Side effects are minimized by taking the lowest doses possible (that still yields positive results) and following doctor's orders. It is important to avoid self-regulation of the dosage, either by adding more or stopping the drug without a schedule. After prolonged use, steroids must be gradually reduced to permit the adrenal glands to resume natural cortisol production. Eliminating doses too quickly can result in glucocorticoid withdrawal symptoms, worsening of underlying inflammatory disease (rebound effect), or rarely, adrenal crisis (a life-threatening state caused by insufficient levels of adrenal steroids).
Side-effects from the use of steroids are extremely common and can be quite significant. Most side-effects are reversible once the athlete stops usage although serious long-term side-effects and even death have occurred as a direct result of steroid use.
• Decreased sperm production and sex drive
• Increased aggression, irritability and mood swings
• Liver disorders
• Baldness (alopecia)
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Raised cholesterol
• Gynecomastia (development of over-sized mammary glands in males)
• Menstrual irregularities (in women)
• Hirsuitism (excessive hair growth occurring in females which follows the pattern of male hair growth, . facial)
• Deepening of the voice
• Reduced immunity
• Possible development of tumors (wilm’s tumor, prostate carcinoma and leukemia have been reported, although a connection is not proven)