Gynecomastia and Bodybuilding

A common cause of gynecomastia (man boobs) is the use of anabolic steroids by bodybuilders. Not all males who use anabolics develop gynecomastia; however, it isn’t an unusual result of the drug. It is difficult to predict who will experience this result, but it’s possible that young individuals who have some degree of man boobs, to begin with, are more prone to develop gynecomastia.

In sports such as bodybuilding, popular anabolic steroids are taken to improve physical performance. The most common anabolic steroids go through a process called “aromatization,” or conversion to estrogen-like compounds. Conversion to estrogen causes a shift in the ratio of estrogen to testosterone, resulting in the growth of breast tissue. The use of anabolics provides an extra source of hormone in the organism, and will, therefore, cause the testes to reduce their normal production of testosterone in a “negative feedback mechanism.” Consequently, the ratio of estrogen to testosterone is off balance for a long time, leading to extra glandular breast tissue. Once this tissue has formed, the breast does not return to normal once the use of the steroid is stopped. Over time, especially with continued use of the drug, the tissue gradually builds up with an accumulation of breast, fat, and scar tissue.

Gynecomastia in Adolescents

The diagnosis of gynecomastia in adolescents is reported to occur in 3% to 65% of adolescent males. The basic reason for this wide range is the lack of standardized sizing of the glandular tissue. In clinical studies of the condition, specialists use a size range of anywhere from 0,5 to 2 cm to make their diagnosis. The growth of glandular tissue seems to occur between the ages of 10-13 yrs old, starting approximately 6 months after the onset of secondary male characteristics. This is caused by an imbalance between estrogen, which stimulates breast growth, and the hormone testosterone, which reduces the effect of estrogen. Most cases of man boobs in boys regress with maturity, but it never diminishes for approximately 5% of men. In such cases, the tissue becomes fibrous and firm in nature upon reaching adulthood.

The medical treatment of gynecomastia in adolescents is currently in the testing phase. To date, there are no drugs recommended by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of gynecomastia. Some of the medications under investigation are tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen receptors. Clearly, much further research is required to develop an efficient drug that will be approved by the FDA for the global public.

Gynecomastia in adults

There are many possible causes of gynecomastia in adults. It can just be a remnant of youth. However, the following bring on the majority of causes:
-Persistent adolescent gynecomastia: 25%
-Drug-induced: 10%-25%
-No detectable abnormality: 25%
-Malnutrition and liver disease: 8%
-Primary hypogonadism: 8%
-Testicular tumors: 3%
-Secondary hypogonadism: 2%
-Hypothyroidism: 1%-2%
As you have seen, 25% of cases that present are the remnant of adolescent gynecomastia. For the most part, the rest either have unknown causes or are drug-induced or hormone-induced. As males age, testosterone hormone is frequently converted to estrogen. The gradual decrease production of this hormone accounts for many hormone-induced gynecomastia cases in adult males. Drugs or medications are another common cause of man boobs. For this reason, it is primarily important to carefully review and think about any possible risks that may be linked with a substance you are considering taking. In some cases, breast cancer may be present; however, this is seen essentially in men over 70 yrs of age.
Pseudogynecomastia is a common occurrence, which means male breast enlargement with fat deposits, unlike glandular enlargement, which is the case with man boobs – gynecomastia. Pseudogynecomastia is generally connected with significant weight gain. In these conditions, the standard patient will state that his breast enlargement wasn’t present as a teenager, but grew later in life as his weight increased. For these patients, it is often a probability to produce a desirable result using liposuction alone.


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