Can Bodybuilding Cause Gynecomastia?

Understanding the Relationship Between Gynecomastia and Bodybuilding

Bodybuilding is a widely admired sport that involves building muscle through workouts, diet changes, and sometimes supplements that ultimately affect your body’s appearance. If you are a bodybuilder or know someone who is, you may have heard of gynecomastia, or heard it referred to as “man boobs.”

This condition doesn’t cause a medical emergency, but Dr. Mazaheri is here to help you understand this condition that primarily affects bodybuilders and offer them surgical solutions. Before getting into the treatment options, let’s go over gynecomastia and how bodybuilders are specifically affected.

What Is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is the development of glandular tissue around the nipple area in males, resulting in a swollen, fatty chest. While typically harmless, it can cause psychological and social distress to those who have it.

The condition primarily stems from an imbalance in estrogen and androgen levels. Gynecomastia can affect all men regardless of their fitness and body fat level. If caught in the early stages, some treatments may reverse this condition; however, surgical intervention might be necessary for persistent cases.

What Is Bodybuilder Gynecomastia?

Bodybuilder gynecomastia occurs when male bodybuilders develop breast tissue due to hormonal imbalances. Anabolic steroid use is a common cause, elevating estrogen levels and disrupting the natural hormone balance. It’s crucial to note that anabolic steroid use is illegal and poses severe health risks, including cardiovascular issues and mental health concerns. Seek advice from a qualified plastic surgeon like Dr. Mazaheri before considering performance-enhancing drugs to fully understand the associated risks and benefits.

How Common Is Gynecomastia in Bodybuilders?

Although it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact number, gynecomastia is not uncommon among bodybuilders. Since the use of anabolic steroids is illegal, many may not feel comfortable seeking a doctor. Still, research suggests a significant number of bodybuilders undergo surgical treatment for gynecomastia.

what causes gyno in bodybuildersWhat Causes Gynecomastia in Bodybuilders?

What Causes Gynecomastia in Bodybuilders?

Gynecomastia in bodybuilders is attributed to hormonal imbalances, notably elevated estrogen levels and decreased androgen levels. Various factors, natural and synthetic, contribute to this imbalance, such as:

  • Anabolic Steroids
    Synthetic testosterone disrupts hormone balance, increasing estrogen levels and developing breast tissue.
  • Alcohol Consumption
    Reduces testosterone and elevates estrogen levels, fostering gynecomastia.
  • Medical Conditions
    Liver disease, kidney failure, and hypogonadism can disrupt hormone balance, fostering gynecomastia.
  • Medications
    Antibiotics, anti-anxiety, and anti-ulcer meds can raise estrogen levels, contributing to gynecomastia. Medications like Spironolactone, Ketoconazole, and Cimetidine are associated with gynecomastia.
  • Puberty
    Gynecomastia may be present in boys going through puberty, most commonly occurring between ages 13 and 14 years. This condition typically resolves within six months to two years, but may persist in some individuals beyond age 17.
  • HIV/AIDS Treatment
    Some treatments for HIV/AIDS, like HAART, can lead to gynecomastia.

How Can Steroids and Prohormones Cause Gynecomastia in Bodybuilders?

A notable side effect of hormones used in bodybuilders is the appearance of gynecomastia. We do not know the number of cases of gynecomastia caused by steroids used in bodybuilding, nor do we know who is most likely to develop gynecomastia. The use of supplements and hormones in bodybuilding and fitness has not been rigorously studied regarding their effectiveness and safety, and yet there is no lack of personal testimony and advice available on the Internet regarding these powerful substances.

Discover How to Self-Check for Gynecomastia!

What Is the Difference Between Bodybuilding Gynecomastia and Chest Fat?

Gynecomastia differs from pseudogynecomastia (also known as lipomastia), where breast enlargement results from fat deposits, common in overweight males. If you are a male with enlarged or tender breasts, call your healthcare provider, and they can examine to determine whether the tissue in your breasts is fatty or glandular.

Symptoms of Bodybuilder Gynecomastia

If you’re asking yourself, “How do I know if I have gynecomastia?”, know that the symptoms of bodybuilder gynecomastia are usually visual, the most common being:

A noticeable enlargement of breast tissue.
Tenderness in your breasts or chest area that’s sensitive to the touch.
Nipple discharge, which may be clear or milky in appearance.
Skin texture becomes thicker or more firm.
Psychological distress, such as decreased self-esteem, embarrassment, and anxiety.

gynecomastia symptoms


How Is Gynecomastia Treated for Bodybuilders?

