Man boobs might sound like an easy punchline, but Gynecomastia (swollen breast tissue in boys or men) is no laughing matter. It is caused by an imbalance of Estrogen and Testosterone, the female and male hormones respectfully. However, many men wrongly think that Gynecomastia is a common side effect of having too much Estrogen (female) when it is really due to a lack of Testosterone (male).
In the past 30 years, men’s testosterone levels plummeted due to our moderns lifestyles. T-levels in healthy 25-year-old men is down an alarming 30%. It is now affecting men almost half the age of what your dad might experience. From food additives (such as MSG) to lifestyle factors (stress, sleep deprivation, smoking, and obesity), it has never been more critical for men to take an active role in monitoring their Testosterone.
The severity of Gynecomastia can range from puffiness around the nipple to breast development in men. It can affect one or both breasts and the growth can often be uneven. Newborn boys are susceptible to temporary Gynecomastia due to their mother’s hormones, but as they reduce their exposure to Estrogen, they tend to resolve themselves. For this reason, newborn Gynecomastia is not a true case of Gynecomastia.
In teenage or adult men, Gynecomastia is extremely difficult to manage without surgery. Until now, the only treatment has be to remove the swollen breast tissue under the knife. This does not prevent the cause of the problem, however, or guarantee that the Gynecomastia will not return to the victim. If you have recently been diagnosed with Gynecomastia then we have some tips you can use to compliment any treatments your doctor may recommend.
There are many contributing factors in Gynecomastia. Your doctor will need to check your Body Mass Index (BMI) to ensure you do not have any extra fatty tissue. Being overweight is a common symptom of Gynecomastia, as excessive fat storage lowers Testosterone (which in turn increases Estrogen). You can also have a perfectly healthy weight and still grow breasts due to an excessive level of Estrogen (the side effect of having Low-T).
Gynecomastia may be treated with medications such as raloxifene (Evista) and tamoxifen (Soltamox). These are drugs usually prescribed to treat breast cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved those medications to treat breast cancer, but not gynecomastia. The use of drugs to treat a condition for which they are not FDA-approved is known as an “off-label” use. Off-label treatments may be safe, but you should talk about the use of these medications with your doctor before starting treatment.
Unfortunately, Gynecomastia often requires reconstructive surgery to correct (costing upwards of $5,000 per breast). This is why it is so important that men monitor their Testosterone levels to prevent Gynecomastia from setting in. By ensuring your Testosterone remains high, there is no chance for Estrogen to begin breast development.
Below are some tips you can use to prevent Gynecomastia in teenage or adult men.
Doctors recommend several treatments for the prevention of this embarrassing disease. The first is diet and exercise. A low BMI will reduce the opportunity for Estrogen to begin developing the breast tissue. It is also important to lower your belly fat, which is a stubborn fat where Estrogen is stored. This is why women have a softer, curvaceous figure as they store more Estrogen than men do.
It is incredibly important to work with your doctor on reaching a healthy BMI, as the higher your fat content, the higher your risk of synthesizing Estrogen. Other factors include taking a holistic approach to managing your health. Eating a diet free from artificial additives and chemicals can make a significant impact on your overall health, but none more so than on your Testosterone production.
Now some of you may be thinking, “Well, I don’t need to worry – I never eat Chinese food.” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple: MSG is EVERYWHERE. Many foods, processed, packaged and fast, contain MSG in one form or the other. For example, most wheys and protein shakes and powders that men consume for weight lifting are loaded with ungodly amounts of MSG. Many, many foods contain autholyzed yeast extract and/or various hydrolyzed proteins. And, furthermore, diet drinks almost always contain a sister excitotoxin (aspartates) that do just as much damage.
Read More: The Risks of MSG
While you might enjoy your soda, consider that it could be the leading cause of Gynecomastia – all those empty calories increase your belly fat and Estrogen production. However, as I have mentioned, things have gone haywire in our environment too. Dangerous chemicals in our food supply and environment are escalating the conversion.
The best solution is to improve your body composition, regardless if you weigh 150 lbs. or 350 lbs., you need to improve your ratio of lean body mass to fat. Second, elevate your testosterone levels. All men are at risk of Low T as they age, but when you compound this with lifestyle and environmental factors there’s a good chance your Testosterone isn’t where is should be (or could be) to prevent Gynecomastia.
Next, we will look at how to increase your Testosterone using natural supplements.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
One thing you may have noticed while reading is the significance of an imbalance of Estrogen and Testosterone in the role of Gynecomastia. A controversial treatment option that seeks to go to the root of the problem is HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). HRT means adjusting testosterone levels synthetically to stop an imbalance. The reason this can be an effective treatment is that it effectively kick starts your body’s imbalance and gives it a fighting chance to correct itself for the long-term management of Low T.
Natural methods for HRT include:
- getting more sleep (shoot for a minimum of 7 hours per night)
- making sure you’re getting enough water every day (1 gallon is good)
- exercise (high intensity interval training and heavy “power” lifts work best)
- reduce sugar and other simple refined carbohydrates from your diet
- taking a Testosterone supplement in conjunction with positive lifestyle choices
While we have mentioned that Gynecomastia is hard to correct without surgery, you can stop it from getting worse and in some cases reduce the effects to an “acceptable” level by monitoring your Testosterone levels. You can also help prevent Gynecomastia from happening altogether by supplementing with an herbal remedy. However, the best plan of attack is to use each of the methods listed above as a plan of attack.
A major factor that should influence the initial choice of therapy for gynecomastia is the condition’s duration. It is unlikely that any medical therapy will result in significant regression in the late fibrotic stage (a duration of 12 mos. or longer) of gynecomastia. As a result, medical therapies, if used, should be tried early in the condition’s course. The diagram below is a suggested treatment approach for patients with breast enlargement.
Read More: Gynecomastia Treatment & Management
- reduce your body weight ASAP
- increase your sleep, water intake, and exercise
- reduce additives and chemicals from your food or environment
- supplement your positive changes with a Testosterone supplement
- consult with a doctor regarding any surgery you may need for advanced Gynecomastia
If you are diagnosed with Gynecomastia then know that you have our support. While this is often a painful and embarrassing ailment, it does not have to last forever. We hope that by following the advices here, you will return to a stronger, leaner, healthier you by managing your Testosterone. All men should be actively monitoring for Low T to prevent Gynecomastia and other common diseases as they age.