What causes bodybuilder gynecomastia?
- Bodybuilder gynecomastia is most often caused by an excessive amount of estrogen or prolactin as a result of inappropriate anabolic steroid use, most commonly testosterone or it’s derivatives. When high levels of testosterone hormones are injected, a portion of that testosterone is converted into estrogen by the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase converts testosterone into estrogen, causing gynecomastia.
- Certain steroids are known to increase prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone that can also cause gynecomastia in men independently of estrogen.
- Treatments such as Testosterone replacement therapy can help but should be done under the supervision of a physician to prevent complications such as gynecomastia. It is important to prevent the onset of gynecomastia by routine laboratory monitoring and the use of medications such as an aromatase inhibitor.
How can bodybuilders get rid of gynecomastia?
- Once bodybuilder gynecomastia appears, it is very important to try to get it treated by a medical professional before it becomes permanent.
- Medications such as an aromatase inhibitor or estrogen receptor blockers can be successful at reversing gynecomastia. These medications should be started as early as possible to be effective at preventing the progression of gynecomastia. Decreasing the dose or eliminating testosterone replacement therapy is also an option since less testosterone will be available to be turned into estrogen.
- If the gynecomastia persists for approximately one year or more, fibrosis and scar tissue will develop and the gynecomastia will become irreversible and will require surgical excision of the extra glandular tissue in the male chest area by an experienced surgeon.
Are there natural ways to get rid of bodybuilder gynecomastia without surgery?
- There are ways to balance your estrogen and testosterone levels naturally through diet and lifestyle choices. For example, cruciferous vegetables are known to keep estrogen levels low by decreasing its conversion from testosterone. Staying away from foods that increase estrogen levels such as sesame seeds, dried fruits, yams, tofu, and turmeric can also help.
- Raising your testosterone naturally can help prevent gynecomastia. Getting plenty of sleep, building lean muscle particularly in your legs, minimize stress, and taking appropriate vitamin supplements all can help build your testosterone levels naturally as well, you can read more in this article.
What if I still have gynecomastia?
- Your diet and lifestyle can help reduce the appearance of “man boobs” or pseudo-gynecomastia but it can’t help cure true bodybuilder gynecomastia. If you have true gynecomastia, surgery is the only treatment that will permanently get rid of enlarged breast tissue in the male chest.
- The type of surgery will depend upon the size of the breast gland, the amount of surrounding breast fat, the medical condition of the patient, and other various factors that the surgeon will have to consider in order to offer the best possible surgical result.
- Many bodybuilders are concerned with when they are able to resume their competing professionally again after surgery. Depending upon the extent of the surgery, the speed of recovery, and the intensity of the training following your surgery – your surgeon can provide guidance on how soon you can resume physical exercise.