Gigantic muscles or children?


biggest body builder.JPGIt's a known fact: anabolic steroids cause infertility in males.  I don't know about everyone else, but it's just something I've accepted and haven't really ever wondered why or what the steroids do to cause infertility.  According to Dr. Stanton C. Honig, who is a professor of surgery/urology at the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine and a practicing urologist at Yale Hospital, when a male takes anabolic steroids his testicles are tricked into thinking they don't need to produce testosterone, which in turn leads to an underproduction of sperm.  This happens because when the steroid is injected into the bloodstream, the hormones that help produce sperm in the brain are not activated and do not send signals to the Leydig cells in the testicles, which produce testosterone.  Therefore, the rest of the body has extremely high levels of testosterone, but within the testicles there is very little.

Dr. Mashe Wald, from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, also states that the hormones within the brain and the follicle stimulating hormones are affected by anabolic steroid use.   The Leutinizing Hormone (LH) is the hormone in the brain that is normally supposed to activate the Leydig cells in the testicles and the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is the other hormone that contributes to sperm production in combination with testosterone.  When anabolic steroids are taken all three of these hormones aren't at their proper levels and infertility is the result. 

The explanation of why anabolic steroids cause male infertility seems pretty simple.  To go more in depth I wanted to know what other types of side effects can occur for males that take steroids.  Since steroids boost testosterone levels, the most common side effects occur within the reproductive system.  In addition to infertility, many men experience a dramatic decrease in testicle size.  The actual 'breasts' of men also increase in size, not to be confused with the increase in size of the pectoral muscles.  One of the most common non-reproductive system side effects is the formation of acne and other skin diseases.  The side effects can even be as severe as heart attacks or strokes.  Anabolic steroids also increase blood pressure and the levels of cholesterol. Emotional side effects are also extremely common, such as sever anger issues and men typically get very aggressive due to the increases of testosterone in their bodies. 

Overall, it is very apparent that anabolic steroid use is extremely dangerous for men.  Not only will users be unable to have children, they are causing long term, irreversible effects.  It seems to me that the evidence is pretty indisputable and harmful side effects are inevitable.  With this in mind why do body builders continue to take steroids anyway? Is it possible for body builders to even be competitive without these drugs anymore?  I only looked into side effects for men, but I'd be interested to know what the side effects in women are as well, considering the increase of women body builders in the last decade or so.


**All sources used are in the links within the blog.


Hi, the cited picture of the gigantic muscle man made me interested in your blog at the very beginning. Your blog is interesting. As you mentioning in your blog that "anabolic steroids cause infertility in males". It is because of the side effect of anabolic steroids that when a male takes anabolic steroids his testicles are tricked into thinking they don't need to produce testosterone, which in turn leads to an underproduction of sperm." And when I search this topic on the internet, an article states that the underproduction of the sperm will last from 6 to 12 months after quitting steroid use for the body to start producing its own testosterone again. There's also other side effects of steroids,using steroids long term can lead to ruptured tendons. Heavy users may also develop liver cancer. To reply the question you post at the end of your blog that "How does steroids use affect women?" I found one of the answers that hey can also increase male characteristics in women, producing facial hair, reducing breast size, deepening the voice, and causing irregular menstruation. What's more, people who use steroids often take many times the prescribed dose, which increases the side effects and risks.

I think that for some, lifting weights becomes and addiction like this article describes. Steroids alone don't build muscle, but rather give someone the energy needed to work out longer to then build the desired muscle. For some who are addicted to weight lifting, the purpose for taking steroids may not even be to gain the desired muscle but to have the energy to carry out their addiction for longer per session that they go to the gym and lift. Also, to address your question of why body builders take steroids even knowing the health effects, I think that it could be related to the fact that elevated levels of testosterone increase one's competitiveness. Steroids greatly increase testosterone and therefore make the body builders want to win at all costs, even at the expensive of their health. Perhaps this could all be related and those who become body builders started with an addiction to lifting and then turned to steroids? Or maybe they are more competitive by nature and don't care what negative effects there are, as long as they win?

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