We live in a world where looking your best and being as close to perfection as possible is the ultimate goal, and we are forced to make choices. Using steroids could provide the perfect body that will be loved and adored on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms, as well as win competitions, but at what cost? Gynecomastia – man boobs? Is it worth it? Can it be avoided?
To avoid gynecomastia, consider:
- Abstaining from anabolic steroids
- Using natural alternatives to steroids
- Eating testosterone-enhancing foods
- Increasing your intake of testosterone-producing nutrients
- Consuming less phytoestrogen foods
- Including aerobic workouts
- Consuming no alcohol
- Knowing the warning signs
In order to truly understand the complex world of steroids and gynecomastia, it is important to have all the facts. Gynecomastia is avoidable and having a drop-dead gorgeous body is absolutely attainable. Knowledge on this subject is definitely power.
What is Gynecomastia?
Simply put, gynecomastia is what is known as man boobs. They occur when the breast tissue in males enlarges. This happens as a result of low testosterone levels. The surplus tissue can either be made up of excess fat, glandular tissue, or a combination of both. It is a condition that is prominent amongst bodybuilders that use anabolic steroids, however it is also caused by genetics, hormone imbalances, weight gain, and medication side effects.
No matter the cause of gynecomastia, it can cause mental health problems and leave men feeling ashamed of their physique.
For those athletes who develop gynecomastia, it is even more of a problem, as improving their physiques is one of their primary goals. Thus, it is necessary to understand what steroids are, how they impact the body, what can be done to avoid getting gynecomastia, and how to get rid of gynecomastia.
What are Anabolic Steroids?
Anabolic steroids are made in a laboratory and mimic testosterone. (Testosterone is the primary sex hormone found in men. It is responsible increases muscle and bone mass.)
Anabolic steroids can be used to treat certain illnesses, such as breast cancer, short stature, and anemia to name a few, but they are also used by athletes to build muscle and improve strength.
Why do Steroids cause Gynecomastia?
Steroids tend to cause hormone imbalances and they increase the amount of estrogen in a man’s body.
This is specifically the case with anabolic steroids such as Anadrol, Dianabol, and Deca Durabolin.
The more a person uses anabolic steroids, the more the natural production of testosterone is inhibited and the more estrogen the body produces to try to restore its natural hormone balance.
The kicker occurs when the user ends his steroid cycle and his body no longer produces enough or any testosterone and is overproducing estrogen. The sudden stop of the steroids throws out the user’s body completely. The body is still producing massive amounts of estrogen and little to no testosterone. The undesired result for the body proud male, man boobs.
How to Limit the Chances of Getting Gynecomastia
Because anabolic steroids are synthetic, they are not natural to the body. Too much of a good thing, in this case testosterone, is bound to have some poor side effects.
As previously stated anabolic steroids have some really important uses, however, when abused the side effects can be catastrophic and instead of making a person feel proud of his body, he will be left feeling ashamed and embarrassed. If possible, it is best to avoid anabolic steroids.
To avoid gynecomastia , it may be beneficial to try natural alternatives rather than anabolic steroids. Natural steroids are compounds that are generally found in plants, herbs, and other natural sources. Some examples of natural steroids include:
Creatine – this natural steroid is FDA approved and studies have shown that 5 to 7 days of continuous use of creatine, increase a person’s strength, power, and overall sports performance.
Ashwagandha – this natural steroid comes from an evergreen shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and some parts of Africa. A study done in 2018 recorded that men who took ashwagandha every day for 12 weeks, while training, displayed greater upper and lower body strength and an improved body mass.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (aka DHEA) – is considered to be a super hormone that is naturally produced by the body. It is a supplement that is made from the chemicals found in wild yams and soy.
Another way to avoid gynecomastia is to eat testosterone enhancing foods. These foods include:
Ginger – A study conducted in 2012 showed that participants who took a ginger supplement for 3 months every day were rewarded with increased testosterone levels by up to 17.7%.
Oysters – this is because oysters contain large amounts of zinc. Zinc is vital for healthy sperm and reproduction function, including the production of testosterone.
Eggs – eggs are the best source of protein, cholesterol, vitamin D, and omega-3s. All are these are vital to the production of healthy testosterone. Eggs provide a double whammy though because they are high in protein they are great for muscle building, which all health fanatics love.
