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What Are the Different Types of Athletic Steroids?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are several types of athletic steroids that can be used to increase or enhance an athlete's performance or physique. The most common steroid is testosterone. Then there are anabolic-androgen steroids (AAS), drugs that mimic the effects of this male sex hormone. Methyl-testosterone is an oral version of athletic steroids, while testosterone propionate is an injectable version of the drug. Methandrostenolone is a synthetic version of testosterone created in an attempt to reduce the androgenic effects of the athletic steroids, such as increased beard, limb and chest hair as well as a deeper voice.

Occasionally, some athletes choose to use athletic steroids to improve their performance, physical appearance and body makeup. Typically using gonadal-type drugs or drugs stemming from the testicles, the athletes are usually able to increase strength, endurance and muscle size much faster than exercising without the aid of athletic steroids. The steroids are available in four basic types: injectable drugs; oral drugs or pills; adhesive patches; and creams or lotions. When used in the injection form, the athletic steroids are placed into a muscle rather than a blood vein. Injecting the steroids directly into the blood stream can result in the formation of stroke-inducing blood clots.

The anabolic action of the athletic steroids causes the body to produce increased cell growth, bone marrow production and increased protein synthesis from amino acids. This results in increased muscle tissue growth, which also develops into increased muscle strength and size. The increase in muscle size became well-known years ago among competitors in the professional bodybuilding ranks, and soon many of the top participants in the sport were using steroids on a regular basis. This practice slowed from regulation and was eventually stopped in 1976 when sanctioning bodies began testing for the substances in competitors' blood. Titles were pulled from any competitors who tested positive for any form of steroid.

More recently, the players in the United States baseball league have come under fire for their use of natural and synthetic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. It is alleged that many players have used the drugs to increase batting power, thereby improving the players' ability to hit home runs. It has been suggested that an asterisk be placed next to the players' name who is suspected of using athletic steroids to achieve certain records, such as home run records. This process may be implemented to separate the drug-enhanced players' records from those of the record-holding players who did not use steroids.

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