By Medifit Education.
Medifit Biologicals explains the sexual benefits and drawbacks of using anabolic steroids by males and females.
In women, anabolic steroids can cause:
- facial hair growth and body hair
- loss of breasts
- swelling of the clitoris
- a deepened voice
- an increased sex drive
- problems with periods
Effects of anabolic steroids in men include:
- reduced sperm count
- shrunken testicles
- breast development
- increased risk of developing prostate cancer
- Increased erectile dysfunction, and impotence, even though sexual desire is increased.
When the anabolic steroids are stopped, the “sexual rush” is gone and this will cause testosterone levels to crash to virtually zero. This may cause symptoms such as tiredness, loss of energy and loss of sex drive. Testosterone production may return in a few months, however, in certain situations, it may be a permanent problem. Luckily, there is medical treatment for this problem to raise testosterone levels back to the normal range.
AS are derivatives of testosterone, which has strong genitotropic effects. For this reason, it will not be surprising that side effects include the reproductive system. Application of anabolic steroids leads to supra-physiological concentrations of testosterone or testosterone derivatives. Via the feed back loop, the production and release of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulation hormone (FSH) is decreased.
Prolonged use of anabolic steroids in relatively high doses will lead to hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism, with decreased serum concentrations of LH, FSH, and testosterone.
There are strong indications that the duration, dosage, and chemical structure of the anabolic steroids are important for the serum concentrations of gonadotropins. A moderate decrease of gonadotropin secretion causes atrophy of the testes, as well as a decrease of sperm cell production. Oligo, azoospermia and an increased number of abnormal sperm cells have been reported in athletes using AS, resulting in a decreased fertility. After stopping AS use, the gonadal functions will restore within some months. There are indications, however, that it may take several months.
In bodybuilding, where usually high dosages are uses, after stopping steroid use, often choriogonadotropins are administered to stimulate testicular function. The effectiveness of this therapy is unknown.
The various studies suggest that using more than one type of anabolic steroid at the same time (“stacking”) causes a stronger inhibition of the gonadal functions than using one single anabolic steroid. After abstention from anabolic steroids these changes in fertility usually reverse within some months. However, several cases of have been reported in which the situation of hypogonadism lasted for more than 12 weeks.
A well known side effect of AS in males is breast formation (gynecomastia). Gynecomastia is caused by increased levels of circulating estrogens, which are typical female sex hormones. The estrogens estradiol and estrone are formed in males by peripheral aromatization and conversion of AS. The increased levels of circulation estrogens in males stimulate breast growth. In general, gynecomastia is irreversible.
AS may affect sexual desire. Although few investigations on this issue have been published, it appears that during AS use sexual desire is increased, although the frequency of erectile dysfunction is increased. This may seem contradictory, but sexual appetite is androgen dependent, while erectile function is not. Since sexual desire and aggressiveness are increased during AS use, the risk of getting involved in sexual assault may be increased.
HORMONE TREATMENTS FOR IMPOTENCE
Hormonal problems are rarely the cause of impotence. The most common hormone abnormality is reduced levels of the male sex hormone testosterone. Testosterone can be restored to a therapeutic level with hormone replacement therapy. Testosterone replacement therapy should only be taken if you are tested and these tests confirm a deficiency. In the same way anabolic steroids are also used to treat impotence, but through medical supervision and in medically advised doses.
Medically anabolic steroids are used to treat low sexual desire.
Mostly all sexual problem arises, when anabolic steroids are abused or not taken under medical supervision.
How Do Anabolic Steroids Affect Sperm Count?
Anabolic steroids are increasingly used in our current culture and present difficulties from many angles. Interestingly, they are getting more and more common in college females, but let’s just talk about males.
There is a fairly recent report that suggested that up to five percent of high school males may have used or be using anabolic steroids. That is a scary figure when one considers that even one cycle of anabolic steroids in certain people that we cannot predict may leave them sterile for the rest of their lives.
