,11) It is not known whether anabolic steroids have a different effect on testicular function in adolescent males.(12)
1. Knuth UA, Maniera H, Nieschlag E. Anabolic steroids and semen
parameters in bodybuilders. Fertility And Sterility 1989
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performance. American Journal Of Hospital Pharmacy 1989
3. Wilson JD. Androgen abuse by athletes. Endocrine Reviews
4. Johnson MD. Steroids. Adolescent Med 1991 Feb;2(1):79-93.
5. Giannini AJ, Miller N, Kocjan DK. Treating steroid abuse - a
psychiatric perspective. Clinical Pediatrics 1991
6. Council on Scientific Affairs. Drug abuse in athletes. J
Am Med Assoc 1988 Mar 18;259(11):1703-5.
7. Huang QF, Gebrewold A, Altura BT, Altura BM. Cocaine-induced
cerebral vascular damage can be ameliorated by Mg2+ in rat
brain. Neurosci Let 1990;109:113-6.
8. Hough DO. Anabolic steroids and ergogenic aids. Am Fam
Physician 1990 Apr;41(4):1157-64.
9. Kibble MW, Ross MB. Adverse effects of anabolic steroids in
athletes. Clinical Pharmacy 1987 Sep;6:686-92.
10. Creagh TM, Rubin A, Evans DJ. Hepatic tumours induced by
anabolic steroids in an athlete. J Clin Pathol 1988;41:441-3.
11. Yesalis CE, Wright JE, Bahrke MS. Epidemiological and policy
issues in the measurement of the long term health effects of
anabolic-androgenic steroids. Sports Medicine 1989
12. Buckley WE, Yesalis CE, Friedl KE, Anderson WA, Streit AL,
Wright JE. Estimated prevalence of anabolic steroid use among
male high school seniors. J Am Med Assoc 1988 Dec
by Trent Tschirgi, R. Ph.
(c) 1992 University of Maryland Office of Substance Abuse Studies.
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