|Anabolic steroids can cause a myriad of side effects in those who use them and these side effects can be especially damaging to teens.
There are generally two schools of though when it comes to the use of steroids – the opinions of some fitness gurus and the writers, readers and followers of the so-called “muscle magazines” as opposed to those who believe that using anabolic steroids is a dangerous practice.
It is common for teens to feel invincible and to carry the attitude that “it can’t happen to me” which is why many teens who want to use steroids will take the word of the people advocating steroid use. The hard truth, however, is that regardless of what they read or believe and regardless of how steroids affect adult males as reported in these magazines, anabolic steroids and teens do not mix.
Teens often look at the side effects of steroids that are “positive effects” in their eyes.
These effects include the muscle building potential as well as the increase in male gender traits such as deepened voices.
One of the main reasons why teens and steroids don’t mix, however, is that the use of anabolic steroids in teens can affect growth. Teenagers, especially male teenagers, are not yet fully grown. Their body is programmed to continue growing until the levels of testosterone in the body reach a certain level. When this happens, the growth plates experience premature ossification – in simple terms, they stopped growing the teen will experience stunted growth.
There are other side effects that anyone regardless of age or gender may experience with the use and abuse of anabolic steroids. These side effects include sterility (sometimes it’s just temporary, but extensive use can make it more permanent), aggressiveness, acne, injury to the connective tissues, damaged liver and negatively altered cholesterol levels. Additionally, teens that use steroid injections increase the risk of transmitting or contracting diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.
There are also gender specific side effects.
Males can experience increased breast tissue (called gynocomastia) that may be permanent and premature baldness. Females can experience the appearance of masculine characteristics (called virilization) including a deepened voice, increased body hair and male pattern baldness.
Additionally, it is possible with some observation to tell is someone might be using anabolic steroids. Often times, people who start using steroids will experience one or more of the following: rapid weight gain, a change in attitude (to the negative), a yellowing of the skin, swelling in the feet and legs, shakes and tremors, body odor and acne breakouts.
While adults who choose to use steroids might be able to find ways to counteract some of the negative side effects, the big one is that they are fully grown and won’t experience stunted growth as a result. Teenagers who choose to use steroids are setting themselves up for a slew of health problems throughout their lives and should look for viable, healthy alternatives to using steroids.