When most people think of anabolic steroids, they might picture large muscles and a toned physique. However, there is also the negative side effect of steroids causing gynecomastia. This condition, sometimes called man boobs, can cause an abnormally enlarged chest, puffy nipples, or large areola on one or both breasts. The symptoms can be painful. Additionally, enlarged breast tissue can have a serious negative impact on a man’s emotional well-being. Below are the facts you need to know about the relationship between anabolic steroids and gynecomastia.
Hormonal Balance and Gynecomastia
All human beings, whether male or female, have glandular breast tissue located over the pectoral muscles. This breast tissue responds to the effects of either the female hormone estrogen or the male hormone testosterone. In males, these glands tend to stay small and undeveloped due to the low amount of circulating estrogen and high amount of testosterone.
When your body experiences a disruption in the normal balance between estrogen and testosterone, your breast tissue can respond by growing larger or with other changes like a large areola or puffy, swollen nipples.
Hormone imbalances can occur spontaneously at certain times in a man’s life.
- Early infancy. In the newborn days, male babies frequently have enlarged breast tissue due to exposure to the mother’s hormones in utero. This condition almost always resolves in a few weeks as the baby’s hormone levels reach normal male levels.
- Puberty. The surge of hormones during the puberty phase can also cause enlarged breast tissue in some boys. Fortunately, most of these cases resolve without treatment as puberty comes to an end.
- Later adulthood. After the age of 50, men can develop male breasts due to the natural decline in their body’s testosterone production. The breast tissue changes in these cases may respond to testosterone replacement supplements or they may be permanent.
Steroids and Gynecomastia
Taking an anabolic steroid can cause an imbalance in your body’s hormone production that often leads to the development of enlarged breast tissue.
Anabolic steroids are drugs that consist of synthetically produced testosterone. Many men who take anabolic steroid drugs do so to increase their muscle mass and enhance their exercise routine. While there are some legitimate reasons why a doctor may prescribe a steroid, using these drugs strictly for athletic performance enhancement is a dangerous practice.
Since undesired breast tissue develops from an overabundance of estrogen, it may seem confusing that a synthetic testosterone drug can cause the condition. Taking steroids intermittenly can cause a huge drop in testosterone once you complete a steroid cycle.
This extreme change in testosterone causes an imbalance where your estrogen level is temporarily much higher than that of your testosterone. This unopposed estrogen can then stimulate the pectoral glandular tissue to grow to an abnormally large size.
This growth continues to accumulate with every steroid cycle, so man boobs can slowly get worse over time. This unwanted tissue can grow evenly on both breasts, or one side may show more effects than the other. Since the extent of tissue growth often corresponds to the length of time you take a steroid, and you may experience pain if your breast tissue continues to grow due to extended steroid use.
Solutions for Steroid-Induced Gynecomastia
It’s a common misconception that any breast enlargement issues you may experience while taking a steroid will disappear after you stop taking the drug. In reality, since a steroid drug stimulates the growth of actual glandular breast tissue, the changes to can be permenant.
You may have also heard some suggestions for estrogen-blocking supplements that can help you avoid developing an enlarged chest while taking a steroid. However, these products appear to have little to no effect in decreasing or neutralizing estrogen levels.
There are a couple of viable alternatives for addressing your enlarged breast tissue.
While some cases of male breast enlargement may resolve with or with medical treatment, this could potentially not be the case for steroid-induced gynecomastia. The increased glandular tissue resulting using an anabolic steroid will not resolve on its own. Furthermore, it could potentially not be responsive to weight loss, exercise or any medical treatments.
Plastic surgery is can be very effective for removing the overgrown glandular tissue and returning your chest to its normal size and shape. However, surgery is not an ideal option for every man. You should keep in mind that any surgical procedure carries its own risks and requires recovery time.
While they won’t permanently reduce gynecomastia, compression shirts and nipple covers can make a significant difference in boosting confidence. These clothing items can hide man boobs and puffy nipples. They can be a great solution when a more involved medical procedure like surgery isn’t an option.
Confidence Bodywear offers a wide selection of products to fit your individual needs. These products offer gentle and effective shaping for comfort, ease of use and increased body confidence on a daily basis.