Medical Care ,  Health & Wellness ,  Aesthetics ,  Sports and Fitness

Gynecomastia Amongst Bodybuilders

September 01, 2023

The use of anabolic steroids in bodybuilding is notorious to the point of being synonymous. The steroid-induced sculpted ripped bodies come with a price – shrunken testicles, decreased sperm count, baldness, acne and even gynecomastia.

Gynecomastia Amongst Bodybuilders

What are anabolic steroids?

‍Anabolic steroids are essentially synthetic variations of the male sex hormone, testosterone and often used to build muscles. Healthcare professionals prescribe them to address hormonal issues such as delayed puberty and muscle loss caused by diseases.

But it is the misuse and abuse of these drugs that often form the headlines. For professional bodybuilders or even anyone who’s looking to put on some muscles, these drugs may seem to be the “miracle” supplement and dismally, even a staple diet.

Side effects

One of the most common side effects is roid rage. Although it is not classified as an official medical condition, the root of this issue can be linked to the misuse of anabolic steroids as they can cause extreme irritability. In women, common side effects include reduced breast size, deepening of the voice and the growth of facial and body hair, among others.

In men, they include shrunken testicles, decreased sperm count, baldness, acne and even gynecomastia.


Gynecomastia is the enlargement of the breast tissue in men. The cause of this condition is hormone imbalance, primarily the rise in estrogen levels. The abuse of anabolic steroids causes this increase and overtime, men will develop oversized breast tissues resulting in the, not only embarrassing but at times also painful, condition.

Although exercise won’t help, stopping the use of anabolic steroids is the first step in preventing the condition from evolving further. For those already affected, help comes in the form of Gynecomastia Surgery.

Gynecomastia Surgery

Dr Ivan Puah, an MOH-accredited and experienced gynecomastia doctor in Singapore, has tended to bodybuilders who come in for gynecomastia surgery to remove enlarged glandular tissues and sculpt the chest months before events and competitions. This gives them ample time to heal before embarking on their training regimes.

"I see a lot of young males with less than 10% body fat who are into bodybuilding. The primary cause of enlargement for this group of patients is the development of enlarged glands for which they will only require glandular excision. These cases are what we term as True Gynecomastia," explains Dr Ivan Puah.  

He further shares, "Special attention is needed to prevent bleeding and scarring when treating bodybuilders with gynecomastia issues. Hypertrophied chest muscles present a higher risk of bleeding due to the increased blood flow within the tissues. Additionally, using anabolic steroids and certain unregulated supplements may increase the chance of excessive bleeding. Besides removing the enlarged breast tissues, special attention is required to sculpt and shape their chest to bring out or enhance their musculature, allowing them to achieve the physique they hope for but have been unable to achieve from training and diet management."

The ‍360°GTD® technique developed by Dr Ivan Puah can address this issue specifically. An endoscopic-line incision, no bigger than 4mm, is first created to allow infiltration of anaesthetic fluid on the area to be treated. Through this incision, a ‍360°GTD® excision is then performed carefully following the physiological disposition of the glandular tissues. This surgical technique effectively reduces the invasive factor of the procedure, allowing a more desired cosmetic outcome.

"The use of anabolic steroids is not an uncommon practice among professional and amateur bodybuilders. This may, unfortunately, expose them to increased risks of adverse effects, with gynecomastia amongst one of the most common complications. Many affected athletes do not know how or where to seek help when it affects them. With the introduction of our‍360°GTD® technique, we can help these affected athletes," Dr Ivan Puah explained.

Muscle up without steroids

Taking anabolic steroids to build muscles knowing that there is a high probability of getting gynecomastia is certainly not an option. Instead, there are other ways to achieve your goals. These include:

  • Proper nutrition and dietary habits
  • Custom-tailored (gym) training programmes
  • Getting enough rest
  • Additional supplementation like whey proteins, and more.

Regardless of gender, a beautiful or more defined physique is arguably a common goal. If bodybuilding is your hobby, by all means, pile those muscles on. But do it the right and do it the safe way.


Dr. Ivan Puah B.K.
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