Archive for the tag - gynecomastia

Gay Men & Steroids: A Love Story?

The other day, I was showing a picture of a sexy, muscular guy on Grindr to a friend. My friend pointed out that the guy had gynecomastia (the development of abnormally large mammary glands in males), and was likely a user of steroids. I was surprised and shocked, but my friend told me that steroid use – especially among gay men – is fairly common. Even his roommate does steroids, he shared.

I was ignorantly unaware of what is seemingly an epidemic among gay men. In fact, a recent study revealed that 1 in 7 gay gym-going men admitted to steroid use. Some estimate that the actual number may be closer to 50%.

There is no no doubt that many people associate being gay with a certain gym and muscle culture. And while that gym culture doesn’t define a community as diverse as the gay community, it certainly is present and pervasive. Gay muscle culture is often traced back to another epidemic: AIDS. Physicians often prescribed steroids to people living with AIDS as a way to increase muscle mass on their otherwise frail frames. Moreover, pumped-up bodies became a symbol of healthiness.

Today, muscle culture is alive and well – and many gay men feel intense pressure to obtain lean, muscular builds. Under such pressure, taking steroids can seem like an easier shortcut than hard work and exercise. And there’s no doubt that steroids yield results. Unfortunately, steroids are plagued by tremendously dangerous and/or undesirable side-effects including:

  • Acne
  • Shrunken testicles – which leads to temporary (and possibly permanent) sterility
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Liver malfunction
  • Enlarged prostate and prostate cancer
  • Balding
  • Aggression
  • Liver failure
  • Stunted growth
  • Weight problems
  • Neurological issues

Of course, not all steroid users will experience all of the above side effects – but the list is long and daunting. If gay men and steroids are a love story, it’s certainly one that won’t end happily ever after.

If you (or someone you know) uses steroids, it’s important to talk to a professional. Most drug addiction treatment centers are equipped to deal with all kinds of drug addictions ranging from prescription drug abuse to steroid abuse.

But I want to know what you think. Are you – or someone you know – a steroid user? Why, despite the enormous risks, do people find steroids to be a viable option? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Get Rid of Man Boobs.

For most men, man boobs can be eliminated through a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and nutrition. For others, a conversation with the doctor may be needed.

Dear Davey,

I’m embarrassed to admit that I have man boobs.

It’s hard for me to even write this email, but I really have no idea how to get rid of them and you’re my only hope.

What advice do you have?

Thanks,
Ryan

Dear Ryan,

Thanks for your email and the courage to reach out.

Let’s face it: Man boobs can be a sensitive subject for men. It can be embarrassing and emasculating, despite whatever humor the name might imply.

What Causes Man Boobs?

Man boobs are generally caused by body fat, gynecomastia or some combination of the two. Often times, men gain weight in an unflattering way on top of their pectoral (chest) muscles – and this can lead to the creation of man boobs. For other men, man boobs are the result of a hormonal imbalance in a medical condition termed gynecomastia. The body produces decreased testosterone and increased estrogen, usually in response to medicine. And of course, for some people, it’s a combination of both weight gain and gynecomastia.

How to Get Rid of Man Boobs?

If your man boobs are the result of weight gain, then your remedy is a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and proper diet. It’s not a magic fix, but it’s very doable. In essence, you’ll have to create a calorie deficit wherein you burn more calories than you consume – and the most effective way to do this is through exercise (and not starvation).

As cardiovascular exercise is very demanding, you’ll incinerate calories during and after your workout. Interval training is recommended for weight loss, and intervals can be practiced on a treadmill, bike, rowing machine, elliptical, etc. In a nutshell, interval training is alternating between a medium-intensity pace and a high-intensity pace.

Strength training does two things: It adds on muscle (which will burn calories all day long) and helps to shape and remodel your body, including your chest area. While a total body exercise program is recommended, put special effort into chest exercises like push-ups, the chest press, the pec fly, etc. Since you’re looking to build muscle in this area, it’s best to do a workout that combines a low number of repetitions for each exercise (6-10 reps) and heavy resistance (i.e., a lot of weight).

But if your man boobs are caused by gynecomastia due to medication, then you’ll need to talk to a physician. There may be alternative treatments, or options that are available to you. I’m not a physician, and I do understand that each situation is very different. A conversation with your doctor is strongly recommended, difficult as it may be.

But for most men, it’s a jockstrap and not a bra that is needed to treat man boobs. It’s about hitting the gym, or even exercising at home. It’s about becoming more active, stronger and healthier through exercise and proper nutrition. Man boobs are treatable, and the sooner you get the ball rolling, the better. As one of my favorite fitness quotes says: “A year from now, you’ll be glad you started today.”