If you hang around a gym long enough, then chances are, some dude is gonna mention steroids. It’s probably just a joke or a passing reference, nothing to take seriously. And for the most part, nobody worries about it. Nothing to see here. Right? Right.
The reality, though, is a little more grim: Ever since famed slugger Mark McGwire was infamously accused of using performance-enhancing drugs back in 1998, steroid use has not only become a part of the pro game, but also infiltrated average Joe gyms across America. Even though anabolic steroids are technically illegal—the Drug Enforcement Agency busted 16 labs in September, netting tons of tablets and injectable liquid—that’s not stopping everyday dudes from trying to get their hands on them.
That's right: Everyday dudes. "The main customers for what’s being churned out of the illegal labs the DEA took down are gym-goers who want to get stronger and look different," ace reporter David Epstein wrote in “Everyone’s Juicing," a September 2015 exposé for ProPublica.
But while guys are plenty familiar with the supposed "benefits" of steroids, they’re typically in the dark—or, worse yet, downright misinformed—about all the nasty side effects they have on your body and possibly even your mind. (And they are nasty.)
To clear up some locker-room rumors you may have heard, we talked to two experts: Dr. Ed Sebanegh, M.D., the department chair of urology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and Dr. Stuart Weinerman, M.D., an endocrinologist at North Shore–LIJ Health System in New York. We asked them the awkward questions about some persistent steroid myths, so you don’t have to find out the hard way from some jerk at the gym complaining about the sudden emergence of his man-boobs.