What do Larissa Lazutina, Ben Johnson, Jerome Young, Lance Armstrong, and Tomas Johansson have in common? They were all Olympic athletes. They all won medals. They all had their medals taken away. They all tested positive for anabolic steroids.
What are anabolic steroids? They are a man-made form of testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone that is made naturally in the body. Both men and women produce testosterone, but men produce it in higher amounts. It helps them mature physically. It causes their voices to deepen. It makes hair grow on their faces and other parts of their bodies.
There are a few medical uses for anabolic steroids. Doctors occasionally prescribe them to some of their patients to treat medical problems. However, some athletes take anabolic steroids illegally. They use them to "bulk-up," or make their muscles bigger. Steroids increase their strength. They can make someone perform better at sports. But they can be very dangerous.
Like all drugs, anabolic steroids can have serious side effects. They affect your body and your behavior. They can damage your liver. They can cause you to retain fluids. This can lead to kidney failure. They can also cause cancer of the liver or kidneys.