Ask any teenager the effects of steroids, and his main media brainwashing will likely cause him to respond with the three most commonly cited side effects. The first side effect mentioned will likely be liver damage. We all know that injectables do not affect liver function much, and even orals cause increases to levels, which are still typically acceptable. In most healthy males, only long-term abuse of steroids leads to liver damage. The second side effect he’ll recall is acne. While this is unavoidable as skin receptors do react to anabolics, many topical and oral medications exist which can most often alleviate this problem. This third side effect – harder to determine without a very invasive examination – is prostate damage. Do steroids really cause prostate damage?
For decades, scientists have cited prostate enlargement as a side effect of steroid use. The media has run with this claim and declared stereoids cause prostate cancer. In reality, this is not the case. It is correct that the prostate enlarges when androgens are present in the body. DHT or Testosterone inserted into the body will bind to receptors in the prostate, and new growth will occur as a result. However, once the bodybuilder stops the cycle, the prostate returns to regular size.
There are only two periods of life in which the prostate is enlarged. The first occurs during puberty when the body is producing obscene amounts of testosterone. After that, the prostate remains a constant size for the next 25 to 40 years. As men reach their 40’s and 50’s, prostate growth does begin again in all men. For men in this position, Dutasteride or Finasteride can help with prostate size reduction as well.
Therefore the average steroid user in his 20s or 30s will experience an enlargement of the prostate, but it will typically be nothing to become alarmed about. This does present an interesting set of risks for steroid users age 40 and above. Their prostate may begin growing naturally. Coupled with anabolic steroid use, real problems can occur. If you are over age 40 and using steroids, annual prostate exams are essential. Males under the age of 22 should not use steroids. Not only because their prostate may be enlarged, but also because their bodies are already producing levels of testosterone sufficient for muscle growth. Toying with levels at this age can lead to a lifetime requirement of hormone replacement therapy.