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Steroids and anti-baldness pills: How men are sabotaging their fertility


According to scientists, the lengths that men will go to in order to become physically fit actually lead them to become less fit from an evolutionary perspective. These findings were named the “Mossman-Pacey paradox”, and recently published in The Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine.

How scientists chanced upon the Mossman-Pacey paradox

How did the researchers come to learn about this paradox? A few years back, Dr James Mossman of Brown University noticed that some of the men coming in for fertility treatments were trying to look “really big”, like the “pinnacles of evolution”. However, Dr Mossman noted that these same men were making themselves very unfit in an evolutionary sense, because without exception, they had no sperm in their ejaculation.

How the Mossman-Pacey paradox works

Here’s the Mossman-Pacey paradox, in a nutshell: men hit the gym and turn to anabolic steroids because they’re obsessed with the idea of becoming physically fit, and end up compromising their fertility as a result. As Professor Allan Pacey says, it’s “ironic” that men go to the gym to attract women, and end up decreasing their fertility instead.

If you’re curious about the science behind this, the anabolic steroids consumed by men looking to bulk up basically mimics the effect of testosterone. These steroids trick the brain’s pituitary gland into thinking there’s something wrong with their testes, which leads to the pituitary gland halting production of FSH and LH hormones. Because FSH and LH are two important hormones that aid in sperm production, this impacts men’s fertility.

Steroids aside, Dr James Mossman and Professor Allan Pacey noticed the same pattern in men who use Finasteride, a drug that’s typically administered to combat male pattern baldness. While the drug does help to limit hair loss to some extent, it comes with various side effects, including fertility problems and erectile dysfunction.

Taking steroids and anti-baldness pills turns you into an “evolutionary dud”

The bottom line? While using steroids and anti-baldness pills might make you more attractive, it could also turn you into an “evolutionary dud”.

According to the report on the Mossman-Pacey paradox, 90% of steroid users are likely to become sterile. The researchers admit that consuming baldness pills does not seem to have as large an impact, and tends to be more “hit or miss”, but they point out that we’ve recently seen an increase in the sales of baldness pills, and that the number of associated fertility issues is also on the rise.

The good news? In most cases, men do start producing healthy sperm once they stop taking their steroids or pills. That said, men who have used steroids in large doses for prolonged periods of time may experience “irreversible harm”, which doesn’t bode well for their fertility.

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