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The link between anabolic steroids and gynecomastia in men

Gynecomastia is a problem that occurs in some men in which breast tissue develops. It is often caused by some type of disruption to the endocrine system. This is the system of the body which consists of glands that secrete various hormones, so any thing that upsets the homeostatic balance of particular sex hormones can result in gynecomastia.

There are some cases where a man may not have extra breast tissue because of hormonal problems but rather from having too much fat that accumulates behind the areolae of the chest. This condition is sometimes distinguished from gynecomastia and is called lipomastia or adipomastia.

Interestingly gynecomastia is not uncommon in newborn male infants and is found in from 60 to 90% of newborn baby boys, but the condition usually goes away on its own. It can occur in about 1/3 of men between 25 and 45 and it becomes more prevalent with age.

How steroids cause hormonal problems

One of the major factors associated with the development of gynecomastia in men is the use of anabolic steroids, causing as many as 25% of all cases in men. Steroid abuse has long been a problem in the sports world, and the concern is that there are unpleasant side effects with these drugs.

The steroids often alter the balance of estrogen and androgen hormones in people. A man usually has a lot of the androgen hormones like testosterone and very little estrogen, but the steroids affect the concentrations. This hormonal imbalance is believed to be the main causative factor of gynecomastia in men.

Not all of the steroid drugs necessarily cause breast development, but those that do often do so because they can cause a change in hormone levels. The synthetic steroid mimics the effect of naturally produced testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone most associated with muscle development in boys at puberty, and it can lead to increased muscle mass as boys mature during adolescence. Unfortunately the body tends to convert the artificial testosterone found in anabolic steroids into estrogen after a while which then leads to breast tissue development.

What can be done about gynecomastia?

The most permanent solution to the problem of gynecomastia is to have breast reduction surgery as is done at such places as the Vera Clinic in Turkey. A surgeon can remove the excess breast tissue from the chest area to create a more masculine appearance. A man does have to be healthy enough to undergo surgery though, so this is something to keep in mind and why consulting with a physician is a good first step in looking for treatment options.

For some men, the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen has proved helpful in treating their gynecomastia condition. If a man has breast tissue because of being overweight, the first step should be to try to lose weight by starting an exercise program and following a healthy diet. In the end this can only benefit you even if you later decide on breast reduction surgery.


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