Now that is by far the minority of people, but it still is out there and I certainly see that in a male fertility practice. Now the typical patient is possibly a bodybuilder or someone who has used fairly high doses of steroids for a long period of time. So I don’t want to be alarmed as to say that even after one cycle it will have an impact on your fertility, but it is true that it could have an impact on certain people that we can’t predict.
What’s much more of an issue is the person who is doing what we know as cycling steroids. This would be where you take high doses – ten or twelve times the normal dose of testosterone or a similar product to testosterone typically for a 6 to 12 week period of time – then you come off, let your body readjust and then start that cycle again. That is known as cycling.
Another way that steroids are used is something called stacking. In stacking you use various types of these substances that are similar to testosterone known as anabolic steroids to try to achieve a similar effect and you might stack on a cycle. These type of high-dose products have the impact of increasing testosterone in the blood, which can lead to a muscle growth and some useful things, but at the same time, they send a message to the testicle, “Stop producing testosterone. We’ve got plenty in our bloodstream so shut down.” As part of that same process, those stem cells, the spermatogonia that are making sperms, are also told, “Slow down or stop”. And sometimes if you do a high enough dose for long enough, those cells never get the message that they are supposed to restart.
Now when I see people who have used anabolic steroids, one important message is that they are very addictive and in my practice, it’s similar to talking to someone who has been addicted to any substance that you have to have a sense of how powerful that is in their lives and that many times they are reluctant to tell you the complete truth as to what’s going on.
There are substances we can use to try to stimulate the body to regain its own production of testosterone, which then can also help to promote sperm production. Substances such as Clomid or clomiphene, often times used in females to try to stimulate egg health; also substances such as an aromatase inhibitor can also help promote sperm production.
And so, this can be treated in the great majority of males, at least 80% of males even who have used significant anabolic steroids, we can get sperm from their body. It may not come back in their ejaculate, but oftentimes we can get it directly from their testicle in a process known as testicular sperm extraction; low numbers of sperm, but enough that we can use it for in vitro fertilization.
By saying this I am absolutely not condoning the use of anabolic steroids and saying it’s okay, we can figure it out later, but I am saying that if you have used, there is still hope for the great majority of patients that we can usually, about four out of five times, get sperm directly from the testicles and do something useful with it.
How Anabolic Steroids Affect Your Sex Drive?
Your libido is, well, essential. That is an understatement. If you can’t feel like a man, no use looking like the best built one. Okay, some things are known about male sex drive, many things are not. We will focus on what we do know.
With respect to anabolic steroids, the male sex drive is affected by the following.
- The androgenicity of the drug(s) used.
- The aromatizing qualities of the drug(s) used.
- The progestagenic influence of the drug.
- The total amount of drug(s) in the system at any given time.
I. FIRST, THE ANDROGENICITY OF THE DRUG. In general, anabolic steroids that are highly androgenic have an intense effect on the libido. Authors will argue expertise about which drugs are more and less androgenic. You’ll read that deca is moderate, then you’ll read its very androgenic, you’ll read that winstrol is anabolic, then you’ll read its more androgenic…bla, bla, bla. Here is the empirical facts in most (again not all, and there are some exceptions) cases. Testosterone makes you horny. Unless you have been on a cycle forever with no break, the first few days and weeks of test use definitely increase sex drive. Dianabol is also a popular one for making juicers super horny. These drugs in almost all of the literature are known “androgenic drugs”. These are two no brainers. This is just the ground level illustration of anabolic steroids having a positive effect on sex drive.
