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For example, AAS may prematurely stop the lengthening of bones (premature epiphyseal fusion through increased levels of estrogen metabolites), resulting in stunted growth.Other effects include, but are not limited to, accelerated bone maturation, increased frequency and duration of erections, and premature sexual development.Most of these side-effects are dose-dependent, the most common being elevated blood pressure, especially in those with pre-existing hypertension.A number of severe side effects can occur if adolescents use AAS.AAS use in adolescence is also correlated with poorer attitudes related to health. Development of breast tissue in males, a condition called gynecomastia (which is usually caused by high levels of circulating estradiol), may arise because of increased conversion of testosterone to estradiol by the enzyme aromatase.Another male-specific side-effect that can occur is testicular atrophy, caused by the suppression of natural testosterone levels, which inhibits production of sperm (most of the mass of the testes is developing sperm).Injection is the most common method used by individuals administering AAS for non-medical purposes.
There is also the risk that an intimate partner or child may come in contact with the application site and inadvertently dose himself or herself; children and women are highly sensitive to testosterone and can suffer unintended masculinization and health effects, even from small doses.
Injectable steroids are typically administered into the muscle, not into the vein, to avoid sudden changes in the amount of the drug in the bloodstream.
In addition, because estered testosterone is dissolved in oil, intravenous injection has the potential to cause a dangerous embolism (clot) in the bloodstream.
The word anabolic, referring to anabolism, comes from the Greek ἀναβολή anabole, "that which is thrown up, mound." They are one of three types of sex hormone agonists, the others being estrogens like estradiol and progestogens like progesterone.
AAS were synthesized in the 1930s, and are now used therapeutically in medicine to stimulate muscle growth and appetite, induce male puberty and treat chronic wasting conditions, such as cancer and .
AAS users tend to research the drugs they are taking more than other controlled-substance users; however, the major sources consulted by steroid users include friends, non-medical handbooks, internet-based forums, blogs, and fitness magazines, which can provide questionable or inaccurate information.