Monday, July 21, 2014

Testosterone Therapy vs Anabolic Steroid Use

There is a lot of confusion between the use of anabolic steroids and bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy. For this reason, many people shy away from testosterone therapy, thinking it's a bad thing. Too many people believe that there is no difference between anabolic steroids and bioidentical testosterone replacement. Yet, although anabolic steroids are related to male sex hormones like testosterone, there are some vital differences.

Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones that are similar in many ways to the androgens, or male sex hormones. Like bioidentical testosterone, the anabolic steroids do promote the growth of skeletal muscle and the secondary male sexual characteristics. Anabolic steroids can be used in productive ways to treat conditions that occur when the body produces abnormally low levels of testosterone. However, bioidentical hormones would actually be a better choice because there are fewer side effects associated with them; those side effects that are possible are less dangerous than those posed by synthetic hormones such as anabolic steroids.

Most people are not as aware of the potential usefulness of anabolic steroids as they are of the potential for abuse. Athletes have been known to use anabolic steroids to develop muscle mass more quickly and become stronger or faster or just plain better at their sport. Of course, the public frowns upon the practice of using anabolic steroids. There are serious and undesirable side effects that can occur as a result of using anabolic steroids to achieve higher levels of athletic performance. For example, abusers can develop liver or kidney tumors, cancer, jaundice, high blood pressure, severe acne, and trembling. Men's testes may shrink and they can develop breasts. In women, anabolic steroid abuse can lead to a growth of facial hair, menstrual changes, and a deepening of the voice. Teens who abuse anabolic steroids may stop growing prematurely and permanently.

Bioidentical testosterone therapy is different from anabolic steroid use or abuse in several ways. First of all, bioidentical hormones are identical in structure and function to the hormones produced by the human body. Synthetic anabolic steroids, in contrast, differ ever-so-slightly from the testosterone produced in the human body. These slight biochemical differences between human testosterone and synthetic androgens are the reason for most of the dangerous side effects associated with the synthetic hormones.

As with most substances, abusing bioidentical testosterone could cause undesirable effects like feminization in men, hair loss and severe acne. Since bioidentical testosterone is typically used to replace testosterone that the body is not producing in adequate quantities either due to disease or old age, it is difficult to abuse. When the body has excess testosterone, it converts it into estrogen and DHT, causing feminizing effects in men. Replacement therapies simply replace missing testosterone; anabolic steroids, however, add more testosterone to the body than it needs, generating some nasty side effects.

Men who are considering bioidentical hormone therapy need to understand that anabolic steroids and bioidentical testosterone are not the same. Bioidentical doctors monitor liver function and lipid levels in men who are using bioidentical testosterone to replace what they are missing. Side effects of this type of therapy do exist, but they are less common than those experienced by men who use anabolic steroids. Bioidentical testosterone can have some important health benefits for aging men. Talking with a bioidentical hormone doctor can help clear up any fears and misunderstandings and help you understand how bioidentical testosterone can improve your overall health as you grow older.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Positive Effects of Steroids

Steroids have got a pretty bad rep and perhaps fairly so; they enlarge the heart, mess up our hormones and cause acne and mood disorders. However people continue to use it so there must be some positive effects of steroids. A reasoned approach then should look at both the pros and cons of these controversial substances and come to a decision that way as to whether they should be used.

Before we can appreciate the positive effects of steroids we need to understand how they work. Essentially then, steroids are either natural of synthetic compounds that help regulate various bodily functions. When we refer to steroids however we generally are referring to anabolic steroids. These are synthetic compounds that mimic the effects of anabolic and androgenic hormones such as testosterone and are known by many names including ‘juice’ and ‘roids’ and someone who is using steroids can so be said to be ‘juicing’. Anabolic steroids can be taken orally as a pill or powder or commonly via an injection which has certain advantages for the user. This makes marks along an individual’s forearms a good indicator that they may be using steroids.

