What are steroids?
Anabolic steroids are a man-made version of chemicals that can be used as performance-enhancing drugs that increase muscle mass and decrease fat, as well as causing many undesirable effects. Usually, steroids are taken by some athletes, weightlifters, and bodybuilders to improve their physical performance and build up their bodies. Steroids are designed to reduce inflammation and ease symptoms such as swelling, pain, and stiffness. Moreover, steroids can also be taken in several ways for many different types of arthritis and related conditions.
How are steroid taken?
• Oral steroids- consumed in mouth, comes in the form of tablets, liquids, dissolvable tablets.
• By injection – into a joint, muscle, the blood or spinal area
• By eye – as drops or ointments. You might need to avoid wearing contact lenses while having treatment with steroid eye drops.
• Topical steroids applied to the skin as a cream or gel. Don’t apply steroid creams or gels if you have an infection that affects your skin. If you have skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, and ulcers then using steroid creams can worsen the situation.
When to take steroids?
You should always take medication as prescribed by the person treating you.
Tablets, liquids and soluble tablets
• Usually once a day.
• Preferably in the morning.
• Either with or after food to prevent stomach problems.
Creams and gels
• Usually once or twice a day for a few weeks.
• Your doctor might suggest taking them less often but for a longer period.
• Should only be used on affected areas of the skin.
Eye drops and ointments
• May need to be taken regularly throughout the day.
• Usually one drop in each eye each time you take it.
Your doctor will give you the lowest possible dose for some time, to reduce the risk of side effects. As your symptoms improve, a weaker medication will be given to you and probably a reduced dosage. More importantly, you should never stop taking steroids without speaking to the person treating you first.
Are anabolic steroids safe?
There are risks in using anabolic steroids in both injectable and tablet form. Most anabolic steroid tablets available have definite risks of permanent liver damage and liver cancer. It is also not safe to share needles with any drug. You are at risk of getting blood transmitted infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV/AIDS if you inject anabolic steroids and share needles.
While it is true that many of the risks and side effects associated with using anabolic steroids have been exaggerated by some health professionals, sporting bodies, the media and handbooks, not all steroids will cause the same side effects.
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