The Damaging Effect of Steroids on Women
Steroids are basically performance aids that people take to improve their athletic performance. This can include athletes, sports personnel, and bodybuilders who take steroids. Even though steroids are a banned substance and the side effects for can be detrimental to one’s overall health; when comparing the side effects between the sexes, women suffer more. Women should not take steroids because the results that are gained from steroids lead to a very unfeminine form. Women take steroids that consist primarily of the male hormone testosterone and virtually turn into men, losing their own femininity (Silver 61). The majority of female bodybuilders, who have developed their physique using steroids, look gnarly and masculine. These women develop huge vein-striated muscles with grainy skin and a wide jaw. In addition to a change in the exterior appearance of the women, steroids tend to change a woman's voice, making it deeper and more masculine. According to Albert, there are many reasons women begin using anabolic steroids (697). Several female androgenic anabolic steroid users have muscle dysmorphia, which is also call bigorexia or reverse anorexia nervosa. This is a disorder in which a person becomes obsessed with the idea that she is not muscular enough. Those who suffer from this condition tend to hold delusions that they are "skinny," “fat,” or "too small" when they are often above average in musculature (Albert 697). Muscle dysmorphia is not a simple obsession with working out or bodybuilding. A person with this disorder is overly interested in their physique or engaging in fitness behaviors that other people would consider excessive. Gruber & Pope stated that some of the inclusion criterion for the disorder include the following: constantly examining themselves in a mirror, becoming distressed if they miss a workout session or one of six meals a day, becoming distressed if they do not receive enough protein per day in their diet, taking potentially dangerous anabolic steroids, neglecting jobs, relationships, or family because of excessive exercising, having delusions of being underweight or below average in musculature, along with many other reasons (264). In the article “Am I a Woman,” the author states that steroids are not meant to be taken by women since a woman’s genetics are not meant for male hormones. There are many side effects that are associated with a woman taking steroids. With steroids, the normal cycle of a woman’s menstrual cycle is hampered and leads to spotting and irregular stopping of the cycle all together. With the introduction of extra testosterone, which women already contain small amounts of testosterone naturally, a woman begins to develop male physical characteristics, such as more pronounced jaw muscles, hair in places that women traditionally do not have hair and as discussed before, deeper voices. However, perhaps the most disturbing change is the development of a small penis that develops from clitoral enlargement and is another irreversible side effect. Also, women who grow unwanted hair have to deal with ridding the body of excessive hair just to hide their new male qualities. With more masculine features, like the widening of the jaw, a once beautiful woman may suddenly turn into a very masculine looking drag queen. In addition to all of these physical changes, women taking steroids also develop emotional changes because of the drugs consumed (Yesalis & Bahrke 332). Another important aspect and reason that women should not take steroids is the intimate behavioral changes that occur (Albert 699). The physical and psychological changes a woman goes through can be compromised. When androgyny sets in, things become difficult. With androgyny, the normal heterosexual woman experiences changes and even starts behaving and thinking like a man. Such women tend to become aggressive, with the aggression being enhanced...
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