Original research| Volume 20, ISSUE 9, P814-818, September 2017

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Somatic effects of AAS abuse: A 30-years follow-up study of male former power sports athletes



      The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between somatic health and former abuse of AAS in former elite male athletes 30 years after the end of their active sports career.


      Retrospective follow-up study.


      N = 996 former elite male athletes were sent a questionnaire concerning sociodemographic variables, previous and past sport activity and lifetime prevalence of seeking professional help for health problems. N = 683 (68.6%) answered the questionnaire. The lifetime prevalence of AAS-abuse was 21% (n = 143), while 79% (n = 540) did not admit having ever used AAS.


      Former AAS-abuse was associated with tendon ruptures (p = 0.01), depression (p = 0.001), anxiety (p = 0.01) and lower prevalence of prostate hypertrophy (p = 0.01) and decreased libido (p = 0.01). Former advanced AAS-abusers had higher anxiety (p = 0.004) compared to the former less advanced AAS-abusers. Moreover, former advanced AAS-abusers, compared to AAS-naïves, reported more psychiatric problems (p = 0.002), depression (p = 0.003) and anxiety (p = 0.00).


      A former AAS-abuse seems to be associated with some somatic and mental health problem, although a former less advanced AAS-abuse is related to lower incidence of prostate hypertrophy. The results raise the question whether some of these associations might be dose- and frequency dependent. These findings should however be seen as hypothesis generating and further studies are needed.


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