All bets are off the table when high-dose testosterone and its many metabolites are used illegally, such as with anabolic steroid abuse. Strokes, embolisms, and cardiovascular disease are all more likely, as is sudden death, and liver and kidney disease. 44 In women, acne, irreversible deepening of the voice, baldness, increased facial hair, enlarged sex organs, breast reduction, depression, and infertility have all been reported. In adult men that abuse anabolic steroids, acne, baldness, permanent infertility, gynecomastia, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, testicle shrinkage, and profuse sweating are all reported side effects. Increased testicular cancer hasn't been reported, though. 45,46
This obsession has become so common that Dr. Pope has come up with a term for it: Adonis Complex. What fuels it, he says, are the ridiculously outsized bodies purveyed by Hollywood, magazine covers, and even action-toy manufacturers (just check out the size of . Joe these days). "One of the biggest lies being handed to American men today is that you can somehow attain by natural means the huge shoulders and pectorals of the biggest men in the magazines," says Dr. Pope. "Generations of young men are working hard in the gym and wondering what on earth they're doing wrong. They don't realize that the 'hypermale' look that's so prevalent these days is essentially unattainable without steroids."