Anabolic Steroids and their Effect on Male FertilityThe case of the month is a patient of The Turek Clinic. This week, it highlights my recent lecture to the Northern California Chapter of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists in San Francisco view presentation at anabo,ic bottom of this post or on Slideshare. This year old man is guessing that he is sterile when he sees me. He is engaged to be married but shows up in the office alone. A very muscular man, he has been can anabolic steroids cause low sperm count for years.
Anabolic Steroids and their Effect on Male Fertility
Anabolic-androgenic steroids AAS have for years been the most used substances for improving muscle strength, mass and performance. Most users are not competitive athletes, and unfortunately a portion of the users are teenagers. When using steroids, users try to maximize the anabolic tissues growth stimulating effect and minimize the androgenic male type effect. In actual anabolic steroids, this ratio varies and can be even over It is not possible to avoid androgyny but it is strongly dependent on the dosage and how long steroids are used .
To maximize the desired effects and avoid side effects, other hormone preparations are usually used simultaneously to help, for example, in preventing breast growth. Anabolic androgens have a significant effect on gonadal function. The effects are individual-specific: The function of the testicles is to produce sperm and sex hormone, in other words testosterone.
Normal testosterone production generates masculine sexual characteristics and ensures high testosterone level in testes about a times larger concentration than in blood circulation that is indispensable for normal sperm production. The functioning of the testicles is controlled by hypophysis. Anabolic androgens prevent the normal functioning of the hypophysis. The effect of anabolic androgens on sperm production is well-known among physicians who treat childlessness.
According to studies, about one fourth of the users of anabolic steroids had no sperm production, in about half the sperm production was worse than normally, and only one fourth had normal sperm production [2, 3]. Anabolic steroids also have an effect on the structure of sperm cells. The changes that androgens cause in sperm production are usually reversible. However, it can take a year before normal sperm cell amounts reappear after the use of large doses.
No exact information exists on how using anabolic androgens before puberty affects testicular function in adulthood. In this sensitive phase, anabolic androgens can cause several, possibly irreversible, changes in testicular function. Sexual desire libido is mostly controlled by testosterone. Anabolic steroids can increase the libido. The increased libido may be a problem because large androgen doses may also increase violence.
A more common problem is that the body's testosterone production usually ceases for several months after using steroids. Then the testosterone concentration in blood circulation is insufficient for normal libido and the hormone imbalance causes sexual apathy.
Very low testosterone concentrations may also cause erection problems. When simultaneously, for example, a weightlifter's results get significantly worse, the need to begin a new androgen cure is usually significant . Anabolic-androgenic steroids prevent the normal functioning of the hypophysis. A similar effect occurs in women with combination birth-control pills.
Besides the typical appearance, other apparently abnormal things are not always found in the medical examination. The side effects for example acne, skin stretching scars, breast growth, and possible marks of injections related to the androgen treatment may be seen.
As a result of prolonged androgen use testicles may be really small. The effect of anabolic androgens on fertility function depends remarkably on the preparations used, doses and how long they are used. In hormone tests depicting testicular function typical anomalies are found.
In most cases, the total lack of sperm cells is found in semen examinations. In some of the users, the anomaly is smaller. The changes caused by anabolic androgens are reversible, but the recovery of sperm production can take as long as a year. In most cases, the most efficient and effective treatment is stopping the use of anabolic androgens. A precondition for treatment success is the individual understanding of the factual connections and knowing that it takes time to recover .
Motivating the user is important. Maintenance of physiological testosterone concentrations i. However, there is a possibility for the risk of abuse. The replacement treatment prolongs the sperm production recovery. Current concepts in anabolic-androgenic steroids. American Journal of Sports Medicine Concomitant abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids and human chronionic gonadotrophin impairs spermatogenesis in power athletes.
International Journal of Sports Medicine Effect of androgenic anabolic steroids on sperm quality and serum hormone levels in adult male bodybuilders. Evidence for physical and psychological dependence on anabolic androgenic steroids in eight weight lifters. American Journal of Psychiatry Duration of azoospermia following anabolic steroids. Fertility and Sterility Skip to main content. Anabolic steroids and reproductive health. Testicular function and disturbances The function of the testicles is to produce sperm and sex hormone, in other words testosterone.
Effect of anabolic androgens to sexual desire Sexual desire libido is mostly controlled by testosterone. Examination of the effects and their treatment Anabolic-androgenic steroids prevent the normal functioning of the hypophysis. Was this article useful?