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Fertil Steril. 1989 Dec;52(6):1041-7.

Anabolic steroids and semen parameters in bodybuilders.

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  • 1Max Planck Clinical Research Unit for Reproductive Medicine, M√ľnster, Federal Republic of Germany.


The influence of high-dose anabolic steroid administration on endocrine and semen parameters of 41 bodybuilders (age, 26.7 +/- 0.7 years [mean +/- SEM]; height, 182 +/- 1 cm; weight, 97.5 +/- 2.0 kg) was investigated. History of anabolic steroid administration was recorded retrospectively, and results of semen analysis were compared with data from 41 consecutively recruited normal volunteers not using any steroids or other drugs. Doses of anabolic steroids taken by bodybuilders exceeded those generally applied for clinical purposes by up to 40-fold. Although only 5 of the normal volunteers had sperm counts below the lower normal limit of 20 x 10(6) sperm/mL, 24 of the bodybuilders showed subnormal values. Depending on the duration of anabolic steroid use and the period since last drug intake before the investigation, percentages of motile and normally formed sperm were significantly reduced in bodybuilders compared with normal volunteers. In those bodybuilders who had stopped consumption of anabolic steroids greater than 4 months previously, sperm numbers were in the normal range. Results suggest that even after prolonged use of extremely high doses of anabolic steroids, sperm production may return to normal.

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