How To Mon­i­tor Ana­bol­ic Steroids Side Effects? Ana­bol­ic steroids, also known as ana­bol­ic-andro­genic steroids (AAS), are syn­thet­ic hor­mones that mim­ic male sex hor­mones to aid in the growth and repair of mus­cle tis­sue. They were devel­oped in the 1930s and have been used to treat var­i­ous med­ical con­di­tions and as per­for­mance enhancers. Today, only a licensed physi­cian can pre­scribe ana­bol­ic steroids for cer­tain con­di­tions, such as delayed puber­ty in males and mus­cle loss caused by HIV or can­cer. How­ev­er, many peo­ple con­tin­ue to use them for enhance­ment due to their effects of increas­ing mus­cle mass, anti-aging treat­ments and decreas­ing fat. Body­builders and non-pro­fes­sion­al ath­letes still use ana­bol­ic steroids to improve their phys­i­cal per­for­mance and well-being and gain a com­pet­i­tive advantage. Ana­bol­ic steroids are classed as per­for­mance and image-enhanc­ing drugs (PIEDs) and, there­fore, banned by most pro­fes­sion­al sports organ­i­sa­tions. Ath­letes risk a life­time ban from com­pet­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ly if caught using Ana­bol­ic steroids, which can be test­ed in a rou­tine blood test.

Serious Side Effects Can Occur When Taking Anabolic Steroids

Unless they are need­ed for a med­ical con­di­tion, it is not rec­om­mend­ed to take ana­bol­ic steroids. If you decide to use them, do so as safe­ly as pos­si­ble and do so under med­ical super­vi­sion. Review­ing your blood work reg­u­lar­ly with a sports hor­mone check will help keep adverse side effects at a minimum.

How Do Steroids Work?

As ana­bol­ic steroids mim­ic Testos­terone, they cause a cas­cade of ana­bol­ic and andro­genic reac­tions when the hor­mone enters the body. Testos­terone’s ana­bol­ic effect is respon­si­ble for mus­cle growth and repair after train­ing and lift­ing heavy weights. Testos­terone stim­u­lates the body to form new mus­cle fibres, and tak­ing ana­bol­ic steroids speeds up the recov­ery phase, allow­ing users to train longer and more frequently. Ana­bol­ic steroids inhib­it the break­down of mus­cle tis­sue caused by the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol, which is released dur­ing intense exer­cise. Fur­ther­more, ana­bol­ic steroids increase Insulin-like Growth Fac­tor 1 (IGF‑1), which affects car­ti­lage, skele­tal mus­cle and bones. Testos­terone also has an andro­genic effect where it main­tains male char­ac­ter­is­tics, such as the penis, tes­ti­cles, facial hair, and mus­cle mass.

What Are the Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids?

Although the ben­e­fits of steroids appeal to users, many severe, long-last­ing, and even life-threat­en­ing side effects may exist. As the steroids are already mim­ic­k­ing the body’s nor­mal hor­mone pro­duc­tion, it is often assumed that it’s safe to use sup­ple­ments with steroids. If a doc­tor pre­scribes your hor­mones, check which sup­ple­ments you can use. How­ev­er, a sub­stan­tial increase in Testos­terone can cause a knock-on effect on oth­er hor­mones, caus­ing an imbal­ance and pos­si­bly more sig­nif­i­cant health issues such as:
  • Dif­fi­cul­ty sleeping 
  • Irri­tabil­i­ty, aggres­sion, mood swings and depression 
  • Flu­id retention 
  • Skin changes, such as acne 
  • Increased libido
  • Sup­pres­sion of your own body’s abil­i­ty to make Testosterone. 
An increase in Testos­terone could lead to an imbal­ance of oestro­gen in men; there­fore, they’re more sus­cep­ti­ble to devel­op­ing such issues as:
  • Reduced sperm count or infertility
  • Tes­ti­cle and penis shrinkage 
  • Erec­tile dysfunction 
  • Gyneco­mas­tia — an enlarge­ment of the male breast tis­sue due to Testos­terone con­vert­ing to Oestra­di­ol (E2)
  • Increase in Male Pat­tern Bald­ness if sus­cep­ti­ble to this condition 
  • Ele­vat­ed red blood cells 
Women who take ana­bol­ic steroids may expe­ri­ence the following:
  • Shrunk­en breasts 
  • Deep­ened voice 
  • Facial hair growth 
  • Irreg­u­lar men­stru­al cycle or loss of periods 
Some oth­er health con­se­quences may not show up for months or years, and dam­age can remain even when steroid use has ceased. Such prob­lems include:
  • Liv­er tox­i­c­i­ty with oral steroids 
  • Impaired Glu­cose tolerance 
  • Blood dis­or­ders
  • Kid­ney issues 
  • Thy­roid dysfunction 
  • Car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease 

How Can A Sports Hormones Check Help?

