Steroids are dangerous for two reasons: they are illegal, and they can damage a person's health, especially if used in large doses over time.
Although they may build muscle, steroids can produce very serious side effects in both males and females. Using steroids for a long time can negatively affect the reproductive systems. In males, steroids can reduce the amount of sperm produced in the testicles and even reduce the size of the testicles. Steroids also can cause impotence in males.
Females who use steroids may have problems with their menstrual cycles because steroids can disrupt the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries. This disruption can cause long-term problems with fertility.
Steroids taken for an extended period of time can also:
ÃÂ·Stunt growth in teens by causing the growth plates in the bones to mature too fast and fuse
ÃÂ·Cause irreversible liver damage
ÃÂ·Enlarge the heart muscles
ÃÂ·Cause violent, aggressive mood swings
ÃÂ·Contribute to heart disease and increase cholesterol and lipid levels
ÃÂ·Increase breast growth in males, especially teens
ÃÂ·Create irreversible stretch marks
ÃÂ·Heighten a person's tendency to lose hair
ÃÂ·Cause muscles to ache
In addition to these, teen girls and women risk additional side effects:
ÃÂ·Permanent effects of male hair growth or male-pattern baldness
ÃÂ·Deepening of the voice
ÃÂ·Enlargement of the clitoris
The health problems caused by steroids may not appear for years after the steroids are taken.
The risk of steroids causing bones to fuse early and preventing a teen from reaching full growth potential is significant - and at an all-time high. The National Institutes of Drug Abuse estimates in recent studies that 325,000 teenage boys and 175,000 teenage girls are using steroids.
In addition to the health risks, steroids are illegal. Drug testing for all athletes has become more common, and athletes who fail...