Columbia University Medical Center A new study claims that anabolic steroids taken by few athletes to build muscle and strength could result in kidney disease. Apparently doctors haven’t earlier realized that steroids, which are supposedly identified to cause several health problems, can also gravely damage the kidneys.

In the new study, Dr. Leal Herlitz, of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and her colleagues examined around 10 bodybuilders who were long-time users of steroids. It was noticed that protein started to seep into their urine and thus they apparently lost kidney function.

Tests displayed that all but one of the bodybuilders developed a kidney-scarring condition called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. As per the study experts, this condition supposedly grows when the kidneys are overworked. The kidney scarring in the study patients appeared worse as compared to occasionally observed in morbidly obese people.

Herlitz mentioned, “Athletes who use anabolic steroids and the doctors caring for them need to be aware of the potentially serious risks to the kidney.”

Nevertheless, it was seen that except for one, who went on to develop end-stage kidney failure and thus required dialysis, the kidneys of the bodybuilders became better when they stopped consuming steroids, even though one patient relapsed upon taking steroids again. The experts believe that swiftly growing muscle mass apparently puts a lot of pressure on kidneys, and the steroids themselves could be poisonous to the organs.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology, held Oct. 27 to Nov. 1 in San Diego.