Anabolic steroids, tissue-building substances that are taken by athletes to aid performances, have been used in sports for almost four decades.
Anabolic steroids enable the body to maintain an improved nitrogen balance, which aids in the protein synthesis--the key to tissue and muscle growth.
Athletes say the combination of new tissue with rigorous training exercises enables them to perform better.
Steroids, the synthetic derivative of the male hormone testosterone, were developed in the 1950s. They are used as treatment for certain types of breast cancer as well as treating victims of anemia, chronic infections, severe trauma and the disorders of elderly and postmenopausal patients.
Some side effects commonly associated with steroid use are alteration of the reproductive process, virilization, the increase of aggressive behavior, the stunting of growth, the weakness of connective tissue and gynecomastia--the swelling of the nipple area and the development of breast tissue in men.