Anabolic steroids (also known as anabolic androgenic steroids) are synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones. Male sex hormones, also called androgens, include the hormone testosterone.
Androgens promote the growth of skeletal muscle (anabolic effects) and the development of male sexual characteristics (androgenic effects). Androgens can also be used in women to treat menstrual problems and other conditions.
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Last reviewed: July 2016