Anabolic steroids do have legitimate medical uses. They were first synthesized in the 1930s to treat underdeveloped testes and resulting testosterone deficiency. In the 1950s, they were used to treat anemia and muscle-wasting disorders and to bulk up patients whose muscles had atrophied from extended bed rest. In the 1960s, anabolic steroids were used to treat some forms of dwarfism. Today anabolic steroids are being studied for their ability to alleviate the extreme body wasting associated with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Their most common use, however, remains among athletes seeking a quick competitive edge.
Depending on the number and character of their functional groups, steroid molecules may show diverse reactivities. Moreover, the reactivity of a functional group varies according to its location within the molecule (for example, esters are formed readily by 3-OH groups but only with difficulty by the 11β-OH group). An important property of steroids is polarity —., their solubility in oxygen-containing solvents (., water and alcohols ) rather than hydrocarbon solvents (., hexane and benzene ). Hydroxyl, ketonic, or ionizable (capable of dissociating to form electrically charged particles) groups in a steroid molecule increase its polarity to an extent that is strongly influenced by the spatial arrangement of the atoms within the molecule.
Women - On the other hand, women often experience a "masculinization" effect from anabolic steroids, including the following: