Steroids are chemical and synthetic versions of hormones. They are introduced to increase athletic performance, and enhance the body’s response to different types of exercise. Their use is increasing day by day, and their hazards are becoming more evident.
Steroids are being used by athletes, non-athletes alike as a regular supplement to athletic and recreational activity for enhancing its effect. There is no scientific basis for its use, and its harmful effects on health have been extensively researched. However, there is still no accepted limit on its consumption. According to experts, they should be treated as with any other medical or recreational drugs.
Many athletes find that their use of steroids in the first place can lead to complications in various sports events. One of the common reactions to taking steroids is gynecomastia, which is the enlargement of the breast tissue. The use of steroids is also the leading cause of increased levels of testosterone in the body.
Long-term steroid users are said to be at higher risk of prostate cancer. There is a statistical link between testosterone use and several cancers, including testicular cancer. The International Olympic Committee has banned the use of the performance-enhancing drugs during the Summer Olympics. It has set new deadlines for their use to end in all sports.
Other adverse effects of steroid use are organ damage, infertility, cardiovascular and pulmonary problems, sexual dysfunction, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and acne. Amongst the many professional sports, basketball players are the biggest users of steroids. But the effects of steroids on an athlete are not confined to sports. They are also seen in fields such as politics, medicine, accounting, and construction.
Several countries have banned the use of steroids, but some sportsmen continue to abuse them in spite of the serious and severe problems caused by their use. Before the ban on steroids was imposed by the International Olympic Committee, a great number of athletes used them. They now seem to be on the wane in most sporting activities.
In the U.S., the number of deaths related to anabolic steroids has risen sharply in recent years. The figures were revealed in a major report by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration. Although a considerable number of steroid-induced deaths can be attributed to excess use of these drugs, a large number of deaths may be accidental, owing to misuse.
Despite the ban on steroids, some athletes continue to use dangerous steroids, according to the report. The Administration has banned thousands of bottles of steroid supplements, but thousands of companies have made a fresh supply, by adulterating the original compounds. The potency of the various anabolic steroids, especially Testosterone is increasing, so athletes continue to take the pills, instead of plain natural substances.
For athletes to use steroids in sports activities, they need a prescription from a doctor. They must be supervised while they are taking the pills, as it is dangerous to take the drugs without proper prescription. Sometimes, athletes find it easy to obtain their prescription, when their coaches, trainers’ wives or girlfriends know about their intent to take steroids.
Although the Administration has banned the use of steroids in athletics, sportsmen continue to use them, even though they are illegal. Some insist that steroids do not adversely affect the performance of an athlete.
The Mexican National Athletic Commission (CONMEBOL) has banned steroids for international competition, although it cannot enforce it because the law does not allow CONMEBOL to intervene. In several sports, such as football, the rules in favor of steroids are very flexible. Only recently, has the question of steroids been put on the agenda of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).Steroids are illegal, and if taken as a substitute for real substances, they are potentially very serious dangers. The danger of complications and health hazards is much greater than if they were taken in the correct manner. It is a great temptation for a non-athlete to take steroids, but he should be aware of the risks and complications that may result.