This in turn means that the user will experience the effects of testosterone to a higher degree which accounts for both the positive effects of steroids and the negative. Among other things the positive effects of steroids include increased muscle mass, tissue repair, endurance and fat loss. Someone who is using steroids will find that they experience greatly exaggerated benefits from their workouts and can inches on their biceps quickly. Additionally, ‘site location’ can be used to inject the steroid directly into the particular muscle that the individual wants enlarged, allowing them to pick and choose their muscle distribution and aid in lagging muscles.

Someone who is on steroids will experience increased physical performance in all sports and athletic pursuits and will also appear more physically imposing – these being the main positive effects of steroids and the reason that many athletes and civilians use them. Used in small amounts steroids may also have certain health benefits and can be used to prevent swelling of organs such as the kidneys as well as muscle wasting diseases such as muscular dystrophy. Steroids and other steroid like substances may also be used to improve bone density meaning they could help with conditions such as osteoporosis.

There are also other positive effects of steroids however that are more side effects rather than main effects, and others that some people might find to be beneficial while others would not. As testosterone is the ‘male’ hormone, it can help with many traits generally associated with ‘maleness’. This may be useful for someone who feels they are overly feminine or would like to be more imposing.

For example, steroids can increase facial and pubic hair, it can deepen the voice and it can improve drive, ambition and focus. Those considered ‘alpha’ males are those who have large amounts of testosterone and so supplementing with anabolic steroids will help you to develop some of these traits. Those who feel their voice is small and week, or are overly baby faced can feel embarrassment and experience social withdrawal as a result. For these reasons these can be considered positive effects of steroids. On the other hand, for women, or men who already produce a lot of testosterone naturally they may be considered to be some of the negative effects of steroids.

One other area that can be positively effected by steroids is sex drive, and one of the most… potentially enjoyable… positive effects of steroids is increased arousal and sexual performance. This obviously has a lot of appeal for those with a reduced sex drive or those who are getting older, though it can also be distracting to be aroused at inappropriate times.

So with all those positive effects of steroids, is it worth taking them? Well in order to answer that we need to look at the negative effects of steroids. First of all, to counteract the aesthetic effects of increased facial hair and a booming voice you have acne and greasiness as your testosterone production reaches similar levels to those it achieved at puberty. More seriously though is the potential to grow breasts for men when taking certain forms of anabolic steroid. The reason for this is that the additional testosterone can aromatize into oestrogen – the female hormone – and so give you more feminine features. Not only is that going to ruin any aesthetic effects of steroids, but will also probably ruin the enhanced sexual performance for men too – unless your girlfriend is a lesbian. What will ruin your sex life even more though is the shrunken testicles that can result from steroid use as your body stops produces as much testosterone naturally to compensate for the extra chemicals you’re inserting.

And the additional mental drive and focus? Well these positive effects of steroids are ruined too by the negative effects of steroids have on the brain, including the severe bouts of anger, rage and potentially depression that resulted in the term ‘roid rage’. Some users even report hallucinations, and the headaches and vomiting that can also occur will do little to lighten your mood. On top of this you can also expect to experience premature balding, joint pain, diarrhoea, insomnia and jaundice. At this point few positive benefits of steroids will seem worth it. The real problem with using steroids though is the more serious health risks they carry. These include enlarged organs such as the heart (as the heart is a muscle) which can cause a heart attack along with other circulatory system conditions including blood clots, heart disease or strokes. Furthermore steroids are illegal meaning you’ll get no quality control on what you’re injecting into your system (are you really stupid enough to inject something into your veins that was probably purchased from a back alley?) and you’ll face a serious penalty should you get caught. This will also force you to lie and hide your activities from your friends and family – and probably to cover up the nasty marks you cause in your own arm. So in conclusion the positive effects do not outweigh the negative.

