Testosterone is a part of the male androgens or the primary sexual hormones that are primarily responsible for the sexual/reproductive health of males apart from affecting some metabolic activities. These androgens are often referred to as testoids, indicating their highly potent and steroid-like nature. Due to these similarities with steroids, steroidal supplements are often used as a means of treating low testosterone symptoms. However, there are many side-effects to using steroidal supplementation, such as:
Chances of Birth Defects
Steroids can have a severe impact on the developing fetus if used at the conception stage by either of the parents. The embryonic development can be disturbed by altered levels of testosterone to the extent of inducing physical deformities or severely affecting the immunity levels of the child.
Increased Blood Clotting
Steroids used for enhancing testosterone levels can raise the prothrombin time, i.e. time taken for the blood to clot. This can prove rather fatal if the individual suffers from extreme bleeding as a result of an accident during which time, bleeding can become uncontrolled and even prove detrimental to a life-saving surgery.
Greater Risk of Developing Cardiovascular Problems
People suffering from low testosterone often use steroid supplements hoping to raise their metabolism and hence, fat-burning capacity. However, an unregulated intake of steroids is known to raise the Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) levels. Though the HDL rise is beneficial, the LDL rise tends to have an opposite effect. It helps in greater deposition of cholesterol along the inner lining of the arteries. Thus, high blood pressure is commonly associated with steroidal use. It also raises the body’s tendency to retain salt and water, further raising the overall pressure induced on the arterial pathway.
Increased Chances of Extreme Allergic Reactions
Anaphylactic shock is essentially an extreme form of allergic reaction that happens when an allergen or a foreign body (protein in the case of steroids) is introduced in the body. This can also be induced due to an unwarranted reaction between the constituent protein and any medication being used by the individual. An anaphylactic shock can prove fatal wherein breathing becomes labored and cardiac rhythm is severely disturbed. Such reactions are possible with steroid intake since such testosterone supplements are usually used without medical supervision.
Skin Problems & Hair Loss
Severe acne is among the most common indicators of a steroid regimen inducing side-effects. This is largely because the sudden rise in testosterone levels induced by steroids tends to affect the sebaceous glands, making them hyperactive. These glands are present in the facial skin too, making the skin highly prone to developing acne. Sometimes, the face develops a flushed appearance that is due to excessive water retention along with uncontrolled oil synthesis from the over-excited sebaceous glands. Steroids used for supplementing testosterone are known to have an adverse effect on the scalp hair too. In fact, male-pattern hair loss is linked to unregulated levels of androgens and since steroids cause sudden spikes in testosterone levels, scalp hair loss is a common side-effect. Steroid use over a long time tends to disturb the DHT metabolism that is regarded as the main reason for baldness among middle-aged men. Hair loss induced by steroids is similar to androgenic alopecia that usually presents itself as a genetic trait.