The findings show that men using anabolic steroids (synthetic variations of testosterone) to improve strength and physical performance are often aware of the side effects but choose to continue taking them.
This raises serious concerns not only for their own health but that of future generations, since side effects are known to damage sperm as well as increase the risk of sexual dysfunction, heart disease and liver damage.
“These findings were surprising. Not only was the prevalence of steroid abuse high, knowledge of the damaging side effects was also high, yet this does not stop them taking them,” said Dr Mykola Lykhonosov from Pavlov First St Petersburg State Medical University in Russia.
For the study, Dr Lykhonosov and colleagues conducted an anonymous survey of men who regularly attend a gym, to assess their knowledge of, use of and attitude towards the health risks of anabolic steroids.