BLOKES who go to extreme lengths to look buffer and younger are damaging their ability to have kids, experts have warned.
Taking steroids to get more muscular or chugging anti-baldness pills damages fertility.
Dr James Mossman has been studying why so many couples struggle to conceive.
And he discovered that there was a link between steroid abuse and fertility trouble.
He told the BBC that men are “trying to look really big, to look like the pinnacles of evolution”.
“I noticed some men coming in to have their fertility tested and these guys were huge,” he told the BBC.
Despite trying to get into peak shape, however, these guys were actually doing the exact opposite.
“They are making themselves very unfit in an evolutionary sense, because without exception they had no sperm in their ejaculation at all”.
Steroids can make you “sterile”
Anabolic steroids mimic the effect of the male hormone testosterone in the body, and are used to increase muscle mass.
“Isn’t it ironic that men go to the gym to look wonderful, for the most part to attract women, and inadvertently decrease their fertility,” said Professor Allan Pacey, from the University of Sheffield.
Steroids work by making the body increase testosterone production everywhere except the testicles where it’s needed for sperm production.
When blokes take extra testosterone, their natural production of the hormone stops – causing the amount in the testies to drop to rock bottom.
That means that you might still have semen but there won’t be any sperm in it.
It can take a year for sperm production to return to normal – if you stop taking the stuff in time.
Researchers claim that the same thing is happening to men who use drugs to combat male pattern baldness.
Finasteride is a drug that can limit hair loss by changing the way testosterone is metabolised in the body.
But it can also cause erectile dysfunction and disrupt fertility.
“An increasingly common problem”
Prof Pacey told the BBC: “I would say more anabolic steroid users are likely to become sterile than you would think – 90 per cent probably.
“Baldness is a bit more hit-and-miss, but sales are going through the roof and that makes it an increasingly common problem.”
Dr Mossman said taking vanity-based meds makes men into “evolutionary duds”.
Men are sacrificing their ability to father kids in order to look more attractive – something that is completely at odds with the rest of the animal kingdom.
Dr Mossman says that this misguided attempt to appeal to women by killing your fertility is unique to humans.
Prof Pacey told the BBC: “The irony is one thing, but I think the key message is for fertility patients.
“It keeps cropping up in clinics and the message is not getting out to young men that it’s a problem and a bit of info could save them a lot of heartache.”
Taking anabolic steroids doesn’t just come with the risk of infertility.
It can also lead to kidney failure, liver damage, high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack – even in young people.
If you are worried about your use of anabolic steroids, talk to your GP who can refer you to a counsellor, or talk to Frank.
Risks of taking anabolic steroids
Regularly taking anabolic steroids can lead to physical and psychological changes in both men and women, as well as potentially dangerous medical conditions.
Effects of anabolic steroids in men can include:
- reduced sperm count
- shrunken testicles
- erectile dysfunction
- breast development
- increased risk of prostate cancer
- severe acne
- stomach pain
- aggressive behaviour
- mood swings
- manic behaviour
- hallucinations and delusions
And it can also lead to:
- heart attack or stroke
- liver or kidney problems or failure
- high blood pressure
- blood clots
- fluid retention
- high cholesterol
And if you’re concerned about taking anti-baldness medication, again chat your GP to see if they can suggest an alternative.
For the most part, no one thinks you look as bad as you do yourself.
You don’t need medication to look healthier – work out regularly, eat healthier, sleep more and you’ll naturally look and be fitter.
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