Winstrol -- known generically as stanozalol -- is an anabolic steroid, a synthetic hormone similar to testosterone. Winstrol is classified as a controlled substance under the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 because of the potential for abuse by weightlifters and others to build muscle and enhance athletic performance. ]Although Winstrol is no longer legally available in the U.S., it is imported from foreign pharmacies for illegal purposes, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Winstrol can cause major side effects.
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Winstrol and other anabolic steroids cause mood swings known as "roid rage," as George Vecsey noted in "Rodriguez Has Chance to Speak Out Against Steroids" in the Feb. 17, 2009 issue of "The New York Times." These potentially extreme mood swings can lead to violence. Anxiety, jealousy, paranoia, delusions and impaired judgment leading to dangerous risk-taking behaviors are also possible. Winstrol causes an enhanced sense of well-being, and when the drug is stopped, some users experience life-threatening depression, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says.
Winstrol can be toxic to the liver, and cause serious liver damage and even death, according to RxList. Signs of liver damage, including yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and light-colored stools, should be reported to a physician immediately. Use of Winstrol also causes a risk of liver cancer.
Winstrol can cause infertility in males. Testicular shrinkage, reduced sperm count and prostate cancer are other potential dangers to the reproductive organs, RxList explains.
Abuse of Winstrol by teenage males can stunt growth. Wintrol and other anabolic steroids stop growth through premature maturation of the skeleton in those that have not yet finished growing, NIDA says. A permanently shortened stature can result.
Gynecomastia, or the development of breast tissue in males, can result from the disruption of normal hormone levels caused by Winstrol abuse. Up to 50 percent of male bodybuilders have gynecomastia, according to NIDA. Gynecomastia caused by anabolic steroid abuse is permanent.