  • Lifestyle Changes
    This involves adjusting habits like reducing or stopping steroid use, cutting back on alcohol, and maintaining a balanced diet and exercise routine.
  • Medications
    Some cases may benefit from medications like selective estrogen receptor modulators, which help regulate hormone levels.
  • Surgery
    In severe instances, surgery such as liposuction or mastectomy may be necessary to remove breast tissue.

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Bodybuilder Gynecomastia Without Surgery

For those looking for non-surgical methods, natural approaches can help rebalance estrogen and testosterone levels. This includes incorporating cruciferous vegetables into the diet and avoiding foods known to increase estrogen levels, such as sesame seeds, dried fruits, yams, tofu, and turmeric. Lifestyle habits like getting enough sleep, exercising regularly (especially building leg muscle), managing stress, and considering certain vitamin supplements like vitamin D and magnesium can also be beneficial.

Exercises May Not Reduce Gynecomastia

While exercise is sometimes suggested, it’s generally ineffective for reducing glandular tissue growth caused by gynecomastia, especially when triggered by anabolic steroid use. Gynecomastia is primarily a medical condition, and exercise is not typically prescribed as a specific treatment, although reducing overall body fat through calorie deficit can help. Chest exercises may enhance the appearance of the chest muscles, but they won’t address the underlying issue of glandular tissue growth.

Are There Supplements That Reduce Bodybuilder Gynecomastia?

Regarding supplements, there are no FDA-approved options for treating gynecomastia. Some over-the-counter supplements claim to be effective, but their efficacy is largely unproven, and they’re not regulated like prescription drugs. It’s essential to consult a healthcare provider before taking any supplement, especially for medical conditions like gynecomastia.

Supplements That Reduce Bodybuilder Gynecomastia

Are There Supplements That Reduce Bodybuilder Gynecomastia?


Choose Dr. Mazaheri for Your Gynecomastia Surgery

Understanding the causes and differentiation of gynecomastia is crucial for effective diagnosis and management, especially in bodybuilders where hormonal imbalances are prevalent.

If you’re worried about having bodybuilder gynecomastia, schedule a judgment-free consultation today with the premier board-certified plastic surgeon in Scottsdale, Dr. Mazaheri. We want to help you get back to your regular self, no matter the cause or reason. In your consultation, you’ll discuss treatment options that are best suited for you and answer any questions you may have. Our reliable team at Dr. Mazaheri will be there for you the entire time, from the initial consultation to your recovery.

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Can Bodybuilding Cause Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia in bodybuilders is primarily linked to the use of anabolic steroids.

How Do Bodybuilders Remove Gynecomastia?
Early-stage gynecomastia can be managed with prescription drugs, while fully developed cases usually require surgical removal for effective treatment.

Do Natural Bodybuilders Get Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia can affect men regardless of their bodybuilding methods, it’s most often associated with anabolic steroid use.

Can You Reverse Gyno From Steroids?
Research suggests that anti-estrogen drugs like tamoxifen can help reduce estradiol levels caused by the breakdown of anabolic steroids, potentially reversing gynecomastia.

Does Gynecomastia Go Away on Its Own?
It won’t go away on its own, but if you catch gynecomastia at an early stage, it may respond to certain prescription medications.

Can Gynecomastia Come Back After Surgery?
The recurrence of gynecomastia post-surgery depends on factors such as the extent of the procedure, recovery speed, and the intensity of postoperative training, which a surgeon should guide.

Dr. Mehdi K. Mazaheri, MD, PC

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon | Profile | Posts
Dr. Mehdi K. Mazaheri

Dr. Mazaheri is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and a member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. After more than sixteen years of education and advanced training, Dr. Mazaheri opened his Scottsdale practice in 2003. He is a thorough and experienced surgeon with a strong focus on achieving patient needs. Dr. Mazaheri’s areas of specialty include breast and body contouring procedures such as breast augmentation, mastopexy, tummy tucks, liposuction and other body sculpting procedures. He and his friendly staff will only recommend procedures that will help you achieve your desired results. Focusing on your needs both before and after a procedure is Dr. Mazaheri’s top priority.

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