We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Hypertrophy?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Hypertrophic is a medical term that translates to enlarged, and hypertrophy would refer to the enlargement of various areas of the body; these areas could include muscles, skin, appendages or organs. In this condition, at the most basic level, cell enlargement occurs. This should be considered as distinct from growth through cells dividing and creating new cells, which is frequently called hyperplasia. Causes of hypertrophic growth vary depending on where the growth occurs.

Those looking to understand this condition must realize that it comes in many forms, many of which are medically problematic. Though it’s not accurate to say that all forms of hypertrophy are bad, most of them can be medically significant. They may cause minor to significant problems for the person who experiences a hypertrophic condition.

Positive and Negative Instances

A cursory web search for the term hypertrophy is likely to reveal opposed positive and negative articles concerning the topic. For example, when articles discuss enlargement of the muscles, they may be on sites that deal with bodybuilding. In this case, creating hypertrophy or bigger muscles is typically desirable, and there are many tips on how to do this by lifting weights, in addition to lots of hormone and nutritional products for sale that promise to bulk up muscles. Yet while enlarging muscles may be a positive instance of hypertrophic enlargement, especially for those interested in bodybuilding, in most cases hypertrophy of other parts of the body is essentially negative and potentially dangerous.

Effects on the Heart

When heart cells get bigger, as is often the case when heart disease is present, the total heart works less efficiently. Some people suffer from conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which includes significant heart muscle enlargement. Mostly genetic or caused by high blood pressure, this dangerous condition decreases the size of the heart's chambers, reducing blood flow, and can sometimes necessitate transplant or removal of part of the heart’s tissue in order to get the heart to function better.

Effects on Organs and Glands

There are many organs and glands that can become hypertrophic, for example, the thyroid gland can become hypertrophic as a result of the thyroid releasing too many hormones. This causes the thyroid to cut down on thyroid hormone production, which may possibly require medication or removal of the thyroid. Tonsils and adenoids, when they get too big due to bacteria or viruses, could be called hypertrophic. Also, as many men age, they may suffer from the prostate getting larger from infection, which may be referred to as hypertrophy of the prostate gland.

Other Examples

Other areas of the body can become hypertrophic. Skin cells can enlarge, especially when injury or stretching has occurred to the skin, and some scars are basically the result of hypertrophy of the skin, which causes their unusual appearance. A few women experience extreme breast enlargement, especially during pregnancy or when they reach puberty; not only does this hypertrophy cause discomfort, but it may also result in hypertrophic scarring on the skin with long-lasting evidence of stretch marks.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By Fristepha — On Jan 21, 2014

I’m a 25-year-old guy who is interested in bulking up. I’m a dedicated runner and I’m very athletic, but I would really like to start building muscle (especially in my arms). I wanted to find out if there is any way to build muscles and definition fast without dealing with stretch marks. I know some guys who bulked up quickly and look great, but they have some really bad stretch marks on their arms and I don’t want that. Are there any natural supplements that I can take along with a regular weight-training regime that will help add muscle quickly without getting stretch marks? I'm just really tired of looking so scrawny.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.