Gynecomastia is a condition that affects men, in which the breast tissues become swelled and take on a fuller look that can be embarrassing for many. It occurs as a result of irregular levels of hormones in the body during puberty.
Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts and may also have uneven development. The most common signs and symptoms include swollen breast glandular tissue and breast tenderness.
The condition may require medical attention if it is accompanied by pain, swelling and discharge from one or both the nipples.
The most common cause of gynecomastia is changes in the levels of hormones – androgens and estrogens.
This can happen due to a variety of reasons including puberty, age, hypogonadism, low testosterone (male hormone), hyperthyroidism, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, chronic liver disease, exposure to pollutants, kidney failure, use of marijuana, excess alcohol consumption, malnutrition, and side effects of certain medications. Being overweight can also add to the problem.
Though not a serious problem, many men find it really tough to cope with the condition and opt for medication or even surgery. There are many simple home remedies that may also help treat gynecomastia. Also, the problem may regress over time.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for gynecomastia.
Turmeric is a well-known home remedy for gynecomastia. This spice can increase the testosterone hormone levels in males. When the level of testosterone becomes high, large breasts in men naturally reduce in size. Plus, turmeric promotes liver health and helps burn fat.
- Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of turmeric to a cup of water and heat it for 10 minutes. Drink it 2 or 3 times a day and especially before going to bed. Repeat daily and within a few weeks you will notice the changes.
- You can also take turmeric capsules under the guidance of a doctor.
Note: Consult your doctor before taking turmeric as a remedy as it can make stomach problems like GERD worse in some people. Plus, it may worsen gallbladder problems and interfere with blood thinning medications.
2. Fish Oil
Fish oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for men with gynecomastia because they help in the production of testosterone. Plus, these fatty acids help reduce estrogen levels, which is one of the reasons behind the growth of male breasts.
- Take fish oil supplements. You can also take omega-3 supplements. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage and usage.
- Eat cold-water fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Cold Compress
Gynecomastia often causes the breasts to become tender and even painful at times. For tender breasts, you can apply cold compresses. The cold temperature will cause the tissues to contract. This in turn will reduce swelling and pain.
- Wrap a few ice cubes in a thin towel.
- Put this cold compress on each of the breasts for 1 minute only.
- Follow this treatment as needed.
Note: Do not apply ice directly on the skin as it can cause frostbite.
4. Passion Flower
Due to its testosterone-boosting properties, passionflower may help in the natural treatment of gynecomastia. It contains a compound called chrysin that keeps the body from breaking down testosterone. This herb can also help with withdrawal from alcohol as well as certain drugs.
- Steep 1 teaspoon of dried passion flower in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink this herbal tea a few times a day.
- Another option is to take this herb in supplement form. For proper dosage consult your doctor.
Consuming zinc-based foods also helps in the treatment of gynecomastia, especially when it is caused by low testosterone.
It has been found that zinc increases testosterone naturally. Several studies have shown that zinc deficiency can lead to decreased levels of testosterone. Low testosterone is one of the leading causes of gynecomastia.
- Eat foods that are high in zinc like oysters, fortified breakfast cereal, lobster, cashews, yogurt, raisins and chickpeas.
- You can also take zinc supplements after consulting your doctor.
6. Milk Thistle
If your breast enlargement is due to liver disease, milk thistle is a good treatment. The active constituent silymarin in milk thistle is known to improve liver functioning.
- Add 1 tablespoon of crushed milk thistle seeds to 3 cups of water. Heat until boiling, remove from heat and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and add a little honey. Drink this tea 2 times a day for a few weeks.
- You can also take this herb in supplement form. For proper dosage, consult your doctor.
Flaxseeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids that help raise testosterone and reduce estrogen levels. Plus, they contain higher concentrations of lignans that balance estrogen activity and have antiestrogenic qualities. Flaxseeds also aid in the removal of harmful toxins from the body.
- Add 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed to a glass of hot water and consume it daily until you see improvement.
- Another option is to take 1 or 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil daily for a few weeks.
- You can also add ground flaxseed to smoothies and baked goods such as breads and muffins.
Note: Consult your doctor before taking flaxseed as a remedy as it may interfere with certain medications and hormone treatments.
Exercise can help reduce gynecomastia as it helps balance hormone levels. Plus, certain exercises help build chest and torso muscles.
They also help reduce overall body fat, which could be contributing to pseudogynecomastia. Pseudogynecomastia causes feminization of the male breast due to a buildup of fat.
- Include cardiovascular, weight lifting and elliptical exercises in your exercise routine.
- Swimming, especially the breast stroke, is effective for reducing excess fat.
- Jogging and walking are good forms of exercise that also help burn a lot of calories and body fat.
Another herb that can help treat gynecomastia is dandelion. This herb has a diuretic effect, meaning it can help remove excess water as well as harmful toxins and excess estrogen from the body. Also, it helps breakdown carbohydrates, which in turn causes less fat to be stored by the body.
- Add 1 teaspoon of dried dandelion to a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain and drink this tea 2 or 3 times a day for a few weeks.
- You can also take dandelion tincture or supplements after consulting your doctor.
10. Epsom Salt Bath
An Epsom salt bath can help you get rid of water retention. It is made up of magnesium sulfate that aids the detoxification process and thus helps balance hormones.
- Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a tub of warm bath water.
- Stir properly until the salt is dissolved.
- Soak in this relaxing bath for 15 minutes.
- Repeat up to 3 times a week.
Note: This remedy is not recommended for people with high blood pressure and heart problems.
- Do not take any recreational drugs like marijuana.
- Do not take any drugs for bodybuilding.
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol as it can worsen the condition.
- Do not smoke or use any other tobacco products.
- Avoid exposure to pollutants like lead as it can increase the risk of developing feminine breasts.
- Eat organic foods and use organic products to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals.
- Do not use tea tree oil or lavender oil or any other products made of these oils because they are considered as endocrine disruptors and tend to mimic the actions of estrogen.
- Drink an ample amount of water throughout the day to help the cells function properly.
- Try to maintain a healthy body weight.