Spinach and other leafy greens – spinach and other leafy greens are brilliant sources of micronutrients but, most importantly, magnesium, B6, and iron. These nutrients reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress affects the production of testosterone and sperm; thus, lowering this kind of stress will only improve testosterone production.
Salmon, tuna, fatty fish, and fish oil – the wonderful foods contain vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3s, which means that consumers of such foods are sure to reap the rewards of healthy sperm and improved testosterone production.
While there is an abundance of healthy foods that encourage the production of testosterone, there are also foods that should be avoided. Some of these foods are processed foods, canned foods, or food packaged in plastic, alcohol.
There is an abundance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that assist in the production of testosterone. Many of the nutrients are found in testosterone-boosting foods.
Others are vitamins, such as vitamin A – found in sweet potatoes, carrots, cod liver oil, leaf greens, etc.
Vitamin B is a natural hormone booster and, therefore, will only benefit a person’s testosterone production. Vitamin B is found in pork, nuts, seafood, root veggies, and leafy greens.
Vitamin D is profound when it comes to testosterone production. It is considered a steroid hormone. This super vitamin is found in mushrooms, oysters, eggs, fish, and milk.
Magnesium controls over 300 of the body’s functions. Its biological function is broad. However, it is imperative in helping muscle contraction and increasing the bio-active free testosterone.
A person’s endocrine system relies on zinc! It is crucial in maintaining the integrity of immune efficiency and metabolism. One study indicated that those people who suffer from zinc deficiency are more likely to suffer from malnutrition, and zinc deficiency is associated with 1.8 million deaths per annum.
While eating right for testosterone production is important, it is also vital to consume fewer phytoestrogen foods. Phytoestrogens are compounds that mimic estrogen in the body. This then means that they will promote the growth of man boobs! Phytoestrogens are found in fruits, and veggies, especially legumes, wine, and tea.
Lastly, it is so important to know the warning signs of gynecomastia. If a user knows the warning signs, they will be able to seek treatment and support early on. What are some of the warning signs:
- Swollen breast tissue
- Breast tenderness
- Nipple sensitivity
- Uneven boob sizes
If gynecomastia is present, what can be done to get rid of it?
How do you get rid of Gynecomastia?
In most cases, the appearance of man boobs can be improved through a combination of diet and exercise.
Choose exercises that specifically target the pectoral muscles. These will strengthen the underlying muscles, which helps to reduce a sagging appearance that may be present with gynecomastia. Exercise will also assist in toning the chest and reducing the amount of fat, further improving the appearance of gynecomastia.
Some helpful exercises to consider include barbell bench presses, flat or incline bench presses, cable crossovers, and simple pushups.
Of course, diet and exercise always go hand in hand, so it is also important to evaluate eating habits and alcohol consumption.
Aim to make small, gradual changes in order to facilitate gradual, sustainable weight loss to the chest area while maintaining the muscle built.
Secondly, it is important to stop the use of drugs and steroids. As already discussed, steroids upset the hormone balance in the body and stop the natural production of testosterone and can overstimulate the production of estrogen.
Find out about hormone treatments. There has been some success in rebalancing the hormone levels within the body that limits the appearance of gynecomastia.
There are also breast cancer medications that have proved successful in the treatment of gynecomastia. These medications are Taxoxifen and Arimidex (as well as other aromatase inhibitors.)
Lastly, surgery may need to be considered. While weight-loss, abstinence from steroids, exercise, etc may limit the growth of male breast tissue, it may not be enough to reverse it. There are two main types of surgery that can be considered: liposuction and a mastectomy. Liposuction is when the breast fat is removed but the breast tissue gland remains. A mastectomy on the other hand is the removal of the breast tissue gland.
Ending a steroid cycle can lead to a rapid decrease in a man’s testosterone levels. These low testosterone levels can be seen in:
- A decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased stomach fat (a spare tyre)
- Lack of body hair
- High voice pitch
- Low muscle mass
- Smaller testicles or penis
It is therefore of utmost importance that taking steroids is done with care and under the guidance of a professional. A person must watch what they eat to ensure that they are providing his body with the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that promote the physique that he wanting to obtain, in order to further his career or hobby as a bodybuilder and to limit the chances of gynecomastia.