Nandrolone, as we’ve mentioned has a lessening effect on the sex drive. This is variable from person to person as we’ve stated previously, but is largely related to dosage. Whether or not you agree or whatever you’ve read that may be different is always informative. Hey, the more you read, the better off you’ll be. Just be careful to pick and choose the advice you follow wisely. Okay, anyway, we all know deca has a negative effect on your sex drive. This also means that other esters of the drug such as the old school Laurabolin (nandrolone laurate) the eleven ester chain form of deca will have a similar affect if used in a similar dosage pattern. The half-life is very close to deca but exceeds it by a few days. The literature often says two weeks or more, but from experience, I’d say deca five to six days, and laurabolin, eight to ten. The shorter acting versions such an nandrolone phenylpropionate will also have the same affect. Also, the onset of phenylprop will be faster which will probably cause you to notice a decreased sex drive earlier in your cycle. Remember that many side effects with anabolic steroids are duration dependent as well as dosage dependent and you may not always experience the effects listed in the information sources you read and study.
Trenbolone is interesting because much of what you read will end in two truths. Number one, it is androgenic (some literature actually says six times more androgenic than testosterone), and two, it is a progesterone derived drug. This sounds like a paradox. For functional purposes, tren is a hearty androgen that also has a chemical structure that is very similar to progesterone. Trenbolone is also non-aromatizing. The real world application is that tren can make you strong and grow like you are on test, without the water weight (there will be no estrogen), and without the increased sex drive caused by testosterone (because of tren’s anti-libido progestagenic affect).
II. AROMATIZING DRUGS affect your natural testosterone production by interfering with the classic feed-back loop. Most know that high estrogen levels affect your pituitary gland and shuts down your body’s natural production of testosterone. The pituitary gland is a master regulator of hormonal levels. Actually, it is controlled by the true master gland, the hypothalamus. The pituitary senses high estrogen or progesterone, and shuts off a hormone called leutinizing hormone or LH. LH travels from the pituitary to the testes, finds specific cells called Leydig cells, and tells the Leydig cells to kick out some test. If you interefere with this message, you interfere with natural testosterone production. This is called the hypo-thalamic-pituitary-testicular-axis. All this means is a loop that senses estrogen or progesterone levels for the purpose of regulating testosterone. This is also the very loop that makes anti-estrogenic drugs effective at increasing your testosterone levels post cycle.
Once your system is clean from anabolics (days to weeks depending on the dosage and drugs used), use of anti-estrogens work to block the estrogen from the pituitary, thereby telling the pituitary, “we don’t have enough testosterone round these parts, fire some up there”. The pituitary then sends/ allows LH to be produced once again where it then travels to the Leydig cells of the testes, and stimulates the machinery to turn back on. You will know when this happens because this is when you can first tell that your balls are getting bigger again, your energy level comes back up, you start to feel good again since being off, etc. Common drugs that aromatize include the nandrolones, dianabol and all the testosterone esters. The rest of the anabolic steroids are constantly disagreed upon amongst gurus, and their outcomes are not definitive enough to mention in detail, whether you are considering the likelihood of chemical structures, or empirical real world effects. After all, deca, test and d-bol are the drugs most used that will be the major culprits with regards to aromatization. I know, you all have probably known someone who has gotten some nasty estrogenic type side effects from some other drug besides deca, test or d-bol. Those side effects come from other root causes. However you look at it, estrogenic affects from anabolic steroids serve to decrease sex drive by shutting off your natural supply.
Only if the drugs are androgenic enough and affect the sexual areas of your brain in just the right way will the drug cancel its own effects and increase sex drive. Your individual biochemistry comes into play with many of the sexual highs and lows of anabolic steroid usage, it takes individual experience to know what you need and when.
III. PROGESTAGENIC EFFECTS of drugs are often over-looked. This is because most individuals do not know how potent progesterone really is in the body. All you ever really here is the bad stuff about estrogen. Well, progesterone my friends can be pretty nasty. Remember what we’ve said about sex offenders and progesterone. The government itself uses progesterone treatment to kill the sex drive of male sex offenders in order to help control their cravings. If it works on a freak, it will definitely work on a normal person. Don’t forget, progesterone kills sex drive in the male.
