What is Palumboism? | Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, & More


Body building is a fairly competitive sport which has its roots right into the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilization. From centuries this sport has grab attention of many. Athletes have the option of going the natural way and bulking up by gaining muscle through exercise, or they can choose to become “mass monsters” or abuse anabolic steroids in order to gain an advantage.

If you are into bodybuilding, you would know the issues related to it. Bodybuilding is good, and you get to see your body in fit forms, but there are some issues associated with it, which one cannot deny. In this article, we will get to know about a primary concern related to bodybuilding. Know about what is Palumboism, how Palumboism affects an individual’s body, and what can be done to stay away from it.

Let us get started with the points to connect now.

Everyone in bodybuilding will be aware of Palumboism, where the bodybuilder’s belly looks like a bubble. It is a physical condition where the bodybuilder develops an overly bloated stomach that is not proportional to his chest. In some extreme cases, the bodybuilder develops excessive stomach ballooning where their belly looks pregnant rather than looking fit. But, what could be the reason behind an extended gut of a lean and muscular athlete? How can it be cured? We will discuss these questions in our article.

Bodybuilding is a highly competitive sport. Those who belong to this profession know what they have to go through under pressure. They have to go through tons of physical exercises and workouts. To make their bodies better, they even follow a strict diet.

As a result, bodybuilders and athletes have to push their bodies hard and go through some excruciating pain to reach perfection. While some of them stick to natural methods, few take the help of steroids and injections.

Steriods help them to increase their strength and bulk up in muscles. This results in severe side effects and diseases. Palumbo is such a disease that it is a side-effect of over-intake of steroids and several other factors.

How Palumboism Got Started?

During the 19700s to 2000s, bodybuilding was in trend. Every guy wanted to become an athlete. And bodybuilders like Lou Ferrigno, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Dorian Yates fueled the trend even more.

Big Lenny

Their tightly ripped contour and monstrous muscles were breathtaking. Looking at their physic and handsome stature many people dreamed of having a body like them. During this phase, the abuse of anabolic steroids sharply increased in growth with the craze for a ‘mass monster body.

Who is Palumboism named after?
Palumboism was named after Dave Palumbo, the first bodybuilder to be diagnosed with the condition, which is a consequence of HGH abuse. Even though he was not a professional bodybuilder but he was extensively working to have a carrier in bodybuilding from 1995 to 2004 and had an enormous weight of 300 pounds.

What is Palumbosim? 

Palumbo is characterized as a disproportionate belly, where the person’s chest and stomach do not fit. By the look, it seems like that the bodybuilder is pregnant. In this condition, the Oblique muscles on the abdomen side thicken, causing the bodybuilder to grow a big bot belly than a slim waist despite the hectic workout and dieting.

Big Lenny was considered to be the worst case of this condition. He was diagnosed with stage 4 Palumboism. His stomach was extended so much visibly that his chest sunk into it. Palumbo is not restricted to only men; fewer cases have shown some females getting this issue. The possibilities are rare but not uncommon.

What Causes Palumboism?

There are no proven studies that show this disease as a threat. Hence we base data related to Palumboism only on research studies. However, medicos believe that Palumboism is a result of rigorous training and excess protein intake. Many things prove that Palumboism is a result of over-exertion.


Let us see the individual factors that cause Palumboism in detail:

#1. Human Growth Hormone

There is a condition where doctors prescribe human growth hormone to people. That condition is called short bowel syndrome. In that condition, a person is unable to absorb some nutrients. His internal organs are not capable of such things. The reason could be that some of his intestines have been removed, or he is suffering from an intestinal disease.


So, many came up with the theory that the extended gut was a result of that condition. However, there are no proven facts related to this. We shall see a few more reasons in the following sections.

#2. Insulin

The motto of insulin is to increase blood and nutrient flow into the muscle cells. They retain fats and help muscles grow. According to recent studies, one of four anabolic steroids abusers also takes insulin to boost their muscles growth. Also, to restrict the fat building.

Top 5 Worst Cases of Palumboism:

However, during bodybuilding, the body is already low on blood sugar. And injecting insulin can lower the blood sugar level even more. Abusing insulin increase the possible chances of several abdominal diseases. It can lead to unnecessary fat retention when one does not know where to stop. If things go extreme, then it puts one at risk of hypoglycemia.

#3. Increased Abdominal Muscles

When steroids are coupled with a large amount of high-calorie food, they can stay in the stomach for a little longer than required, and that can cause abnormal belly extension. In addition to that, card-rich foods comprise glycogen, which tends to retain water and increase bloating. Other than this, carb-loading or glycogen-loading can also promote distension. Athletes tend to manipulate carbs and water intake for their muscles growth. This technique may give them a decent body, but it can also lead to some severe health effects.

Abdominal Muscle Anatomy

Palumbo occurs as a combined effect of all the factors that are mentioned above. As an athlete, you go through extreme body changes that result in any muscular or abdominal disease.

