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Medicinal and Anabolic Steroids: What You Need to Know

Rapid changes in the fields of physical activity, sports, and medicine over the past decades have led to an increased interest in medicinal and anabolic steroids. Chemical compounds originally developed for medical purposes have become in demand to increase muscle mass.

However, behind this popularity, there are numerous questions: How do steroids affect the body? What are the medical indications and contraindications for their use? What are the risks associated with their usage?

In this article, we invite you to delve into the world of medicinal and anabolic steroids — from their history and medical applications to the side effects and rules for safe usage.

The History of Cortisone and the Nobel Prize

In the 1930s, John Kendler and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic in the United States conducted research on adrenal hormones. They were interested in substances produced by the adrenal glands that regulate various physiological processes in the body. During their research, they were able to isolate and determine the structure of cortisone, which turned out to be a powerful corticosteroid.

Cortisone proved to be a revolutionary discovery in medicine. It began to be used in the treatment of various inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, due to its ability to suppress the immune system and inflammatory processes in the body.

For his research on cortisone and adrenal hormones, John Kendler was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1950. This recognition underscored the importance of his work and contributed to the development of medical therapy using steroid preparations.

What Are Steroids?

Steroids are a class of organic compounds that include a variety of chemical substances, but the most well-known are anabolic steroids, which are often used in medical practice and sports. Several different classes of medicinal steroids are used in medical practice, including:

  • Corticosteroids: This class includes glucocorticoids, such as cortisol and hydrocortisone. They are widely used to reduce inflammation and control the immune response in various conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, allergies, and others.
  • Mineralocorticoids: Mineralocorticoids, such as aldosterone, regulate the balance of salts and water in the body and control blood pressure.
  • Sex Steroids: This group includes hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, which regulate fertility and the development of sexual characteristics.
  • Vitamin D and Its Analogs: These steroids play a role in regulating calcium and phosphate levels in the body and are essential for bone health and the immune system.
  • Anabolic Steroids: This class includes hormones like testosterone and synthetic analogs used to stimulate muscle and bone growth. However, these steroids can have undesirable side effects and can be potentially dangerous when used without control.
  • Surgical removal of organs: Removing organs such as the gallbladder can alter the processing and elimination of cholesterol.

Each class of medicinal steroids has its unique functions and medical applications depending on the patient’s needs and the nature of the disease.

Cholesterol – Building Material for Steroid Production

The history of steroid research began with cholesterol. Cholesterol, found in the cells of all living organisms, serves as the foundation for the synthesis of steroids. If, for some reason, there is a shortage of cholesterol, you may experience a variety of symptoms. Here is a list of some of the problems that can arise due to a cholesterol deficiency:

  • Decreased libido: Insufficient testosterone in men can lead to a reduced sexual drive and erectile dysfunction.
  • Menstrual disturbances: In women, a lack of estrogen can cause menstrual irregularities, including amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) or irregular cycles.
  • Loss of muscle strength and mass: Testosterone deficiency can lead to muscle mass and strength loss.
  • Symptoms of Addison’s disease: Cortisol deficiency, which is also produced from cholesterol, can cause symptoms characteristic of Addison’s disease, such as weakness, weight loss, decreased appetite, and changes in skin and mucous membranes.
  • Hypotension: Aldosterone deficiency can result in low blood pressure (hypotension) and problems with salt and water regulation in the body.

Who Can Experience a Cholesterol Deficiency?

  • Medication Therapy: Some medications, primarily statins, as well as bile acid sequestrants, can reduce cholesterol levels in the body.
  • High Dietary Cholesterol Intake: Excessive dietary cholesterol from foods high in saturated fats can lead to high blood cholesterol levels and its deposition in blood vessel walls, which can, over time, limit its availability for use in other processes, including steroid hormone synthesis.
  • Genetic Disorders: Rare inherited disorders of cholesterol metabolism, such as hypercholesterolemia or lipoprotein synthesis disorders, can result in high blood cholesterol levels or improper distribution of cholesterol in the body.
  • Liver Diseases: Liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, or fatty liver disease, can disrupt cholesterol processing and its levels in the body.
  • Reduced Dietary Fat Intake: Inadequate dietary fat intake or malabsorption disorders (e.g., malabsorption syndrome) can decrease cholesterol intake in the body.
  • Restricted Diets: Prolonged and strict adherence to diets low in fats and cholesterol can reduce cholesterol levels in the body, including cholesterol necessary for the synthesis of steroid hormones.
  • Surgical organ removal: Removing organs such as the gallbladder can alter the processing and excretion of cholesterol.

Corticosteroids can have the following effects on the body:

If you’ve ever noticed how frequently corticosteroids are prescribed in various fields and how effective they are in relieving people of unpleasant symptoms, you’ll understand why a Nobel Prize was awarded for this discovery. Steroids are used in almost all areas of medicine, here are just a few examples:

  • Reducing inflammation: Corticosteroids can reduce inflammation in organs and tissues. This can be helpful in treating conditions associated with inflammation, such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and dermatological issues.
  • Immune system suppression: Corticosteroids can suppress the activity of the immune system. This can be useful in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, where the immune system attacks its own cells and tissues.
  • Reducing allergic reactions: Corticosteroids can help reduce allergic reactions, such as asthma and allergic rhinitis.
  • Pain management: Sometimes, corticosteroids are used to alleviate pain associated with inflammatory conditions.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that steroid medications can have varying potencies, which result in different effects on the body. The use of low-potency medications, such as inhalers and topical steroid creams, when used for more extended periods, is generally associated with a lower risk of problems compared to oral medications and injections. If you are prescribed such therapy, it is always recommended to discuss the level of risk and potential side effects with your doctor. When considering supplements like semenax supplements, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance. For additional information, if you aim to capture the audience’s attention with entertaining content, check out the cam dude.

