Happy Labor Day!
So Stina Lindenblatt asked me: What's the turnaround time for tests to prove illegal steroids were being used? The answer was probably a 1-2 weeks, as it isn't a common test doctors have in their labs. But the subject got me thinking about illegal steroid use.
Anabolic (tissue-building) Androgenic (male growth) steroids are hormones that mimic natural male hormones. People can take them via pills, patches, creams, and injections.
Obvious effects include:
- increase in muscle mass
- lowered voice
- increased red blood cell production
- increased libido
- increased hair growth (chest, limbs, pubic area)
- gynecomastia (breast development--caused by excess testosterone being shuttled into estrogen production)
- low sperm counts (again, due to hormone imbalances) and infertility
- shrinking testicles
- accelerated baldness
- worsened cholesterol
- abnormal buildup of heart muscle, which could lead to arrhythmia and sudden death
- coronary artery disease and heart attacks
- psychiatric effects, such as mania, violence, aggression ('roid rage), depression, suicide
- liver damage (if taking steroid pills)
Steroids are dangerous stuff. If your characters are using steroids, remember some of those less-commonly known effects as well!