Patient: My stepson will be 14and his mother wants to give him testosterone shots because she feels he isn’t growing fast enough. is this safe?
Doctor: Testosterone shots are Anabolic steroids; these refer to hormones or pro-hormones that are either taken orally or by inj ection that influence the body’s hormonal system to produce extra testosterone. The goal of taking anabolic steroids is to increase muscle mass. Anabolic refers to this muscle-building capability. The use of anabolic steroids suppresses the naturally occurring testosterone in the body and, in males, may lead to a decrease in testicle size (atrophy), decreased sperm production, infertility, acne and baldness. As well, the excess steroid can be converted to estrogen in males and may lead to enlarged breasts (known as gynecomastia). Liver damage may often occur, and liver cancer is a risk. Psychiatric effects of steroids include excitation and depression. Aggression is common. Manic episodes of aggressive behavior are known as “roid rage,” and violence may be the outcome. Depression and suicide may also occur. In the view that your son is still growing I do not recommend the use of such substances.