Anabolic steroids, technically known as anabolic-androgen steroids (AAS) or colloquially as "steroids", are drugs that mimic the effects of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone in the body. They increase protein synthesis within cells, which results in the buildup of cellular tissue (anabolism), especially in muscles. Anabolic steroids also have androgenic and virilizing properties, including the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics such as the growth of the vocal cords, testicles, and body hair (secondary sexual characteristics). The word anabolic comes from the Greek _nabolh anabole, "that which is thrown up, mound", and the word androgenic from the Greek _ndros andros, "of a man" + -genhs -genes, "born". Anabolic steroids were first isolated, identified, and synthesized in the 1930s, and are now used therapeutically in medicine to stimulate bone growth and appetite, induce male puberty, and treat chronic wasting conditions, such as cancer and AIDS.
Contributions by Alteripse, Cavell, and Silverback.