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Medic for Gynecomastia (Enlarged Breasts in Men)

Gynecomastia is a benign condition that affects males of all ages, in which the breast tissues become swollen or overdeveloped, often rooted in a hormonal imbalance between the male and female sex hormones. The fuller look of breasts in men can be embarrassing, emotionally disconcerting, and socially debilitating for the afflicted individual as it takes a huge toll on their confidence. It is a common problem, nevertheless, and occurs in 35% of men, being most prevalent in men between the ages of 50 and 69.()

While breast glands are a part of the male anatomy, they are typically small and underdeveloped and therefore not noticeable. Gynecomastia can lead to the enlargement of one or both breasts due to the proliferation of male breast glandular tissue.() Another similar condition by the name of lipomastia is often confused for gynecomastia. Unlike gynecomastia, however, lipomastia or Pseudogynecomastia stems from the presence of fat deposits in the breast area of obese men rather than glandular proliferation.

Causes

Although men produce both male and female hormones, gynecomastia usually develops because of alterations in the ratio of free androgen to estrogen.() The condition sets in due to irregularities in the male hormonal environment either during infancy or puberty, characterized by a relative excess of estrogen activity and decreased testosterone activity. Estrogen is the hormone that is responsible for female traits like breast growth, whereas testosterone is responsible for male physical features as well as sex drive and mood. Optimum testosterone levels are required for arresting the development of male breasts by counteracting the effect of estrogen on tissue growth.

Some of the main causes for Gynecomastia (Enlarged Breasts in Men) are:

The mother’s milk often imparts high levels of estrogen to infants, resulting in palpable breast tissue in many newborns that usually clears within a few weeks.

Side effects of certain medications can also cause this problem. Such medications include:

Being overweight can also add to the problem.

Symptoms

Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts and may also have an uneven development. The most common signs and symptoms include:

Backention

When to see a doctor

The condition may require prompt medical attention if it is accompanied by:

There are some tell-tale signs that distinguish a case of gynecomastia from breast cancer. The latter is often characterized by:

Although not a serious problem, many men find it really tough to cope with gynecomastia and go to the lengths of having the physical anomaly medically or even surgically treated. There are, however, many simple home remedies that may work as a suitable adjunct treatment for gynecomastia. Also, it is important to bear in mind that the problem may regress over time and often resolves on its own.

Here are the best home remedies for gynecomastia.

1. Chest Muscle Targeting Exercise

When it comes to gynecomastia, exercises that target the chest muscles are the best. One such exercise that you must do is barbell bench press.

To do this exercise:

  1. First, set the barbell on the rack. You need to be ready to take the medium grip on the bar.
  2. Lift the bar in one smooth move and hold it straight over your body.
  3. While inhaling, lower the bar midchest.
  4. Exhale as you return back to your starting position.
  5. Do 10–15 reps for 3 sets on a daily basis.

Pec-deck machine and bent-forward cable crossovers are two other exercises that work out the chest muscle effectively and can be a good addition to your exercise routine.

2. Exercise or Physical Activity

In mild cases of gynecomastia, a good diet and exercise may be sufficient to undo the damage.()

By reducing overall body fat, these lifestyle choices also play a fundamental role in the treatment of Pseudogynecomastia, which is responsible for the feminization of the male breast due to fat buildup.

You must try to include high-intensity interval training to help reduce gynecomastia as it helps correct the hormonal imbalance. This is corroborated by a 2017 study published in Endocrine Connects, which suggests that high-intensity interval training increases total testosterone in sedentary older males.()

Apart from high-intensity interval training, also try to:

3. 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. These fatty acids offer the added advantage of simultaneously reducing estrogen levels, thereby restoring the optimum balance between male and female hormones and mitigating the growth of male breasts.

An animal study published in the International Journal of Fertility and Sterility in 2016 suggests that long-term fish oil supplementation influences semen quality and testosterone concentrations.()

4. Cold Compress

Gynecomastia often causes the breasts to become tender and even painful at times. Applying cold compress to alleviate the pain and tenderness is a time-tested strategy of considerable merit. The cold temperature causes the breast tissues to contract. This, in turn, has a numbing effect on the affected area and works to reduce swelling and pain.()

  1. Wrap a few ice cubes in a thin towel.
  2. Put this cold compress on each of the breasts for 1 minute only.
  3. Do this treatment as needed.
Note: Do not apply ice directly on the skin as it can cause further irritation and damage to the skin and can even result in a frostbite.

