Steroid hormones are a complex concept. They include male and female sex hormones (estrogens, androgens) and corticosteroids, emitted exclusively in the adrenal cortex. They are divided into two groups: glucocorticoid hormones (cortisone, progesterone, aldosterone, corticosterone, pregnenolone, flugestone, medrysone, Prebediolone acetate, cortisol, etc.) and mineralocorticoid hormones (aldosterone, fludrocortisone (Florinef), deoxycorticosterone).
All steroids are of great importance in medicine, as well as a veterinary practice. Corticosteroids serve anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, immunosuppressive medical remedies. Anabolic steroids are used for medically indicated conditions, for example, testosterone insufficiency. Some natural steroids, such as phytoestrogens, are in high demand as herbal medications for some female conditions. This is only a small part of the significant spectrum of steroids’ impact on the organism. Steroids are used to synthesize certain pharmaceutical medications, for instance, squalene, which heals wounds.
Medical Use of Corticosteroids
When administered in dosages bigger than the quantity your body normally synthesizes, corticosteroids decrease redness and swelling (inflammatory processes). This contributes to treating some inflammatory ailments (asthma and eczema and others). Corticosteroids also decrease the activity of the immunity, the organism’s natural defense against illnesses and infections. This promotes treating autoimmune illnesses, for instance, rheumatoid arthritis.
So these steroids are effectual for preventing and removing:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Hay fever
- Painful joints
- Lupus, and other maladies
Medical Use of Mineralocorticoids
The main endogenous mineralocorticoids are aldosterone (produced by the zona glomerulosa) and DOC (deoxycorticosterone or cortexone), which influence the electrolytes and water exchange. Also, carbohydrate and protein metabolism are actively affected by them. Previously, medicaments, based on deoxycortone, namely Deoxycorticosterone acetate (administered vie intermuscular infusions) and deoxycorticosterone trimethylacetate, were widely used in clinical practice. Doctors prescribed them in case of adrenal function deterioration (hypercorticism), Addison’s disease, and myasthenia gravis. Modern medicine considers fludrocortisone a drug, featuring high mineralocorticoid activity, which can be compared with aldosterone’s activity. This medicament replenishes hormone deficiency, caused by adrenal insufficiency. It elevates the glucose blood level and promotes the redistribution of adipose tissue. The drug has a catabolic influence and speeds up the excretion of potassium and calcium.
Medical Use of Female Steroid Hormones
Estrogens, which ovaries synthesize, are responsible for fetal nurturing and normal birth. Proper menstrual cycle is also determined by their impact. These agents form female sex silhouettes, distribute fat in the buttocks area and thighs proportionally. The substance is involved in sebaceous glands work and the skin moisturizing as well as defines calcium rate. For example, the preparation Progynova contains estradiol 17β-valerate (E2V, C23H32O3). When appearing in the organism, it acts as natural estradiol. Therapy with Progynova (also known as Delestrogen, Progynon Depot, and Evatone) doesn’t induce the inhibition of ovulation and practically doesn’t modify the “manufacturing” of hormones. As stated by M. Romano-Torres, A. Fernández-Guasti (Avanzados del IPN. Calzada de los Tenorios, 2010), E2V may provide antidepressant-like action.
Estradiol is aimed at replenishing the female estrogen insufficiency after menopause begins. It affects emotional and vegetative climacteric signs (for example, hot flashes, augmented sweating, insomnia, agita, irritability, rapid mood changes, nervousness, heartbeat abnormalities, heartburn, dizziness, migraine, poor sexual appetite, muscle, and joint pain) by relieving them, thus releasing women from terrible discomfort. The medicine also preserves skin and mucous membranes, especially those of the urogenital system, hindering involuntary urine leakage, dryness, and irritation of the vagina, painful sensations during intercourse.
Hormone replacement treatment, implying estrogen intake, beneficially affects bones, decreasing their resorption and delaying or ceasing bone loss in postmenopausal individuals. Academics have proved that long-lasted systematic therapy significantly diminishes the possibility of peripheral bones fracturing in the post-menopause period.
Anabolic Steroids in Medicine: Indications and Efficacy
It is often presumed that the sports industry (not show business or medicine) is the main sphere of steroid distribution and demand. These preparations (for instance, Anavar) are pervasive among athletes, but in medicine, they do not limit their application.
Healthcare professionals prescribe testosterone’s esters (cypionate, undecanoate, caproate, furoate, nicotinate, valerate, phosphate, isocaproate, etc) and Nandrolone for treating sexual maturation delay in boys, cancer (breast and ovarian), menopausal dysfunctions, etc. Thus, methandrostenolone is helpful for patients suffering from musculature loss. Anabolics are widespread in this area and we currently observe the tendency of gaining momentum.
For a long period, experts have endeavored to discover efficient male contraceptive that wouldn’t trigger a bouquet of negative adverse events (which these remedies usually induce). In the 80s scholars proposed to use testosterone injections of enanthate, whose characteristics met all requirements. Regarding safe application, in 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) determined the recommended dosage: 200 mg of testosterone enanthate intermuscular infusion every week for maintaining innocuous, persistent and reversible infertility for at least 12 months. However, the effectiveness of these drugs is just 80%.
In addition, scientists J.M. Beiner, P. Jokl, J. Cholewicki, and M.M. Panjabi (Yale University School of Medicine, 1999) reported that anabolics may heal muscle contusion injury.