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It’s important to understand the potential side effects of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) before using them.
Whether you’re using them for hitting home runs, winning a cycling race, or for bodybuilding, PEDs cover a wide range of drugs that can give humans an edge for physical performance.
In doing so, these drugs may adversely affect your health.
It’s important to note that they may not all occur to you, and that they will vary depending on which drug you choose and how you take it.
Because everyone’s genetic make up varies, there is also potential for a varied impact on your body.
Some of the side effects that we will go over are:
Gynecomastia (development of breast tissue)
Increased rate of cardiovascular diseases
Knowing what to look out for based on credible research will allow you to make the best decisions when it comes to using PEDs.
Overview of Side Effects of Performance Enhancing Drugs
Undesirable outcomes that affect your appearance and health may make you put on the brakes before you take PEDs.
First, there’s a risk of weight gain. This is fundamentally caused by hormonal changes, and exacerbated by extreme increases in appetite.
Steroids can also cause water weight, leading to a bloated, puffy appearance.
Anabolic steroids can create excess estrogen in men, which can cause the development of enlarged breast tissue in males resembling female breasts.
Likewise, steroids can cause virilization in women which is characterized by a deepening of the voice and excessive hair growth on the body and face.
And those are just the non-fatal consequences of performance enhancing drugs.
Cardiovascular damage, a suppressed immune system, and liver disease can go take you outside the realm of simply “aggravating” to potentially deadly.
While taking PEDs can improve your physical performance, they also come with their side effects.
As well, not all PEDs work the same way; steroids work different than HGH (Human Growth Hormone), which works different than diuretics etc.
One of the main side effects across the board is hormone production.
Because your body tightly controls hormones like testosterone (classified as an androgen), an increase of ingested hormone based substances (i.e. anabolic steroids) will diminish your body’s natural production.
However, studies throughout the vast history of research in this area have concluded that the normal hormone production resumes as the anabolic steroid is removed from the system (either through metabolism or excretion).
A similar trend to testosterone can be seen in the context of lipoproteins.
You have probably heard of them being labeled as HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol).
During steroid use, the HDL levels decrease and LDL increases. Once again, as the steroid is removed from your system, these lipoproteins return to their normal ranges.
Gynocomastia, also known as the development of male breast tissue, is a side effect that many users of PEDs fear.
The reason for gynocomastia once again has to do with hormone imbalance.
The human body naturally has hormone transformation capabilities when a particular hormone is present in excess (i.e. converting testosterone into estrogen).
The great thing is that development of tissue of any kind is a long term process that may take many days.
During this time, users of PEDs get an itching/tingling feeling in the nipples and/or pain in the nipples.
If this occurs to you, its time to stop using the drug and allow your body to naturally remove the remnants of the drug.
As well, many athletes have found success using anti-estrogen agents.
Development of Acne
Acne production on the skin is a common side effect of taking PEDs.
The reason for this can be traced back to excess testosterone in the system.
This promotes activity of particular glands on your skin that are responsible for keeping it moist.
These glands end up working more than normal due to the excess testosterone, which leads to more oily skin that can cause more clogging in your pores.
To combat this effect, be sure to cleanse your skin regularly and/or use topical anti-androgen agents.
Roid rage is something that is apparent in our media as a critical side effect of PEDs even though less than 5% of users experience this.
The studies specifically researching this effect are controversial and inconclusive. Part of the issue is that these psychological changes are hard to quantitatively measure.
While a few users may experience this side effect, there just isn’t enough evidence to substantiate either side of the argument.
Some users of PEDs experience balding of their scalp.
However, balding is largely determined by an individual’s genetic predisposition for male pattern baldness.
Commonly, doctors can prescribe Finesteride for individuals who do not want to lose their hair.
Regardless, hair loss is not a real health issue and does not really pose any health risks (according to current research).
With regards to the elevated risk of cardiovascular diseases, it is also a product of the type of weightlifting you do.
Many hypertrophic workouts can cause a slight enlargement of the ventricles (the chambers of the heart responsible for pumping blood throughout the body).
This can cause an increase in blood pressure, however, if you can ensure that your blood pressure does not increase beyond 140/90 (diastolic/systolic), you will still not be in the high risk cohort.
The use of performance enhancing drugs has been debated since their creation and their side effects have been researched ad nauseam.
Nevertheless, they have clear effects on your physical performance and are extensively used for bodybuilding purposes.
Moreover, please understand that this list is not a full list, but rather describes many common side effects.
If you experience an effect that is not normal, please seek medical attention. There can be many side effects of performance enhancing drugs, but one brand of similar products exist called CrazyBulk, which have no side effects.
This line of steroids are 100% legal and pharmaceutical grade products that will help you reach your fitness goals without having to worry about the potential of side effects of performance enhancing drugs.
For whatever competition you are training for, CrazyBulk has the right product for you, including alternatives to HGH, Dianabol, and Clenbuterol!