Nearly one-third of men who attended a gym used anabolic steroids despite having at least some understanding of their adverse effects, according to data presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology.
“This topic is far from the doping scandals of big sport. Here, ordinary amateurs and not professional athletes use doping,” Mykola Lykhonosov, MD, of Pavlov First Saint Petersburg State Medical University in Saint Petersburg, Russia, told Endocrine Today. “It is precisely this aspect of anti-doping topics that should be actively distributed. It is necessary that ordinary people, not athletes, do not put themselves at risk.”
Lykhonosov and colleagues distributed questionnaires to men who exercised recreationally at a gym. The surveys, which were completed by 550 participants, assessed anabolic steroid use and knowledge about their use and adverse effects.
One hundred sixty-seven participants (30.4%) said they used anabolic steroids. This prevalence was higher than expected, according to Lykhonosov, who noted that nearly 75% of those who used steroids were aged 22 to 35 years. Eleven percent of participants said they had been using steroids for at least 9 months, and 73.8% of the entire cohort indicated that they understood the potential adverse effects of steroid use. This understanding was particularly high for steroid users, with 96.4% saying they had information about anabolic steroids. In addition, the researchers said these participants had greater awareness of the adverse effects of steroids compared with those who did not use steroids (P < .001).
“Given the data of my research, it can be understood that the subjective desire to be better, more beautiful, stronger for many people is much more important than the realization that anabolic steroids can lead to health problems,” Lykhonosov said, while noting that more than half of participants wanted more information about steroids. “The task of doctors, journalists, athletes, most likely, is to understand the psychological problems of the anabolic steroids users, and to give the opportunity to consciously make a choice in favor of refusing to take anabolic steroids.” – by Phil Neuffer
Lykhonosov M, et al. Men ignore serious health risks of steroid abuse in pursuit of the body beautiful. Presented at: European Congress of Endocrinology; May 18-21, 2019; Lyon, France.
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.