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Steroids and Gynecomastia: Prevention and Treatment for Enlarged Male Breasts

July 31, 2020

Steroid use is a common cause for gynecomastia that develops as an adult. Thankfully, there are effective treatments available to resolve gynecomastia for those who experience the condition after taking steroids. In addition, many patients can avoid the condition altogether by altering the substances they use. Here are some basics that you should know regarding steroids and gynecomastia.

What is Gynecomastia?

Simply stated, gynecomastia is the growth of enlarged breast tissue in males. It can be caused by several factors, including genetics, hormone imbalance, weight gain, or side effects from medications (including steroids). Gynecomastia can present in several ways, with the appearance caused by excess fat, excess glandular tissue, or a combination of both. It consists of both a changed physical appearance and sensation change, with some types of gynecomastia causing mild breast pain when touched.

How Do Steroids Cause Gynecomastia?

Many cases of gynecomastia are caused by a hormonal imbalance. Unfortunately, steroid use can trigger hormone imbalances and, subsequently, gynecomastia. In the case of certain anabolic steroids, some medications are converted into estrogen within the body. This can trigger excess breast growth.

It’s relatively common for athletes who use steroids to build muscle to also develop gynecomastia, as their use is less likely to be well-monitored by a doctor. However, it’s also possible to develop male breast tissue after being prescribed steroids for a medical condition.

Gynecomastia may go away on its own once the use of steroids has stopped. If it persists, the excess fatty tissue and breast development will likely not go away without surgical intervention. If you’re experiencing gynecomastia after taking steroids for any purpose, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to ask about alternatives to steroids to prevent breast enlargement.

How Can I Prevent Gynecomastia?

Early diagnosis of gynecomastia development can be helpful in preventing the condition from advancing. If you or your doctor see early signs of the condition, then a change in your steroid use can take place to prevent the gynecomastia from worsening. For example, your doctor may decide to prescribe a different type of steroid that will be less likely to cause gynecomastia.

Instead of using steroids to build muscle, it is generally safer to use supplements (sometimes referred to as “natural steroids”). Supplements that boost protein, energy, or testosterone levels can help many people gain muscle mass without risking unwanted or harmful side effects like gynecomastia.

Treating Gynecomastia

If gynecomastia has already developed, there are a few treatments available to resolve the condition.

For some, gynecomastia may go away simply by stopping steroid use. Others may get rid of it by going on hormone therapy to restore more natural and balanced hormonal levels. This typically involves testosterone replacement as prescribed by your doctor.

If the gynecomastia persists, surgery is the only viable option for eliminating the breast tissue for good. Most gynecomastia caused by steroid use is Type 1 or Type 2 which is considered to be mild. In most cases, the gyne consists of glandular breast tissue only.

Surgical treatment involves an incision around the lower areola or both the lower and upper areola followed by removing the glandular tissue. The exact technique used is determined by factors such as the location of the areola on the pec, skin quality, whether there is gland tissue only or gland and fatty tissue.

See a Gynecomastia Specialist

Board-certified gynecomastia specialist Dr. Joseph T. Cruise is highly experienced and regarded in the field of gynecomastia surgery. He performs upwards of 450 cases each year. Men from around the world travel to have him perform their surgery. He developed the Gynecomastia Classification system as a method of accurately diagnosing and treating patients with the condition. He has also developed and perfected various techniques for use with advanced gynecomastia (Type 5 and Type 6).

Most plastic surgeons do not specialize in this sub-specialty. Other surgeons may perform a handful of gynecomastia surgeries each year at best. All too often, this results in a failed outcome requiring revision surgery.

In many cases, the surgery cost was lower than that of a specialist which was the motivating factor in selecting that particular doctor. Unfortunately, the cost of the first surgery and revision surgery ends up being more expensive than going to a specialist such as Dr. Cruise in the first place.

When searching for a surgeon to perform gynecomastia surgery, look for the following:

  • Board-certified in plastic surgery
  • An extensive gynecomastia before/after gallery which showcases a variety of gyne types and surgical techniques (not just liposuction).
  • Patient reviews specific to gynecomastia surgery
  • Videos and articles by the surgeon about gynecomastia
  • Vast amount of information on the doctor’s website

Schedule a Consultation

If you’re interested in gynecomastia surgery and would like to learn more, including whether you are a candidate for surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Cruise. Patients local to Los Angeles or Orange County, CA can schedule an appointment by calling (323) 488-4479 or request an appointment online. For out-of-town patients, virtual consultations are offered.

Plastic Surgeon | Website | + posts

Dr. Joseph Cruise is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience. Regarded as one of the top gynecomastia surgeons in the world, Dr. Cruise has gynecomastia-specific content that can be found at Dr. Cruise has dedicated his career to cosmetic surgery but has also had extensive training in General Surgery, Hand Surgery, and Microvascular Surgery. Dr. Joseph Cruise is also a member of the Rhinoplasty Society as well as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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RealSelf Patient Reviews of Joseph Thomas Cruise, MD