An important additional note is to recognise that the steroids prescribed by doctors for illnesses – corticoids – are separate and distinct from anabolic steroids which share none of their benefits.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Anabolic Steroid Abuse Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Anabolic steroids are drugs such as testosterone or substances that work like testosterone. Doctors prescribe them to treat problems such as delayed puberty and other medical problems that cause the body to make very low amounts of testosterone. Steroids make muscles bigger and bones stronger. They also may cause puberty to start and can help some boys who have a genetic disorder to grow more normally.

Common anabolic steroid medicines include fluoxymesterone (such as Halotestin) and nandrolone (such as Durabolin). In the United States, you need a prescription to get any anabolic steroid. Illegal anabolic steroids are those that people get without a doctor’s prescription.

Some people take legal dietary supplements that have certain steroid hormones also made by the human body. One such drug is dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). The body can turn DHEA into other steroid hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol. People use it to try to make their muscles bigger. Whether such products actually work has not been proved. But if you take them in large amounts, they can cause the same side effects as anabolic steroids.
Why do some people abuse anabolic steroids?

Some adults and teens use illegal anabolic steroids to lower body fat, get bigger muscles, and increase strength. They use the drugs because they are seeking to improve how well they play sports or how they look.

The dose of illegal anabolic steroids is 10 to 100 times higher than the dose a doctor prescribes for medical problems. People often use more than one of these illegal drugs at the same time. This is called stacking. Or they may take the drugs in a cycle from no drug to a high dose over a period of weeks to months. This is called pyramiding.

Anabolic steroids may be taken as a pill, as a shot into a muscle, or as a gel or cream rubbed on the skin.
What problems can abusing anabolic steroids cause?

Anabolic steroids can cause serious side effects. Some of these effects can be permanent.

    In men, anabolic steroids can:
        Reduce sperm count.
        Shrink the testicles.
        Cause you not to be able to father children.
        Enlarge the breasts.
    In women, anabolic steroids can:
        Increase body hair.
        Make skin rough.
        Decrease breast size.
        Enlarge the clitoris.
        Deepen the voice.
    In both men and women, anabolic steroids can cause:
        Bone growth to stop before it is complete in a teen. The teen may not reach his or her full adult height.
        A heart attack or stroke, even in a very young person.
        High blood pressure.
        Higher levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
        Liver disease and possibly liver cancer. The chance of these problems is higher when steroids are taken as a pill.
        Oily skin and acne.
        Male-pattern hair loss.
        Skin infections that can become severe if the drug was tainted with bacteria.
        Irritability, rage, uncontrolled high energy (mania), or false beliefs (delusions).

People who abuse anabolic steroids can have withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking them. Symptoms include having mood swings, being extremely tired, having no desire to eat, and craving steroids.
How is anabolic steroid abuse diagnosed?

A doctor can often spot a person who is abusing anabolic steroids when that person walks through the door. This is because the medicine makes muscles unusually large. Your doctor may also ask questions about your fitness activities and what kinds of dietary supplements and other substances you use. The doctor may do a physical exam and order urine and blood tests.
How is it treated?

Treatment for abuse of anabolic steroids has not been studied much. Doctors usually advise:

    Treatment in a program that includes medicines for withdrawal symptoms and other health problems.
    Treatment in a hospital, if withdrawal symptoms are severe.
    Individual or family counseling.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Effects of Steroids on the Male and Female Reproductive Systems

Anabolic steroids can have adverse effects on the male and female reproductive systems. Females might experience more severe effects when taking testosterone because it is produced in small amounts in the female body, making it a foreign substance for women. Effects of steroids in both sexes vary.

Visible Effects
Some side effects of steroid use will be visible to the naked eye. Men can experience breast growth beyond the muscular buildup of the chest muscles. In addition, the testicles might shrink. Men might also notice changes in hair growth patterns and they might lose hair. Women can might develop excess facial hair or lose hair from their head. In women, the clitoris might become unnaturally large while the breasts may lose some of their natural size. Women's voices often become deeper as a result of steroid use.