The androgenic effects of AAS are numerous. Depending on the length of use, the side effects of the steroid can be irreversible. Processes affected include pubertal growth, sebaceous gland oil production, and sexuality (especially in fetal development). Some examples of virilizing effects are growth of the clitoris in females and the penis in male children (the adult penis size does not change due to steroids[medical citation needed] ), increased vocal cord size, increased libido, suppression of natural sex hormones, and impaired production of sperm. Effects on women include deepening of the voice, facial hair growth, and possibly a decrease in breast size. Men may develop an enlargement of breast tissue, known as gynecomastia, testicular atrophy, and a reduced sperm count.
The androgenic:anabolic ratio of an AAS is an important factor when determining the clinical application of these compounds. Compounds with a high ratio of androgenic to an anabolic effects are the drug of choice in androgen-replacement therapy (e.g., treating hypogonadism in males), whereas compounds with a reduced androgenic:anabolic ratio are preferred for anemia and osteoporosis, and to reverse protein loss following trauma, surgery, or prolonged immobilization. Determination of androgenic:anabolic ratio is typically performed in animal studies, which has led to the marketing of some compounds claimed to have anabolic activity with weak androgenic effects. This disassociation is less marked in humans, where all anabolic steroids have significant androgenic effects.
The Side Effects Of Anabolic Steroids: Truth Or A Myth?
As with many things in life, the utilization of anabolic steroids does not come without potential adverse effects. For the purpose of this article, we’re now going to leave the debate of whether steroids are right or wrong from a moral viewpoint behind and concentrate purely on the medical issues surrounding steroid use.
Adverse effects can be seen to target numerous regions of the human body. From a cardiovascular perspective, this can include elevated blood pressure and decreased myocardial functioning. It has also been reported to affect the endocrine system, in the form of testicular atrophy and impotence. From a hepatic perspective, they can enhance the risk of liver tumors and damage. Additional side effects include; acne, baldness, increased risk of tendon tears and numerous psychological problems.
It has been suggested that these adverse effects are often focused upon by individuals in the medical and scientific professions, who at the same time also undervalue the potential benefits of anabolic steroids, in order to create fear amongst the athletic population and decrease their use.
Recently, these sentiments have been echoed by Berning et al (2004) who suggested that the adverse effects and potential medical issues associated with anabolic steroids are somewhat overstated and far-fetched.
So how much truth is in this debate? It should be noted that some of the adverse effects of anabolic steroids are by no means minor ailments and that their impact on the human body could be life changing – but how likely is this? All medication nowadays comes with a throwaway manual warning you of its potential dangers, but realistically, how often do they actually occur?
One of the major issues when even beginning to contemplate answering these questions is that the majority of research investigations into this topic lack both validity and conclusiveness. To state the results are limited would be a huge understatement, to say the least.
For example, many research investigations don’t mimic real life situations or even apply to the athletic community. Whilst professional athletes are often involved in long term cycling of anabolic steroids, utilizing high dosages and often stacking various drug combinations together, this type of drug trialing is not found in conventional research.
The argument supporting the adverse effects of anabolic steroids isn’t made any easier by research concluding that many of the reported side effects are also reversible upon cessation.
Regardless of whether anabolic steroids are morally right or wrong, they have created a situation within the sporting world where they can massively impact upon sporting performance. However, anabolic steroids come with a huge health warning, irrespective of whether this status has been achieved through scare mongering tactics.
Do anabolic steroids offer an equal balance of positives and negatives? Does one outweigh the other or vice versa? Individuals have suggested that the adverse effects of anabolic steroids are often both overrated and overemphasized. This argument is indirectly supported through research investigations, which are unable to show a link between steroid use and serious adverse effects. Furthermore, reports also suggest that any effects might be reversible on cessation of drug administration.
There is absolutely no doubting the effectiveness of anabolic steroids in the pursuit of excellence, especially in sports requiring strength, speed and power. The same unfortunately cannot be said for the adverse effects, with a huge gap in this research field. The research that is available often lacks control, making any cause and effect relationship between steroids and adverse effects almost impossible to gage.
