Anabolic steroids (anabolic-androgenic steroids) are steroidal androgenics. They include natural androgens such as testosterone and synthetic androgens. The synthetic androgens have similar chemical structure and similar effects to testosterone.
The steroids increase protein within cells, mainly skeletal muscles. They cause the development and maintenance of male secondary sexual characteristics. They stimulate the growth of hair on the face and body.
Androgens (or AAS) were synthesized in the 1930s. They are now used in medicine to bring on muscle growth and appetite. They also cause male puberty. AAS can also be used to treat chronic wasting conditions such as AIDS and cancer.
Use of androgens in sports, racing and bodybuilding as performance enhancing drugs is under controversy because of their adverse effects. There is also the chance to gain unfair advantage in physical competitions. The use of androgens in sports is called doping. Their use is banned by most major sporting bodies.