5. 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.

A study published in Open Access Text proposes the use of passionflower extract as an effective treatment to increase testosterone level and redress gynecomastia, particularly in older men. However, further investigation is needed to conclusively establish the efficacy of this remedy.()

Furthermore, this herb has also been proven helpful in assisting with withdrawal from alcohol and certain drugs.

6. Zinc

Consuming zinc-based foods also helps in the treatment of gynecomastia, especially when it is caused by low testosterone levels.

This is because zinc has been found to increase testosterone naturally. Conversely, several studies have attributed decreased levels of testosterone to a deficiency of zinc.() Because low testosterone is one of the leading causes of gynecomastia, zinc is considered particularly useful against this condition.

7. Flaxseed

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.

According to Oregon State University, flaxseeds contain some of the highest levels of lignans.()

Flaxseeds also aid in the removal of harmful toxins from the body.

Note: Consult your doctor before taking flaxseed as a remedy as it may interfere with certain medications and hormone treatments.

Additional Remedies:

Turmeric

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, both of which can further contribute to mitigating male breast enlargement.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Biomedical Science found that ingestion of the conventional dose of curcumin and nanocurcumin resulted in a significant elevation of the testosterone level in people with testicular atrophy induced by a protein-deficient diet (PDD).()

Note: Consult your doctor before taking turmeric as a remedy as it can further aggravate stomach problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in some people. Plus, it may worsen gallbladder problems and interfere with blood-thinning medications as well.

Resources:

  1. Thiruchelvam P, Walker JN, Rose K, Lewis J, Al-Mufti R. Gynaecomastia. Practice. https://www.bmj.com/content/354/bmj.i4833. Published September 22, 2016.
  2. Johnson RE, Murad MH. Gynecomastia: Pathophysiology, Evaluation, and Management. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2770912/. Published November 2009.
  3. Haynes BA, Mookadam F. Male Gynecomastia. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2719518/. Published August 2009.
  4. Cuhaci N, Polat SB, Evranos B, Ersoy R. Gynecomastia: Clinical evaluation and management. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3987263/. Published 2014.
  5. Hayes LD, Herbert P, Sculthorpe NF. Exercise training improves free testosterone in lifelong sedentary aging men. Endocrine Connections. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5510446/. Published May 17, 2017.
  6. Risso A, Pellegrino FJ, Relling AE. Effect of Long-Term Fish Oil Supplementation on Semen Quality and Serum Testosterone Concentrations in Male Dogs. International Journal of Fertility and Sterility. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4948075/. Published June 1, 2016.
  7. Ice Packs vs. Warm Compresses For Pain. University of Rochester Medical Center. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=85&contentid=p00918.
  8. Bloomer RJ, Donnchadh JJM, Gunnels TA. The influence of a passion flower extract on free testosterone in healthy men: a two-part investigation involving younger and older men. OAT. https://www.oatext.com/The-influence-of-a-passion-flower-extract-on-free-testosterone-in-healthy-men-a-two-part-investigation-involving-younger-and-older-men.php.
  9. Conte V, Brilla LR. Effects of a Novel Zinc-Magnesium Formulation on Hormones and Strength. semantic scholar. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Effects-of-a-Novel-Zinc-Magnesium-Formulation-on-Brilla-Conte/256dbb3308ba934785797c29c20d0b9a0a8c27ff. Published January 1, 1970.
  10. Linus Pauling Institute. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/lignans. Published October 19, 2018.
  11. Farid OAHA-, Nasr M, Ahmed RF, Bakeer RM. Beneficial effects of curcumin nano-emulsion on spermatogenesis and reproductive performance in male rats under a protein deficient diet model: enhancement of sperm motility, Conservancy of testicular tissue integrity, cell energy and seminal plasma amino acids content. Journal of Biomedical Science. https://jbiomedsci.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12929-017-0373-5. Published September 2, 2017.
All the tips mentioned here are strictly informational. This site does not provide medical advice. We only recommend, the doctor treats
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