Male pattern baldness, stunted growth and increased facial and body hair aren't what teenage girls are after when they dabble in the world of anabolic steroids. But the common, often irreversible side effects are worth pointing out in light of an Associated Press story last week about an alarming trend: Researchers have found that up to 5 percent of high school girls and 7 percent of middle-school girls have acknowledged using anabolic steroids at least once. In what has been described as highly secretive behavior, many of the girls are taking synthetic forms of the male hormone testosterone to get thin; others are athletes looking to get faster and stronger. Depending on when, how much and what they're taking, and how long they take it, the short- and long-term effects can be devastating. Gary Wadler, a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency , who recently testified before Congress about steroid use in professional baseball and football. In teen girls, adverse effects include a deepened voice, acne, male pattern hair loss, clitoral enlargement, and increased facial and body hair.
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Unlike most illicit drug use, misuse of anabolic steroids most commonly begins in young adulthood rather than adolescence. But steroid use in teens is of concern, especially since the hormonal systems they interact with play a critical role in brain development during these years. Four weeks after withdrawal, these increases in neuronal spine densities returned to normal in the amygdala, but not in the hippocampus.
What are the risks of anabolic steroid use in teens?
Ali Mohamadi, M. The abuse of anabolic steroids can cause both temporary and permanent injury to anyone using them. Teenagers, whose bodies are still developing, are at heightened risk. An alarming number of them are trying steroids in hopes of improving their athletic prowess or their appearance. A: They are drugs that mimic the actions of the male sex hormone testosterone. This includes promoting the growth of cells, especially in muscle, and maintaining or increasing male physical characteristics. Various studies have been conducted and generally reflect the findings of a Youth Risk and Behavior Surveillance System study, which estimated that among U. A: They are known to have a range of serious adverse effects on many organ systems, and in many cases the damage is not reversible. They include fertility problems, impotence, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and heart and liver abnormalities.
I stay in shape and admire competitive athletes, but I can't understand why some of them, including those Tour de France cyclists in the news last week, risk their health by taking performance-enhancing drugs see our Science section for details. Among the most dangerous such drugs are anabolic steroids, which are versions of the male hormone testosterone. And there are clues you should look for to see whether your daughter might be using these drugs. That's right, your daughter. Although the steroid fad seems to be fading among teenage boys, the latest studies suggest that it's just taking off among girls. A survey conducted at Pennsylvania State University estimates that the number of steroid-popping toyear-old girls has roughly doubled over the past seven years and could be as high as , nationwide. A study of four Massachusetts middle schools found that girls as young as 10 are taking the performance-enhancing drugs in roughly the same numbers as boys.