Hormonal Changes
Hormonal changes resulting from the use of steroids can affect the steroid user. Men can experience longer erections or a higher frequency of erections yet a decrease in sperm production, resulting in sterility. Men might also find that they are impotent and have a problem urinating. According to Concepts of Chemical Dependency, prostate cancer has been found in rare instances. It is possible for women to interruption of their menstrual cycle from steroid use. In addition, women can develop infertility issues as well. Both sexes might experience changes in sex drive, either an increase in desire or a loss of desire. These hormonal changes in the body can increase the amount of acne on the user as well.

Lasting Effects
Many of the side effects of steroid use are irreversible. The development of reproductive cancers affects steroid users for the rest of their lives. In addition, women might continue to suffer from hair loss. In women, the clitoris might never return to normal size. For men, the enlargement of the breasts can be permanent with only surgical removal returning the breasts to normal size. The longer a person uses steroids, the longer it will take for their side effects to go away.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Benefits of High Testosterone: More Money, More Sex, More Muscle

In today's society, the word testosterone is viewed with a sense of contempt by many people. The mere mention of testosterone can invoke visions of some drooling, 250-pound linebacker with a screaming girl on one arm and a turkey drumstick on the other. Yes, many feminists and poetry-reading males would like us to believe that high test levels are a very bad thing, which I'll discuss more later.

Whipped DudeBut the truth is that many of you could probably care less about what some raging feminist or Buddhist hipster thinks of you. However, here's something that you might actually care about when it comes to high testosterone: a good portion of women like to pretend to have an interest in nice metrosexual guys, who care more about their eyebrow shape than biceps size.

So is this it? Do we as bodybuilders store the weights away, apply a tinted moisturizer, grab some estrogen pills, and start pouring our feelings out to any girl within a mile radius? Absolutely not! This modern-day notion of women always gravitating towards pretty guys with a soft side is as big a myth as your stomach exploding after eating pop rocks and drinking soda. As I'll talk about later, men with higher testosterone levels always get the girl in the end while estrogen-filled guys go home alone and cry into their pillows.

Moving beyond simply picking up women, testosterone is also extremely important for a variety of other reasons. Your good health, longevity, fat burning, survival skills, sexual performance and even financial success all receive a big boost from having higher test levels. I'll cover the testosterone benefits subject more below and also discuss the social/media stigma against test. I'll also cover why the environment is causing rapid estrogen increases in men and what you can do to combat estrogen while increasing testosterone levels.

The Many Benefits of Testosterone

As many of you may already know, testosterone is a steroid hormone that plays a huge role in developing male sexual characteristics. It has anabolic effects such as increasing muscle mass, strength and bone density along with androgenic effects like helping sex organs mature, deepening the voice and promoting body hair growth.

Moving past the Merriam-Webster definition crap, the exciting thing about testosterone is all of the benefits that elevating it can offer you. Some of the perks that you can expect from high test levels include confidence, more happiness, increased energy, improved sexual performance, fewer diseases, a better physique, a strong heart and a sharper mind. Hmm... a lot of these sound like traits that women really like in guys.

About the only thing missing here is money, which, coincidentally, also happens to increase with rising testosterone. Now you might be wondering how in the world can your having more testosterone lead to a bigger bank account? Well, luckily, a 2009 study by the National Academy of Sciences made this connection clearer. Researchers found that men with enhanced testosterone levels were less foolish with their money and more likely to take risks that could lead to big financial rewards. Sure some might see less financial generosity as a bad thing; but people don't become and stay wealthy by buying drinks for everybody in the bar and handing out money to second cousins in order to feel good about themselves.

Another positive by-product of high testosterone is increased survival skills. Having increased muscle mass, more strength and a sharper mind will certainly give you a boost in any life-threatening situation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Anabolic steroids making musclemen infertile

Growing numbers of men are becoming infertile because they take anabolic steroids in their quest for a muscular body, doctors have warned.

