Men's Health

Causes and Treatment for Gynecomastia

Causes and Treatment for Gynecomastia

Key Takeaways

  • Gynecomastia can occur due to certain cancers, Klinefelter syndrome, and old age.
  • In order to get rid of gynecomastia at the earliest, one needs to cut down on their fat consumption as much as possible.
  • Use of illegal drugs like marijuana, steroids, etc. not only increases the production of hormones in one’s body but also increases the pain in the breast tissue.

What Is Gynecomastia?

When boys enter adolescence, they will see a lot of hormonal changes in their body. The growth in both maternal and paternal hormones leads to changes like a growth of hair, deepening of the voice, etc. In some cases, due to excess estrogen in the body, the breast tissue in one’s body increases. This increase in breast tissue causes gynecomastia. The condition can also occur due to disorder in the endocrine system and the enlargement is non-cancerous. The maternal hormones during birth and teenage years give rise to temporary gynecomastia. However, if the condition does not go away by itself and lasts longer than usual, it requires medical attention. Gynecomastia can also occur due to certain cancers, Klinefelter syndrome, and old age.

How to Get Rid of Gynecomastia?

In order to get rid of gynecomastia at the earliest, one needs to cut down on their fat consumption as much as possible. Breasts are usually made of lipids, and therefore, heavy weight people are more likely to suffer from gynecomastia. Thus, a low-fat diet allows the body to burn any excessive fats or calories around the chest area. A well-regulated diet designed especially for this condition, along with appropriate medication and creams can accelerate the process of treatment.

Exercises for Gynecomastia

Since gynecomastia is related to hormonal and weight issues in most cases, regular exercise can certainly help one get rid of it to some extent. A daily cardio routine helps in burning calories and thus, regulating the hormones as well. A 20-minute running session every day is a good start for the reduction of breasts. Apart from this, daily rowing exercises put the chest, arms, and back muscles into action, subsequently reducing the excess fat on the chest. A 10-minutes rowing workout every day can be a great help. After running and rowing exercises, more complex routines like weight lifting, seated chest press, cable crossovers, bench press, push-ups, incline flies, etc. make the chest muscles active and thus reduce the fat around one’s chest area.

Gynecomastia Pain

People with gynecomastia often experience pain in their chest area. The pain can be reduced by a couple of changes in one’s lifestyle habits. For example, use of illegal drugs like marijuana, steroids, etc. not only increases the production of hormones in one’s body but also increases the pain in the breast tissue. Hence, one should avoid alcohol and the drugs mentioned to get rid of the pain. If one’s medication is triggering the pain in the chest area, it is advised to discontinue them. These steps, along with regular exercise, help one get rid of the gynecomastia pain.

How to Treat Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia usually doesn’t need to be treated as it goes away within 2 to 3 years on its own. However, if it persists for a longer duration, it can be treated with the help of either medication, surgery, or a combination of both. If a medication has caused the breast enlargement, it is recommended to discontinue the drug immediately to stop further growth. Medicines like tamoxifen and raloxifene help in the reduction of estrogen growth and reduce the enlargement. In the case of chronic gynecomastia, surgery is required to remove the glandular breast tissue for treatment. Procedures like subcutaneous mastectomy, liposuction, etc. are performed to get rid of the condition. But this procedure should only be performed rarely as it may give rise to some complications like hematoma, scars, infection, etc. Men with prostate cancer are also at a risk of developing gynecomastia, and therefore, radiation therapy and tamoxifen are usually given to prevent the same.

Gynecomastia Recovery

The surgery for gynecomastia can lead to a few complications during the recovery period. It is common for the chest area to swell and bruise after surgery. The bruising and swelling can be localized around the chest area alone or could cover both chest and abdomen. Cold pressing the area for two days or more is usually advised to reduce the swelling and bruising. Apart from this, acute accumulation of blood around the area where surgery has been performed is quite common. This phenomenon is known as ‘hematoma’ and can cause major and painful swelling around the chest area. Immediate treatment is required to get rid of the clot as it might prove fatal if ignored. Seroma is also a common phenomenon that happens after surgery. It is observed by the appearance of a red-orange colored liquid on the surface of the skin after surgery. This also requires immediate attention and needs to be removed at the earliest.

In the recovery period after the surgery, the patient is advised to get lots of bedrest for the first 3 days after surgery, and light exercises regularly for the next three weeks.

They are also advised to use compression dressing in order to reduce the pain and swelling around the chest area post-surgery. After the surgery, it is crucial to avoid direct contact with sunlight or tanning for a minimum of 6 weeks. Excessive exposure to the sun can increase the pain after surgery. Patients are also advised to keep a check on their diet and avoid alcohol during the recovery period.

Although Gynecomastia isn't a life-threatening problem, it is still hard to cope and come to terms with. Men and boys, in general, who have gynecomastia sometimes feel pain in their breasts and are also embarrassed by the same. Sometimes, the doctor may recommend periodic re-evaluations to adolescents. These may occur every three to six months and is done in order to have the condition improve on its own. Gynecomastia generally goes away with proper treatment in almost two years. However, treatment may be necessary if gynecomastia doesn't improve on its own or if it causes significant pain, tenderness, or embarrassment. For males, enlargement of the breasts is very embarrassing and stressful. Gynecomastia is very difficult to hide and may prove as a hindrance in a person's love life. It is also a leading cause of bullying when it comes to school/college going teens and young adults.