Steroids are the synthetic and natural hormones which are structurally same as that of natural hormone with slight difference but are more effective than that. They are synthetic in nature and produced in laboratories. Steroids are basically organic compound which are soluble and consist of four Cycloalkane rings. Each ring is made up of 20 carbon atoms which help to join them together. Three rings contain 6 carbon elements thus, called Cyclohexane rings and the fourth ring contains 5 carbon elements, which is called Cyclopentane ring. For many reasons, Steroids are taken in the form of injections, soluble powders or tablets. Endogenous and exogenous. Endogenous steroids include cholesterol, which is a product of the steroid nucleus. Other examples of steroids include performance boosting hormones called Stanozolol, Oxandrolone and Nandrolone. And the sex hormones called testosterone and estradiol. Dexamethasone, which belongs to the glucocorticoid class, it is also a steroid with anti-inflammatory properties. The classic example of steroid is Vitamin D. some steroids are legal to use and some are not. We often see off-label use of anabolic androgenic steroids increasing day by day. Steroids can be found from plants or even from animal.
Steroids are of two types- Corticosteroids and Anabolic steroids. These both steroids are different in structure as well as in function. Corticosteroids are steroids or hormone which is naturally produced in body and contain hormone which are essential for body growth and development. Basically theses steroids are produced in adrenal cortex which is located above kidney. These are further divide into glucocorticoid ad mineral corticoids which are whole different topic. The steroids which are synthetic and used widely across the globe are Anabolic steroids. These are synthetic hormones and relates to male sex hormone androgen structurally and functionally with a small difference. Anabolic steroids are also known as anabolic androgenic steroids. They help in enhancing protein synthesis and building of muscles. They are largely prescribed drugs for development of muscles and bones .though anabolic steroids can be used by both men and women but they are effective in development of masculine characters more. There are lots of steroids which are legal only on prescription but often off-label use of anabolic androgenic steroids can be seen commonly. These steroids are also used for medical purpose and proven to be effective in treating diseases such as AIDS, cancer, hypogonadism and anemia etc. Anabolic steroids are largely used by athletes and bodybuilders to enhance their performance.
Instead of various beneficial effects, steroids need doctor’s prescription because of its side effects. Steroids posses short term and long term side effects which can get sever if not paid attention.
Short term side effects –they occur when body tries to adjust to the new steroid in the body. They remain no longer than one week and generally are
- Mood swings.
- Restlessness/ agitation.
- Decreased appetite
- Trouble sleeping.
- Decreased sperm count.
Long term side effects– they occur when abuse or overuse of steroids happen. Interaction with other drugs can also results in long term side effects. These side effects are harmful and most of them are irreversible.
- Shrinking of the testicles.
- Excessive hair growth in women.
- Deepening of the voice in women.
- Growth of breast tissue in men.
- Fertility issues.
- Heart problems.
- Elevated blood pressure.
- Rapid mood swings.
- Menstrual irregularities for women.