Low Fertility Caused by Steroids

Lynsey Keep, RN
Steroids can decrease a man's fertility

It is a well-known fact that there is a risk of low fertility caused by steroids, both of the prescribed and non-prescribed variety. Fertility problems associated with the use of steroids can affect both males and females.

Steroids: Friend and Enemy

For many people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, lupus, or arthritis, the use of steroid medication is a daily undertaking. Without these medications, the symptoms of such diseases would be unbearable and, for some, cause life threatening problems.

As much as steroids are a friend and often crucial part of life for many who take them, they also have their negative points that can have detrimental effects on people's lives. Illegal use of anabolic steroids by athletes and body builders is also very harmful to fertility. Some men are happier to risk their fertility than to lose the body they have honed as a result of exercise and taking steroids.

Low Fertility Caused By Steroids: A Well-Known Risk

There are various negative and unpleasant effects of long-term use of corticosteroids, including thinning of the skin, weight gain, skin rashes, and mood change, to name but a few. Those who illegally abuse anabolic steroids face equally damaging side effects including acne, aggression, and many heart problems.

There is, however, a common effect following the use of both types of steroid involving fertility problems in both men and women, which can often be long lasting.

Male Problems

In the male, a common side effect of anabolic steroid use is impotence and erectile dysfunction. Sperm count is also significantly affected. Hormones critical to the process of sperm production are significantly affected by the use of anabolic steroids and, the greater the amount of steroids taken, the greater the impact on the hormone pattern. Reduced fertility caused by steroids is something that very few men appreciate. The need to look good or perform well in the athletic arena often clouds judgment. It is not until they choose to begin a family that their habit begins to haunt them.

Fortunately, the male fertility effects caused by the use of anabolic steroids are reversed once the drug is no longer taken. The effects, however, can reduce sperm count and function for over twelve months. Low fertility caused by steroids in this case is entirely avoidable and should be a primary consideration for those who use them for recreational purposes.

Female Problems

Women who take regular corticosteroids and are hoping to conceive must be carefully managed by their physician for a weaning off period to avoid the risk of pregnancy problems and potential birth defects. For some women, the damage may be long-lasting as steroid use can have a significant impact on the menstrual cycle and the ability to conceive.

Often, these types of steroids are required long-term, therefore, the unwanted effects will prevail as long as the drug remains in the system.

Managing Steroids

For those who use steroids for illegal purposes, giving up the drug may not be an easy task. Individuals often become addicted to the effects the drug has and, in the case of anabolic steroids, the effects relating to body image.

Counseling is often required for those who have an addiction to the use of anabolic steroids. The psychological addiction can, at times, be harder to combat than a physical one as there is no placebo replacement available.

For women who are suffering infertility problems as a result of the long-term use of prescribed steroids, the important thing to do is plan well ahead before trying to conceive. Many women may want to improve their general health and well-being before planning a pregnancy. If the menstrual cycle is irregular, alternative therapies such as reflexology, acupuncture, and homeopathy may be a useful aid to improving the harmony within the body.

Low Fertility Caused by Steroids