I’ve started working out but want to build muscle faster. A friend suggested I use anabolic steroids, but I’m nervous about taking them. What are the risks?
While anabolic steroids can, when combined with regular exercise, help to build up muscle, there are serious health risks associated with their use, including damage to the heart, liver and kidneys. Injecting steroids can damage veins, while sharing needles or syringes places users at risk of infection from HIV and hepatitis. Young people taking steroids may find their growth rate adversely affected.
In women, steroids have a masculinising effect and can cause growth of facial and body hair, baldness, a deepening voice, shrinking breasts, enlargement of the clitoris, and disruption of the menstrual cycle.
For men the risks include erection problems, breast growth, shrinking testicles, reduction in sperm levels and possible sterility.
Most anabolic steroids are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the body that regulates the use of drugs in sport.
Anabolic steroids are Class C drugs, which means that they can only be sold by a pharmacist with a doctor’s prescription. Possession without prescription isn’t illegal, but supplying steroids (even for free) carries penalties including imprisonment.
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