Even after completing detox or inpatient rehab, former steroid users should continue seeing a counselor. Continuing therapy strengthens techniques that teach people to cope without drugs. It also helps if unforeseen difficulties or temptations in life occur.
Anabolic steroid abuse can result in permanent damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys. In males, steroid abuse can decrease sperm production, shrink the testicles, cause impotence, and produce irreversible breast enlargement (gynecomastia). Females can develop more masculine characteristics such as deepening of the voice and excessive body hair. In adolescents, abuse of anabolic steroids can stunt bone growth, reducing maximum height potential. Other side effects include acne, cysts, and oily hair and skin. Additionally, individuals who inject anabolic steroids with nonsterile needles risk developing HIV and other blood-borne infections.*
Epidural steroid injections are commonly prescribed for patients with a disc injury or spinal arthritis causing nerve irritation, and generally consist of local anesthetic (numbing medication such as lidocaine) and cortisone (a steroid that reduces inflammation and pain). Lidocaine is often injected initially so patients experience minimal, if any, pain during the procedure. The injection may be performed by placing the needle posteriorly between the spine bones (Translaminar or interlaminar) and injecting the medicine into the space around the spinal nerves. A transforaminal ESI means the injection is placed slightly to one side of the spine, and the medicine is injected near the ruptured disc and inflamed spinal nerve. A caudal ESI is performed by placing the needle near the tailbone, and injecting the medicine into the region of the sacral nerves and lower lumbar spinal nerves. Epidural steroid injections, as well as most spinal injections, are performed using a special x-ray guidance system called fluoroscopy. This allows the doctor to immediately see an x-ray image on a television screen and inject the medicine precisely into the right spot. The procedure time is often less than 10-15 minutes.