One way that it works is to decrease inflammation (swelling). It does this by preventing infection- fighting white blood cells (polymorphonuclear leukocytes) from traveling to the area of swelling in your body. (This is why you are more prone to infection while taking steroids). Taking advantage of the anti-inflammatory properties of the medication, corticosteroids are used to decrease the swelling around tumors. For example, by decreasing swelling around tumors in the spine, brain, or bone, it can decrease the pressure of the tumor on nerve endings and relieve pain or other symptoms caused by the pressing tumor.
[ Editor's Note: Chryste Gaines, MBA, Olympic gold and bronze medal sprinter and former teammate of Marion Jones in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, stated the following in a Dec. 22, 2008 email to in response to the IOC ruling:
"We are being unfairly punished. If the drug testing agencies cannot determine if an athlete is taking performance enhancing drugs how are the teammates supposed to know?... It negates all the family functions, church functions, and social events we missed in the name of winning an Olympic medal." ]
Anabolic and androgenic steroids are available as prescription medications to be used in cases in which the body does not make enough hormone and supplementation may be required. Some hormone supplements in this pathway include growth hormone and testosterone itself. These medications are legally prescribed by health-care providers, but this group of drugs is often used illegally and abused to help increase athletic performance and improve body appearance. When used in a well-nourished body, anabolic steroids will cause weight gain primarily due to an increase in muscle mass.