Tak­ing steroids is a per­son­al choice, although many doc­tors advise against them. But if you choose to take ana­bol­ic steroids, the last thing you want is side effects and fur­ther health issues. For­tu­nate­ly, ear­ly dis­ease onset may appear in spe­cif­ic blood tests before phys­i­cal symp­toms appear. There­fore, we rec­om­mend health screen­ing and blood test­ing with our Sports Hor­mone Checks. Sports hor­mone blood tests con­sist of sev­er­al dif­fer­ent blood tests, including:

- Inflammation

Both high-sen­si­tiv­i­ty C‑Reactive Pro­tein (hsCRP) and cre­a­tine kinase are bio­mark­ers that can sig­nal any car­dio­vas­cu­lar issues. A blood test can show whether these bio­mark­ers are at nor­mal lev­els. Steroid use is linked with increased CRP; when lev­els are con­sis­tent­ly high, you may increase your chances of devel­op­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease. Note that Cre­a­tine Kinase (CK) is a typ­i­cal break­down prod­uct of mus­cle. So these lev­els may be sig­nif­i­cant­ly ele­vat­ed in ath­letes and while training. CRP is use­ful as a mark­er for inflam­ma­tion. How­ev­er, it won’t indi­cate the cause of the inflam­ma­tion but is a crude screen­ing test for heart disease.

- Cholesterol Levels

how to monitor anabolic steroids side effects Cho­les­terol is a fat-like sub­stance that cir­cu­lates with­in the blood after being man­u­fac­tured in the liv­er. High lev­els of LDL (bad cho­les­terol) and a decrease in HDL (good cho­les­terol) in the blood­stream can cause hard­ened arter­ies, increas­ing the risk of heart attacks and heart disease. Tak­ing steroids has been known to inter­fere with cho­les­terol. There­fore, these bio­mark­ers are cer­tain­ly ones to watch.

- Kidney Function Test

High pro­tein intake, increased mus­cle break­down and ana­bol­ic steroid use put extra stress on your kid­neys. High mus­cle mass can also place an addi­tion­al load on your kid­neys. Our sports hor­mone tests will mea­sure your elec­trolyte, min­er­als, and glu­cose levels. Body­builders are gen­er­al­ly not at high­er risk of kid­ney and liv­er dis­ease than the rest of the pop­u­la­tion, but with chron­ic steroid use, these should be monitored.

- Liver Function Test

The liv­er is the body’s main meta­bol­ic organ, and most steroids are bro­ken down here. Steroid users are prone to high­er lev­els of ALT, AST and oth­er enzymes. Usu­al­ly, it is heavy weight train­ing that will ele­vate AST/ALT as these enzymes are released in the blood­stream from mus­cle breakdown. There are oth­er mark­ers that a Dr will take into con­sid­er­a­tion to assess liv­er dam­age, such as GGT. And in late-stage liv­er dis­ease, the body’s abil­i­ty to clot blood may be affect­ed, which will reflect in abnor­mal coag­u­la­tion factors.

- Hormone Profile

An increase in Testos­terone can lead to an imbal­ance of oth­er hor­mones. The body typ­i­cal­ly works in hor­mon­al feed­back loops and tak­ing exter­nal hor­mones, includ­ing Testos­terone, can upset this del­i­cate balance. There­fore, it is cru­cial to under­stand how ana­bol­ic steroids affect your health. Keep­ing track of the fol­low­ing is necessary: 1- Testos­terone, 2- Free Testosterone,  3- Fol­li­cle-stim­u­lat­ing hor­mone (FSH), 4- Lutein­is­ing Hor­mone (LH), 5- and Oestradiol With Testos­terone use, FSH and LH lev­els will be sup­pressed, usu­al­ly at or near zero. Why? A blood test will sig­nal that there is enough Testos­terone and there­fore shut down the nat­ur­al pro­duc­tion of these hormones. FSH/LH may return to nor­mal after ceas­ing steroid use, which may take a few months or more.

- Full Blood Count

how to monitor anabolic steroids side effects A full blood count is incor­po­rat­ed into our sports hor­mone check to give you a broad­er insight into how ana­bol­ic steroids may affect your health. Con­duct­ing a red blood cell count will show your lev­els of hema­t­ocrit and hemo­glo­bin, the key bio­mark­ers in assess­ing the risk of heart attacks or strokes. Testos­terone-induced poly­cythemia can arise when these key bio­mark­ers increase, caus­ing the blood to thick­en, and lead­ing to blood clots.

A Sports Hormone Check Is Integral To Optimal Health If You Use Anabolic Steroids

Our exten­sive tests allow you to track your bio­mark­er lev­els over time and spot any abnor­mal­i­ties that could indi­cate under­ly­ing health issues. You’ll also ben­e­fit from under­stand­ing how your bio­mark­ers relate to your ath­let­ic per­for­mance and iden­ti­fy­ing areas for improvement. If you decide to take sup­ple­men­tal Testos­terone or oth­er Steroids, do so as safe­ly as pos­si­ble to min­imise harm. As help­ful as they are, tests can­not replace a med­ical pro­fes­sion­al’s super­vi­sion. Blood tests should be utilised and fol­lowed up with your doc­tor if any symp­toms or con­cerns arise. We can also advise you through our Dr tele-health ser­vice if you are unsure about the sig­nif­i­cance of the results.

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