#4 High carbohydrates in diet

People who consume large amounts of high-carbohydrate foods are typically prone to muscle gut as they store lots of glycogen in their muscles which is often then drawn out into the body. Along with this issue, a large volume of carbs leads to water retention within the body which also contributes to muscle gut.

#5 High calorie diets

Regardless of what protein, carbohydrates or supplements a bodybuilder may consume, they still follow a high calorie diet with some consuming over 10,000 calories per day. This high calorie food intake also means that they consume a lot of volume of food which will stay in the stomach for extended periods causing gut distension.

Who can be affected by Palumboism?

The exact pathophysiology of the disease is not well understood, but it is believed to be due to hypersensitivity to human growth hormone. The Growth hormone in our body exerts its effect on the entire body and it is not just restricted towards just developing the muscles of the body. It has a multi-organ effect which results in organomegaly of the visceral organs which is responsible for the enlarged abdomen. Even female bodybuilders are known to have developed a bubble gut. 

How can Palumboism be Treated?

As there are no medical studies related to this disease, there are no proven medications either. But the good news is that Palumboism is not permanent. If an athlete is abusing drugs and steroids for a while, this will increase the side effects for the time being. But, as soon as he goes back to his balance diet and natural proteins, there is a high possibility that Palumboism will also decrease.

So, the real question is, what should a bodybuilder facing Palumboism do?

  • First of all, stop with the overexertion use of all steroids, , HGH and insulin.
  • Intermittent Fasting – Intermittent fasting has been shown to be just as effective for weight and fat loss as conventional calorie cutting, and it can also maintain muscle mass. By time-compressing your diet and reducing the amount of food you put in your body during a contest, it can help to ensure that you are consuming a lower volume of food while maintaining a high quality physique. This can reduce any stomach distension that may occur as well.
  • Lowering Crab Intake – A high carb diet can cause bloating, water weight, and needless weight gain. The body needs carbs to function properly and a high carb diet can make it difficult for your body to utilize the energy it has stored as glycogen in the muscles.
  • Once you do that, connect to a doctor or a medical professional that is expertise in muscle-related problems. They treat athletes suffering from side effects of a performance-enhancing substance. While some side effects are semi-permanent or permanent, Palumboism certainly seems treatable with lots of reversed cases.

How one can intake HGH without getting into Palumboism

HGH is not recommended for adults or children unless a physician has already told you that it is necessary. If you’re not sure, ask your doctor. Alternative methods of increasing growth hormone levels include maintaining periods of hypoglycemia and keeping an active lifestyle, as well as natural methods such as secretion enhancers. Some people also find that certain medications can actually increase their growth hormone levels, which is a common side effect of many drugs. Just for the sake of increasing the muscle growth, Injections of recombinant HGH is certianly not advisable

Potential Side Effects of Steroids

There are few other issues that one can face if he continues to use Steroids and insulin for a long time. Many consequences may be reversed if one stops using these drugs and insulins. Some of the effects may be permanent as well.


According to the National Institute of drug abuse, several health consequences of using anabolic steroids may comprise:

  • Hormonal system problems for females, such as decreased breast size, excessive body hair, coarse skin, and male pattern baldness
  • Hormonal system problems for males, such as testicle shrinking, decreased sperm production, male-pattern baldness, and enlarged breasts
  • Various skin-related issues like acne, cysts, and skin discoloration.
  • Psychotic issues like depression, anger, aggression, and mania.
  • Several livers and kidney-related issues.

🌟 FAQ related to Palumboism

✅What is Palumboism?

Palumboism is a condition in which a bodybuilder’s stomach looks like a bubble, and their stomach becomes excessively bloated and out of proportion to his chest. Palumboism often occurs when bodybuilders take excessive amounts of steroids or HGH.

✅What foods cause palumboism?

Palumboism is mainly caused by a combination of an intense bodybuilding training routine, a high-calorie, high-carb diet, and the usage of human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin, according to Health Research Policy.

✅What is the function of HGH?

The pituitary gland produces HGH, which promotes development in children and teenagers. Bodily composition, body fluids, muscle and bone development, sugar and fat metabolism, and potentially heart function are all aided.

✅Why do bodybuilders take insulin?

Insulin helps in the feeding of muscles during intense exercise, inhibits muscular breakdown, and improves performance.

✅Are steroids beneficial?

Anabolic steroids can last anywhere from a few days to over a year in the body. Steroids have grown in popularity as a means of increasing endurance, strength, and muscular growth. On the other hand, steroids have not been found to increase skill, agility, or athletic performance in studies.

Final Verdict:

Palumboism is one of the most intriguing and strange bodybuilding phenomena just as many people in the bodybuilding world have fallen prey to its effects. Many people who are still tempted by its allure will do so, and many more will also continue to do so in the years to come.

Palumbo is a treatable issue, but various other steroid-related issues are no joke. If you are an athlete & want to win the game healthily, you should stop using those steroids right away! I hope you must know by now what is Palumboism and how it can be treated.

What is Palumboism? | Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, & More
What is Palumboism? | Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, & More
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