Steroids and bodybuilding seem to be synonymous these days due to the high use of anabolic steroids by pro and amateur bodybuilders. In fact, steroid use remains high despite the constant introduction of new steroid replacements/supplements. While there are pros to using these substances, there are some things that must be understood before starting a regime.
What You Need to Know
1. Some Steroids Increase Estrogen Levels in Men
Some steroids convert male hormones into estrogen which can lead to water retention and a rise in blood pressure. To put it in more technical terms, androgens (i.e. male hormones) are amortized to estrogen causing estrogen levels to rise. The body therefore retains more water (as indicated by puffiness, feeling bloated, moon face etc.) and this water retention can then lead to an increase in blood pressure.
2. Steroid Use Can Speed up Going Bald
Male bodybuilders who are predisposed to balding are likely to go bald faster from steroid use. In short, anabolic steroids may trigger baldness by bind themselves to the male hormone receptors in the scalp. Luckily, this side effect is only likely to affect men with the genetic markers for male pattern baldness so those not genetically predisposed do not have to worry. It should be noted that females who are genetically predisposed to balding can experience this side effect too.
3. Steroid Habits Can Grow or Shrink the Heart
Believe it or not, non-steroid using individuals may experience heart muscle growth through rigorous exercise (such as aerobics). Steroid users differ in that the more they use and the longer they use, the more potential there is for growth. Negative side effects may not surface unless abuse becomes the norm, but it is best not to take the chance. Additionally, consistent steroid users may experience a decrease in the size of the heart muscles when they stop using. This essentially means that the heart starts to shrink. Again, past use/habits are likely to influence the level of change.
There is still much debate about the extent to which steroid users may experience these and other side effects. However, it is clear that side effects exist and there is a correlation between extent of use (amount plus duration) and probability in many cases. This correlation also exists between extent of use and severity of effects. Therefore, it is critical for bodybuilders to understand possible effects, genetic probabilities and available safeguards before they start using anabolic steroids.