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Steroids and Bodybuilding

Dr. Miguel DelgadoBy Miguel Delgado, M.D.

Men who compete in professional sports and/or bodybuilding have been known to use steroids. Steroids increase muscle growth for the bodybuilder and for the athlete steroids can enhance their performance.

Steroids were legal until 1990 when Congress placed steroids into schedule 3 of the controlled substance act, which puts them in the same category as cocaine, heroin and LSD. Unless anabolic steroids are being used for a medical condition and prescribed by a doctor, they are now illegal to use.

Steroids can come in several different forms, from injections, pills, and even topically in the form of a gel or cream. However, it is a very potent drug with many possible side effects, including but not limited to: mood swings, impotence, infertility, heart attacks, increases of the bad cholesterol and liver cancer. For additional side effects, click here to see an article in WebMD.

The side effect that Dr. Delgado frequently sees in his gynecomastia practice is the development of male breasts.

Aromatization is a process where anabolic steroids convert into estrogen-like compounds. This conversion changes the balance between estrogen and testosterone in the male. The result may be the development of breast tissue, and the testes may reduce production of testosterone.

Once breast tissue has formed, even if the steroid is discontinued, the breast tissue will remain and only can be removed by male breast reduction surgery.

Dr. Delgado states that not all men who take steroids will develop man boobs, but it is not possible to predict who will. It appears that young men who already have some development of adolescent gynecomastia may be more prone.