Steroids are man-made substances that are basically artificial male sex hormones. They are sometimes referred to as anabolic-androgenic steroids which means the steroids have varying levels of two different types of characteristics. The anabolic characteristics of steroids refer to muscle-building traits and the androgenic characteristics of steroids refer to the increase of masculine traits.
It is thought that performance enhancers of sorts were used as far back as the Olympic Games in ancient Greece in the form of all meat diets. Modern use and research of steroids goes back to the mid-1800s when scientists were finally able to isolate testosterone. It was then that they discovered that it was responsible for masculine characteristics. In the mid-1900s when steroids were first used in athletics at the World Weightlifting Championships in Austria by the Soviet team. After that, production and research of steroids began around the world and athletes began using them to increase strength, appearance and performance. Additionally, around this time, the medical community began using steroids to help treat various symptoms including childhood illnesses.
Steroids have many side effects that range from life threatening to simply annoying or undesirable. These side effects of steroids include liver and kidney damage and increased cholesterol levels. Improper use of steroids can also cause impotence, acne, infertility and baldness in men. Women who use steroids might experience growth of facial and other body hair, a cessation of the menstrual cycle and deepened voice.
Steroids often make headlines due to the abuse or alleged abuse by athletes, but they do have some legitimate uses. Steroids are used as medical treatments for various symptoms including lung disorders and chronic wasting. People can also use steroids to help build lean muscle mass and increase muscle bulk.
Athletes and body builders often use steroids to help improve their performance and appearance. Steroids used for these purposes are often taken in cycles and are somewhat complicated to find the right combination and dosage to get the desired results with the least possible side effects.