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Some men try to pump up their muscles by taking anabolic steroids. But using steroids in this way can harm your physical and mental health — and it's illegal. Also, injecting steroids raises your risk of getting HIV and hepatitis.
Sometimes, men try natural supplements like creatine to build muscle. Keep in mind that "natural" doesn't necessarily mean safe. Make sure to discuss any supplements with your doctor before taking them.
Body image and eating disorders
Did you know that men, like women, can struggle with body image issues or an eating disorder? Men may feel a lot of pressure to have a "perfect," muscular body and may focus too much on exercise and dieting. This focus can wind up hurting a man's body, job, and relationships. But medicines and counseling can help men with eating and body image disorders lead healthy lives.
Eating disorders involve extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors around weight and food. The most common eating disorder for men is binge eating disorder. With binge eating disorder, people eat a lot of food even if they feel full. They sometimes may try to make up for their overeating episodes by dieting. Other eating disorders that affect men include anorexia and bulimia.
People with body image issues may feel unhappy with how they look and feel self-conscious about their bodies. If these feelings are extreme, the person may have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). People with BDD have extreme concern over what they see as flaws. Men and women are affected equally, but may focus on different parts of the body. Men tend to worry more about their skin, hair, nose, muscles, and genitals.
Obsession with food or how you look can be very painful. If you have eating or body image issues, don't let shame or embarrassment keep you from seeking help.
Explore other publications and websites
Anorexia Nervosa in Males (Copyright © National Eating Disorders Association) — Anorexia may be less common in men than in women, but it is a serious health issue in anyone. This fact sheet discusses anorexia nervosa with men in mind.
Binge Eating Disorders in Males (Copyright © National Eating Disorders Association) — This publication explains the behavioral, emotional, and physical characteristics of binge eating disorders in men.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Copyright © Mayo Foundation) — This fact sheet describes the symptoms and causes of body dysmorphic disorder. It also offers information about self-care and how to know when to seek medical advice.
Bulimia Nervosa in Males (Copyright © National Eating Disorders Association) — This fact sheet discusses the behavioral, emotional, and physical characteristics of bulimia nervosa in men.
Eating Disorders — This detailed booklet describes symptoms, causes, and treatments of eating disorders. It also includes information on getting help and coping.
Enhancing Male Body Image (Copyright © National Eating Disorders Association) — This fact sheet provides tips to help men accept the way they look and avoid negative self-talk and behaviors.
Information for Men and Boys (Copyright © National Eating Disorders Association) — This resource contains links to helpful information for men and boys from the National Eating Disorders Association. Topics include body image, bulimia, anorexia, and more.
NIDA InfoFacts: Steroids (Anabolic-Androgenic) — This fact sheet discusses the health hazards of abusing anabolic steroids, the extent of abuse, and treatment methods that exist.
Connect with other organizations
American Psychological Association
American Psychological Association
Mental Health America
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Eating Disorders Association
National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, HHS
National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Content last updated January 10, 2011.
Resources last updated January 10, 2011.
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