Hormonal issues can cause major problems for our well-being. While we tend to talk about hormonal issues in relation to women a bit more, and for a good reason, as their bodies tend to have more dynamic hormonal changes, this doesn’t mean that men are not impacted by similar problems. Testosterone in men plays a very big role in many crucial bodily processes, so a disbalance can be very dangerous for men’s health.
Testosterone boosters are one of the solutions for light to medium testosterone deficiency, but there are rumors out there that they can cause gynecomastia. Let’s see what this condition is and if it can be caused by testosterone boosters.
What exactly is gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a common condition that causes male breasts to enlarge, become sensitive, and painful. We say common because it accounts for around 65% of all breast-related disorders in males.
There are several factors that can cause gynecomastia, including liver disease, obesity, tumors, steroid use, and aging.
The condition can affect one or both breasts, and the condition can appear while they are babies, in puberty, or even in older adults as a part of normal hormonal changes. In these cases, the condition is temporary and will go away after the hormones settle.
You should be aware that gynecomastia is a condition in which the breast gland tissue is enlarged, but if the enlargement is only through fat tissue, then the condition is called pseudogynecomastia, and different rules apply. Our focus will be on the former.
How is it related to testosterone?
We already mention that using steroids (synthetic anabolic steroids, to be exact) can cause this condition to occur. Another treatment that causes gynecomastia is TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) which is often prescribed to men with severe testosterone deficiency.
Ultimately, gynecomastia is usually explained as a disorder of balance between testosterone and estrogen in the male body. If the amount of estrogen drastically overtakes testosterone levels, this condition can occur.
What are the symptoms?
Aside from the obviously enlarged breast tissue, there are other symptoms that may occur. Pain can be one of them, especially in teenagers, tenderness in enlarged areas, and nipple sensitivity to clothing. If you experience pain, swelling, and nipple discharge, you should pay a visit to your doctor’s office.
What are the known causes?
We already mentioned the most common cause but let’s dig a bit deeper and see why they cause this condition.
As they age, men’s bodies produce less and less testosterone, which can cause a deficiency in testosterone levels. Due to this, the balance between testosterone and estrogen can be compromised, causing gynecomastia.
Being overweight means that you have a lot of fat tissue in your body. In the past, doctors thought that fat had no effect on our bodies and that it only served as a depository for extra energy. Unfortunately, this isn’t true, as fat tissue produces a hormone called leptin, and your brain can become resistant to it, leading to a feeling of hunger that doesn’t stop.
This causes a decrease in follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, which translates into a fall in testosterone production but also sperm production. With low testosterone, you don’t actually benefit from the hormone’s suppressive effect on chest tissue. As a consequence of this, the potential of developing this condition rises dramatically.
Synthetic anabolic steroids
There is a reason why this type of product has been deemed illegal — they are very bad for our health. While they are designed to boost testosterone massively, they are also responsible for impairing our bodies’ abilities to produce testosterone, and this can become a prolonged issue which is why it can cause gynecomastia.
There are types of tumors that can cause gynecomastia, like the ones that attack the pituitary gland. If a tumor develops on any organs that regulate testosterone production, there’s a chance of gynecomastia developing.
If a disease is severe enough, it can have an impact on testosterone production. Liver disease is the most prominent culprit when it comes to this. This is due to the fact that the liver is responsible for the metabolization of estrogen in our bloodstream, and when it doesn’t do its job, the hormone levels increase, causing a disbalance.
Testosterone replacement therapy has many benefits when not abused, but it can cause gynecomastia in some cases. Fortunately, the effects are not permanent and will go away after therapy ends.
What about testosterone boosters?
There is no evidence that testosterone-boosting supplements cause gynecomastia. The reason why they differ from synthetic anabolic steroids and TRT is that they don’t include the artificial addition of testosterone into our systems.
Testosterone boosters are made from natural ingredients which help our bodies activate testosterone production and provide essential ingredients to do it properly. Due to this, there is no chance that our testosterone production drops as a consequence of oversaturation with testosterone.
Naturally, you should always check the ingredients list before you buy a specific product. Obscure brands can be problematic when it comes to the legitimacy of their ingredients, so stick to products that have been tried and tested.
How is gynecomastia treated?
That would depend on the source of the issue. In a lot of cases, you just need to wait it out, as it is a part of an underlying issue that isn’t permanent. In other cases, treating the illness that causes the problem or stopping the intake of medication that is causing it is the way to go. In some cases, surgery or specific medication may be the only solution. Either way, consult your doctor if you notice the symptoms since even if the condition isn’t all that serious, the underlying issues that are causing it very well may be.
We hope we managed to demystify the issues with gynecomastia and its (non-existent) relationship with testosterone boosters. If anything, testosterone boosters should do the exact opposite as the boost in testosterone they provide can help balance out your hormone levels and therefore resolve any symptoms you might have. We wouldn’t recommend taking them to try and resolve this issue on your own. As we mentioned, gynecomastia can be caused by many things, and you need to know what you are dealing with before you attempt to solve the issue, so see a doctor first.