Until this balance is readdressed, can we really expect individuals and athletes alike to sit up and take notice of these potential dangers? In the competitive sporting world that exists, I think this question answers itself.
Female Sexual Anatomy:
Infertility is medically defined as the inability to conceive following one year of regular sexual intercourse without contraception or after six months if the woman is over age 35.
The definition also includes women who are unable to carry a pregnancy to live birth.
There are two general types of infertility.
• Primary infertility is defined as difficulty conceiving for a couple who has never before had a child.
• Secondary infertility describes a couple who is having difficulty conceiving when at least one of the partners has previously had a baby.
It is a medical condition faced by around 10% of the couples.
It is caused by both Male and Female factors. Male factors in about 40% of the cases, female factors also in about 40% of the cases are responsible for infertility. Whereas in nearly 10% of the cases, both factors are responsible and in 10% of the cases, no obvious factors can be found – unexplained infertility.
Male factors are discussed elsewhere in this website.
Here we will see the female factors Infertility.
Causes of Female Infertility :
1. Hormonal Disorders : When the hormones like Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), Prolactin (PRL), Thyroid hormones etc. are not in balance, it disturbs the menstrual cycle pattern and can cause difficulty in ovum preparation and its release (failure to ovulation). Very severe deficiency of hormones may lead to premature menopause also.
2. Fallopian tube disorders: tubal block (obstruction) and adhesions are responsible for about 25% of female infertility. The block may be the result of infection, birth defects, abdominal surgery or the ectopic pregnancy.
The block does not allow the ovum and the sperm to unite with each other.
3. Endometriosis: it is presence of endometrium at abnormal places like tubes, ovaries and peritoneum etc often, it is the inadequate thickness of endometrium is the cause for the problem
4. Cervical factors: Approximately 3% of couples face infertility due to problems with the female ís cervical mucus. The mucus needs to be of a certain consistency and available in adequate amounts for sperm to swim easily within it. The most common reason for abnormal cervical mucus is a hormone imbalance, namely too little estrogen or too much progesterone.
5. Uterus abnormality : about 10% of the cases. Fibroids, poplyps, adenomyosis etc can cause obstruction and some birth defects (congenital abnormalities) like septate uterus, bi-cornuate uterus etc will not allow the conception in the uterus.
6. Life Style : It is well-known that certain personal habits and lifestyle factors impact health; many of these same factors may limit a couple’s ability to conceive. Fortunately, however, many of these variables can be regulated to increase not only the chances of conceiving but also one’s overall health.
Diet and Exercise: Optimal reproductive functioning requires both proper diet and appropriate levels of exercise. Women who are significantly overweight or underweight may have difficulty becoming pregnant.
Smoking : Cigarette smoking has been shown to lower sperm counts in men and increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and low-birth-weight babies for women. Smoking by either partner reduces the chance of conceiving with each cycle, either naturally or by IVF, by one-third.
Alcohol : Alcohol intake greatly increases the risk of birth defects for women and, if in high enough levels in the mothers blood, may cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Alcohol also affects sperm counts in men.
Drugs : Drugs, such as marijuana and anabolic steroids, may impact sperm counts in men. Cocaine use in pregnant women may cause severe retardations and kidney problems in the baby and is perhaps the worst possible drug to abuse while pregnant. Recreational drug use should be avoided, both when trying to conceive and when pregnant.
7. Environmental and Occupational factors : The ability to conceive may be affected by exposure to various toxins or chemicals in the workplace or the surrounding environment. Substances that can cause mutations, birth defects, abortions, infertility or sterility are called reproductive toxins. Lead, Ethylene oxide, X ray radiation & chemotherapy and Dibromochloropropane (DBCP) found in pesticides can cause ovarian problems, leading to a variety of health conditions like early menopause that may directly impact fertility.
