Now, bodybuilders seeking steroids have needed to seek the black market or the internet, which means they could easily buy contaminated, counterfeit, or risky product. That doesn’t even include the legalities involved in buying prescription based products.
Enter the solution — doctors.
Finding A Loophole
It’s called anabolic steroid induced hypogonadism, or ASIH, and it’s a condition that many body builders see at the end of their steroid cycles. After a round of steroids, a bodybuilder’s natural testosterone levels drop into a suppressed period. At this point, the body would test the same as a person with low testosterone. When presented to a doctor, the normal treatment is to prescribe anabolic steroids.
It’s this trick that bodybuilders have been using to work around the issues of illegal purchases through the internet or the black market.
However, this doesn’t work for all bodybuilders because of complexity of the human body. Testosterone levels in humans aren’t always on a perfect cycle.
Because of that, some bodybuilders seek the use of synthetic steroids. These include nandrolone, stanozolo, decanoate, and trenbolone acetate. Taking these before blood tests reduces the level of natural testosterone the body produces. Patients present with ASIH or hypogonadism. When this happens, doctors prescribe them with a strong course of anabolic steroids.
Removing the Wool
Steven Miller, an Endocrinologist and Internal Medicine Physician at the Waitemata District Health Board (DHB) in New Zealand, says that he and fellow physicians are seeing more and more people coming in trying to use this trick.
“They think they’re pulling the wool over our eyes,” Dr. Miller said. “They think they’ve fooled us into prescribing them testosterone because we think they have symptoms of ASIH or hypogonadism.”
In New Zealand, many of the steroids, such as Sustanon and Reandron, are funded or subsidized by the government. They’re part of testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT, and the Pharmaceutical Management Agency, or simply PHARMAC, recognizes it as a legitimate health concern affecting men.
That’s good news for bodybuilders. Not only are they able to access pharmaceutical quality steroids, but they’re able to do so with a prescription, avoid the legal ramifications, and have the government pay for it — or at least subsidize it.
But the gig could be up soon. Dr. Miller believes that many of his colleagues are catching on to this deception, especially endocrinologists.
They run more extensive tests before arriving at a diagnosis such as hypogonadism or ASIH. Many general practitioners are fooled only because they aren’t required to run as many tests or don’t have the capability.
“My last patient was in his 20s and handed me a report suggesting his testosterone levels were low for someone at his age,” Dr. Miller recalled. “We ran more tests and the results showed no abnormal results and that he was healthy. He immediately became shy and didn’t want to talk about it much anymore. I offered to run more tests, but I never heard from the man again after that. It was obvious what he was trying to do.”
As it currently stands, doctors are under no obligation to document patients attempting to rig the system. However, Dr. Miller says that medical professionals often need to note medical history on patient records. These records could one day prevent them from obtaining testosterone supplement when they’re older and/or need them most.