Urologists are seeing more and more men whose difficulty in becoming a father is linked to consumption of the muscle-boosting drugs.

Steve Payne, a consultant urologist at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and a council member of the British Association of Urological Surgeons, said: "Many fit young men who believe they are at the peak of physical perfection don't believe it could be their fault when their wives or girlfriends find it difficult to become pregnant.

"They are insulted when it is suggested that they undergo a sperm test, and horrified when the results of those tests show an absence of sperm in the sample."

Such men are then referred to a urologist, and undergo a blood test. If they have been using steroids, they often have what Payne calls deranged levels of sex hormones.

Men who regularly go to the gym should avoid taking steroids to bulk up, Payne added.

Acne, aggression and an unexplained, orangey skin tone akin to a tan are also associated with use of steroids.

Dr Allan Pacey, a senior lecturer in andrology at Sheffield University, warned: "It is a very real risk that men who take anabolic steroids will become infertile. It's almost certain that they [the steroids] will have an effect of some sort on their fertility and, in the worst-case scenario, that sperm production will stop altogether.

"These patients walk through the door looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his younger days. They are having fertility problems, and it suddenly becomes obvious where the problem may lie."

Some men who stop taking steroids never regain their reproductive capacity and for others it takes years for normal sperm production to resume, Pacey added.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Male Infertility Symptoms And Causes

Reproduction (or making a baby) is a simple and natural experience for most couples. However, for some couples it is very difficult to conceive. Male infertility is diagnosed when, after testing of both partners, reproductive problems have been found in the male partner.
How common is male infertility?

Infertility is a widespread problem. For about one in five infertile couples the problem lies solely in the male partner (male infertility).
Are there any signs or symptoms of male infertility?

In most cases, there are no obvious signs of an infertility problem. Intercourse, erections and ejaculation will usually happen without difficulty. The quantity and appearance of the ejaculated semen generally appears normal to the naked eye.
How does the male reproductive system work?

The male reproductive tract is made up of the testes, a system of ducts (tubes) and other glands opening into the ducts.

The testes (testis: singular) are a pair of egg shaped glands that sit in the scrotum next to the base of the penis on the outside of the body.

Each normal testis is 15 to 35ml in volume in adult men. The testes are needed for the male reproductive system to function normally. The testes have two related but separate roles:

    production of sperm
    production of the male sex hormone, testosterone.

What causes male infertility?

Male infertility can be caused by problems that affect sperm production or the sperm transport process. With the results of medical tests, the doctor may be able to find a cause of the problem.

Known causes of male infertility can be:

Sperm production problems: The most common cause of male infertility is due to a problem in the sperm production process in the testes. Low numbers of sperm are made and/or the sperm that are made do not work properly. About two thirds of infertile men have sperm production problems.

Blockage of sperm transport: Blockages (often referred to as obstructions) in the tubes leading sperm away from the testes to the penis can cause a complete lack of sperm in the ejaculated semen.

This is the second most common cause of male infertility and affects about one in every five infertile men, including men who have had a vasectomy but now wish to have more children.

Sperm antibodies: In some men, substances in the semen and/or blood called sperm antibodies can develop which can reduce sperm movement and block egg binding (where the sperm attaches to the egg) as is needed for fertilisation.

About one in every 16 infertile men has sperm antibodies.

Sexual problems: Difficulties with sexual intercourse, such as erection or ejaculation problems, can also stop couples from becoming pregnant. Sexual problems are not a common cause of infertility.

Hormonal problems: Sometimes the pituitary gland does not send the right hormonal messages to the testes. This can cause both low testosterone levels and a failure of the testes to produce sperm.

Hormonal causes are uncommon, and affect less than one in 100 infertile men. Unfortunately, medical scientists do not yet understand all the details of sperm production and the fertilisation process. As a result, for many men with a sperm production problem, the cause cannot be identified.