Steroid Medications and Safety

The initial impression of steroids was unequivocal: they were seen as a wonder drug for many diseases. However, the understanding that steroids are not as safe as they may initially appear has evolved as research and clinical observation of their use has deepened. Here are several key points that contributed to the awareness of the side effects and risks associated with steroids:

  • Side Effects: The first observations of the side effects of anabolic steroids emerged in the early 1950s when athletes and bodybuilders began using them extensively to increase muscle mass and performance. Side effects included issues such as hypertension, aggressive behaviour, changes in the cardiovascular system, and psychological disorders.
  • Medical Research: With the growing interest in steroids, more in-depth medical research was conducted, revealing a wide range of potential side effects. This included problems with the liver, kidneys, and heart, and the threat of developing atherosclerosis and even cancer.
  • Clinical Observations: Clinical cases and observations of patients receiving steroid therapy for various medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, connective tissue diseases, and autoimmune disorders, also identified several serious side effects associated with long-term steroid use.
  • Sports Ban: The ban on the use of anabolic steroids in sports highlighted their potential negative consequences. Anti-doping organizations and international sports federations implemented strict anti-doping policies and controls to prevent the illegal use of steroids in sports.
  • Legislation: Many countries have enacted legislation prohibiting the unauthorized distribution and use of anabolic steroids without a medical prescription. This reflects the recognition of the potential danger of these drugs.

Steroid’s Side Effects

As a result of all these factors, it became clear that steroids have serious side effects and risks, especially with prolonged and uncontrolled use. This led to strict regulation and control of their distribution and use in medicine and sports.

During long courses of medical corticosteroids or when abusing anabolic steroids, various side effects may occur, which may be less common with shorter courses of medical corticosteroid use. Here is a list of some of these effects:

Short Courses of Medical Steroids (Approximately a Month of Continuous Use):

During short courses of medical corticosteroids, the health risks are generally significantly lower than with long-term and prolonged use. However, even during short courses, some side effects may occur, including:

  • Increased Blood Pressure: In some patients, short courses of corticosteroids may lead to temporary elevation in blood pressure.
  • Metabolic Disturbances: This can include a temporary increase in blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), which may require monitoring in patients with diabetes.
  • Mood Changes: Some individuals may notice mood changes, agitation, or insomnia while taking corticosteroids.
  • Increased Appetite: Corticosteroids can lead to increased appetite, which may result in weight gain.
  • Moon Face: This side effect, characterized by facial swelling and shape changes, is more likely with prolonged treatment but can occasionally occur with short-term use.
  • Possible Immune Suppression: Even short courses of corticosteroids can temporarily suppress the immune system, increasing the risk of infections.
  • Individual Sensitivity: Side effects may vary depending on an individual’s sensitivity to the medication.

During Long Courses of Medical Corticosteroids (Over a Month of Continuous Use):

  • Osteoporosis: Prolonged corticosteroid use can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, leading to weakened bones and a higher risk of fractures.
  • Adrenal Suppression: Long-term corticosteroid use can suppress the normal function of the adrenal glands, resulting in problems with the production of natural corticosteroids.
  • Cushing’s Syndrome: This condition is characterized by excessive exposure to corticosteroids, leading to symptoms such as facial fullness, body fat changes, and others.
  • Diabetes: Long-term corticosteroid use can cause insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar levels, potentially leading to the development of diabetes.
  • Immune Suppression: Corticosteroids can suppress the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to infections and slowing the healing process.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Long-term corticosteroid use may increase the risk of ulcers, gastritis, and other gastrointestinal problems.
  • Psychological and Emotional Issues: Some people using corticosteroids may experience mood changes, insomnia, and other psychological symptoms.
  • Eye Problems: Prolonged use of corticosteroid eye drops can lead to the development of cataracts or glaucoma.
  • Skin Issues: This can include the development of “steroid dependency,” where the skin becomes thinner and more susceptible to irritation.
  • Growth suppression in children: Children taking corticosteroids may experience slowed growth.

In cases of Anabolic Steroid Abuse (Anabolics):

  • Cardiovascular Problems: Anabolic steroids can increase the risk of heart diseases, including hypertension and atherosclerosis.
  • Psychological Effects: Abuse of anabolic steroids can lead to psychological issues such as aggression, anxiety, and depression.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Anabolics can suppress the normal production of sex hormones, causing disruptions in the reproductive system.
  • Liver Problems: Abuse of anabolic steroids may lead to liver problems, including fatty liver and hepatitis. If alcohol is consumed concurrently, the impact of anabolic steroids on the liver is significantly intensified.
  • Changes in Appearance, skin health: This can include acne, gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue in males), and testicular atrophy.
  • Dependence: Abuse of anabolic steroids can lead to physical and psychological dependence on these substances.
  • Testicular Shrinkage: In males, this can lead to a reduction in sperm production and infertility.


Self-administering steroid medications to increase muscle mass without a prescription from healthcare professionals is never justified and carries significant health risks.

Steroid medications are indispensable in modern medicine and can save lives when no other treatments are effective. However, it is essential to remember that these drugs are far from benign. If it is possible to manage a condition without steroid medications, it is advisable to explore alternative options. The use of medical steroids is just one of many therapeutic choices available in modern medicine. Therefore, it is important to discuss all the benefits and potential complications with your healthcare provider, weigh the risks, consider the availability of safer alternatives, and make an informed decision that best reflects your individual needs and preferences.