INVESTIGATIONS for FEMALE INFERTILITY
Investigations are confusing, time consuming and often expensive. It is not an easy task. It should have a systematic approach without which a couple may lose the right direction and may be lost in the maize of various tests and may find it very cumbersome, tedious and disappointing.
If the couple is not counseled properly at the various stages of the investigations and treatment, they may remain wondering about the outcome of the treatment.
Frequent changing of doctors and center will also confuse the couple and often leads to the repeated investigations which may not lead them to any particular direction.
Following are the list of investigations. The doctor will not carry out each and every test for all the couples but depending on the individual case, the appropriate tests need to be done.
1. Ovulation study: This is to determine whether the woman is ovulating on a regular basis and whether the timing of ovulation could be assessed.
Tests of ovulation may include basal body temperature monitoring (which can indicate after the fact that a woman has ovulated) and ultrasound testing (which detects the number, size, and shape of the egg follicles, follows the growth of follicles, and identifies whether follicles have collapsed, indicating that ovulation has occurred). Sometimes blood tests to determine hormone levels or an endometrial biopsy to observe the development of the uterine lining may be required.
2. Post Coital Test: to assess if there is a problem in the interaction between a woman’s cervical mucus and her partner’s sperm. A post-coital test necessitates the couple to have intercourse before the woman visits the physician’s office to examine her cervical mucus.
3. Imaging : test like Hystero-Salpingo-Gram (HSG) is done to visualize the uterine cavity and the patency of the Fallopian tubes.
4. Laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy: Invasive investigations may be required to assess the pelvic organs thru the endoscope which is inserted through the abdominal wall.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR FEMALE INFERTILITY
Drugs (Medicines) : Ovulatory disorders are involved in about 40% of fertility problems. Currently, there are two major drugs used to treat ovulatory disorders, namely human menopausal gonadotropins (hMG) and clomiphene citrate, Letrozole etc.
Human chorionic gonadotropin, for example, may be needed to trigger follicle rupture (ovulation). To support ovulation and pregnancy, progesterone may be prescribed alongside an hMG.
Other Options: also known as Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART).
Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), In Vitro Ferilisation IVF (Test tube baby) are the common ARTs.
Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI): This treatment involves direct deposition of the sperms into the uterine cavity with the help of a small catheter. Here the sperms by pass the cervical canal of the woman and the path of sperms are reduced thus trying to facilitate better availability of the sperms for fertilization.
IUI is a non-invasive treatment option which does not require hospital admission, it does not require anesthesia and involves relatively less expenses.
This treatment is useful in cases where the sperm counts are moderately low, cervical factors are present or in cases of unexplained infertility.
In Vitro Fertilization – IVF (Test tube Baby): In IVF, after ovulatory stimulation, oocytes are surgically retrieved from the woman, combined with the partner’s sperm in the laboratory, incubated for one to three days, and then transferred into the woman’s uterus, where implantation and development of a healthy baby will hopefully occur.
This is an expensive treatment option with less success rate. However, with more advanced techniques emerging, success rate can be expected to improve.
Micro-manipulation (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection ICSI) is currently widely used technique in IVF.
Less commonly used ARTs include gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT). GIFT requires the woman to have a functional fallopian tube and is performed in a single procedure. The woman’s eggs and the sperm are combined in a catheter and immediately inserted into the woman’s fallopian tube, rather than mixing oocytes and sperm in the laboratory. ZIFT has a very poor success rate and is rarely used today.
Embryo cryopreservation is a procedure in which multiple oocytes are removed from a woman, fertilized, and then frozen for future use. This technique allows multiple transfers to occur with only one cycle of stimulation and retrieval.
Often, older women may require donor oocytes in order to become pregnant.
If none of these procedures prove successful, Gestational Surrogacy may be considered in the case of women with healthy eggs who cannot carry a pregnancy to term.
By Medifit Education.