Performance doping is something we’ve all heard about in the news more than a few times. It happens often enough that many people believe they understand what the drugs do and the consequences and risk factors associated with them. I’ve heard people say, “your penis will shrink!” or, “roid rage will kill you!” Many people also think that women who abuse steroids will basically turn into men. While these ideas are actually myths, there is some truth hidden behind it all.
Several years ago, I was working with a group of young men who started using steroids in high school to bulk up and gain a competitive edge athletically. Sadly, these guys had no idea that using steroids was going to be a decision which haunted them for the rest of their lives.
What nobody tells these athletes is that once you start taking steroids to boost testosterone, you might never be able to turn back. When you artificially boost testosterone, your testicles stop making it. The testicles shut down. The testicles shrink, sperm production stops, and if this goes on long enough, even your penis stops working. These effects are often irreversible.
I was working with a doctor in St. Louis who was inventing a new form of an erectile dysfunction (ED) drug. He had made videos of men using the drug and then showed the results. One could not help but notice that all of these guys were young men in incredible physical shape. I asked the doctor who they were and how he found them. Apparently, they were all male models who had used steroids to get and maintain their physique. These guys were in their 20s and 30s and had complete erectile dysfunction from steroid use.
He said that seeing these young men with complete ED was simply tragic. Their sex lives were changed forever. No one had ever told them that steroid use could, and eventually would, make them both sterile and impotent. These guys paid too high a price for muscle definition.
So next time you hear moralists rail against the scandals of doping in sports, remind the young men in your life that morals have nothing to do with it. Steroids destroy lives.