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What are some different types of steroids?

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Quick Answer

The different types of steroids made by the human body are sex hormones, corticosteroids, mineralocorticoids, bile salts and sterols, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Plants and animals manufacture other types of steroids, and some companies produce steroids such as hydrocortisone and prednisone for use as medications to treat disease.

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Full Answer

Steroids are chemicals that share a common structure, states the University of Rochester Medical Center. Some steroids are hormones, which signal cells in the body to work a certain way, while those that are not hormones directly act on the body to affect change. Humans produce steroids in the brain, kidneys, sex organs and adrenal glands.

Anabolic steroids are male sex hormones known as androgens, maintains the University of Rochester Medical Center. Athletes sometimes abuse anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass and boost athletic performance. Anabolic steroid use increases the user's risk for stroke, heart disease and some forms of cancer. Mood swings, violent behavior and depression are other side effects of illegal anabolic steroid use.

Corticosteroids affect the immune system, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Corticosteroid medications reduce inflammation. More than 100 different corticosteroids have FDA approval for use in patients. With forms ranging from injections to pills to inhalers, corticosteroids treat many diseases including lupus, skin conditions, arthritis, COPD and some cancers.

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