Their use is referred to as doping and banned by most major sporting bodies.
For many years, AAS have been by far the most detected doping substances in IOC-accredited laboratories.
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The American College of Sports Medicine acknowledges that AAS, in the presence of adequate diet, can contribute to increases in body weight, often as lean mass increases and that the gains in muscular strength achieved through high-intensity exercise and proper diet can be additionally increased by the use of AAS in some individuals.
These effects include harmful changes in cholesterol levels (increased low-density lipoprotein and decreased high-density lipoprotein), acne, high blood pressure, liver damage (mainly with most oral AAS), and dangerous changes in the structure of the left ventricle of the heart.
Conditions pertaining to hormonal imbalances such as gynecomastia and testicular size reduction may also be caused by AAS.
Ergogenic uses for AAS in sports, racing, and bodybuilding as performance-enhancing drugs are controversial because of their adverse effects and the potential to gain unfair advantage in competitive physical competitions.