Gynecomastia: Can it Go Away With Exercise?

man measuring his gynecomastia
Men with bigger chests could have gynecomastia. Exercise might help it go away, or they may need medical care. This blog post looks at the causes of this and how it can be treated with physical activity, doctor visits, etc.

What is gynecomastia?

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Gynecomastia, which is the enlargement of men’s breasts, is a very common occurrence in bodybuilders and is caused by an excess of estrogen in the body. It should not be confused with breast cancer as they are two separate conditions.

Gynecomastia can be caused by genetics, puberty, alcohol consumption, medications and various other factors. A lot of bodybuilders suffer from gynecomastia because of the huge amount of steroids and other chemicals that they consume. It is almost impossible to completely avoid gynecomastia if you are a bodybuilder and take steroids.

While gynecomastia is not dangerous, it can be embarrassing and affect your self-confidence and self-esteem. Fortunately, gynecomastia can be reversed in most cases by reducing the consumption of alcohol and drugs, and by changing the steroids to milder ones.

In some cases exercise has been scientifically proven to effectively reduce the symptoms of gynecomastia. In more severe cases, individuals may opt for breast reduction surgery or a mastectomy as alternative treatments.

What causes gynecomastia?

An imbalance of hormones in the body can cause gynecomastia. Other possible causes can include:

  • Puberty: During puberty, boys experience a surge in their estrogen levels. Although it can temporary cause gynecomastia, it has the potential to linger for a few years until their hormone levels eventually regulate again.
  • Alcohol consumption: Drinking alcohol can elevate estrogen levels in the body.
  • Antibiotics: Some antibiotics can lead to elevated estrogen levels.
  • Drugs: The use of certain drugs, including anabolic steroids.
  • Obesity: Obesity can cause a disruption of hormone balance in the body.
  • Health conditions: Certain health conditions, including liver disease and kidney failure.
  • High levels of prolactin: Women’s production of milk is regulated by the hormone prolactin. Elevated levels of prolactin can lead to gynecomastia.
  • Chloroquine: This is a medication that is used to treat malaria.
  • Cholesterol-lowering medications: These medications can cause an imbalance of hormones, which can lead to gynecomastia.
  • Tobacco: Tobacco use can cause an imbalance of hormones.
  • Thyroid medications: These medications can cause an imbalance of hormones.

Can exercise help get rid of gynecomastia?

old man lifting dumbbells outside shirtless

The short answer is no. Gynecomastia is a condition in which the tissue that makes up the male breasts becomes enlarged. This tissue is known as the mammary gland it is pretty hard to reduce it with exervise. There are generally two types of gynecomastia: Fluid-based gynecomastia & Non fluid-based gynecomastia.

Fluid-based gynecomastia: This type of gynecomastia is usually caused by a build up of fluid in the breasts. It is the most common type of gynecomastia. 

Non-fluid-based gynecomastia: This type of gynecomastia is caused by a build up of fat within the mammary gland. This can be from a high-fat diet or obesity. 

The majority of gynecomastia cases are caused by fluid-based gynecomastia. Now, there are numerous causes of fluid-based gynecomastia, such as: use of certain medications, use of recreational drugs, overindulging in alcohol, compromised liver or kidney function, diabetes, kidney failure, cancer or tumors, heart failure, liver failure, thyroid conditions, under active pituitary gland and many more… Therefore, the main cause of gynecomastia is the build up of fluid in the mammary gland. 

So, how can exercise help to get rid of gynecomastia caused by fluid build up? 

Well, gynecomastia occurs when fluid accumulates in the mammary gland, resulting in a swollen chest as its primary symptom.

So, if you reduce your body fat percentage and get in better shape, you can expect to see an improvement in the size of your chest. Unfortunately, this will not help relieve gynecomastia since it is caused by tissue that exists in the breast itself not related to fat levels or exercise regimens. Therefore, if you want to reduce or eliminate gynecomastia, exercise alone cannot provide relief.

However, in the case of non-fluid-based gynecomastia, exercise could actually be helpful. Non-fluid-based gynecomastia is caused by fat build up in the mammary gland, rather than excess fluid. This is a much more common type of gynecomastia than fluid-based gynecomastia.

If you are carrying excess weight and wish to reduce the appearance of gynecomastia, it is likely that you will need to adjust your lifestyle habits in order to create a calorie deficit and introduce exercise into your routine. In answer to the question, “can exercise help get rid of gynecomastia?”, the answer is an emphatic yes.

Exercising increases blood flow throughout the body, delivering more oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to the breasts. This increased circulation helps remove fat from stored in the breast tissue, consequently reducing their size and eliminating any gynecomastia present. Since men with higher levels of muscle mass tend to have less gynecomastia than those with lower muscularity, increasing one’s strength and fitness will help reduce this condition as well.

Therefore, exercising can be an effective way to rid yourself of non-fluid-based gynecomastia. To reduce your gynecomastia, it is best to combine a healthy diet with regular physical activity – aiming to lose fat and gain muscle mass.

What are some exercises that can help with gynecomastia?

shirtless man in the gym lifting a barbell

If you have gynecomastia, your doctor may recommend doing exercises to strengthen your chest muscles. These may include:

If you have gynecomastia along with other health problems, your doctor may prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

HRT can assist with the reduction of breast tissue if you have gynecomastia. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid exercises that put pressure on your chest or boost blood flow to it, as they could lead to a further growth of breast tissue.

Your doctor may recommend avoiding the following exercises:   

  • Bench presses
  • Chest flyes
  • Pushups
  • Dips

You should also avoid wearing tight clothing that may put pressure on your chest. If you have gynecomastia, call your doctor if you notice any changes in your breast tissue.

Are there any other treatments for gynecomastia?

two surgeons doing surgery behind a blanket

In some cases, your doctor may only recommend surgery to correct your condition if it is severe; otherwise, other treatments can be used.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reported that the most popular surgical procedure for gynecomastia incorporates liposuction and excision. Surgeons firstly eliminate any extra fat and tissue found in the chest area, then use liposuction to make the breasts look more aesthetically pleasing.

This type of surgery is said to be reasonably fast, with a short recovery time; however, the cost may be too high for some people and it isn’t necessarily suitable for everybody.

If surgery isn’t appropriate, your doctor may recommend topical treatments, such as tamoxifen. This is a prescription medication that inhibits the estrogen receptors in the breast. This reduces breast tissue growth.

Another treatment is by applying a topical gel containing anti-estrogen medications directly to the breast, users are able to reduce the size of the breast tissue due to its hormone-reducing effects.

Your doctor may additionally suggest the use of hormone therapy as a mode of treatment. This approach works by obstructing male hormones to forestall the growth of breast tissue. Hormone therapy may be helpful on its own or in combination with other treatments.

If you suffer from mild gynecomastia, there are several natural approaches to treat your condition. Taking vitamin D supplements can help reduce the size of breast tissue; however, this method may not be effective if your case is particularly severe. In these cases, performing an exercise called pec fly under the supervision of a physical therapist can reduce further growth of breast tissue.

In many cases, gynecomastia is only temporary and will go away on its own. But if the condition is severe, it can cause lasting embarrassment and emotional distress. If you or a family member are experiencing gynecomastia, speak to a doctor to determine the best course of action. In some cases, surgery may be the best solution.

What are the pros and cons of surgery?

woman surgeon preparing for a sugery in a room

The main benefit of having surgery is that it can provide a long-term solution to the issue being addressed. Furthermore, outcomes are often quite positive; surgical treatments are frequently the only available form of therapy for premature male gynecomastia and also play an important role in remedying certain congenital deformities.

Nevertheless, there are a few drawbacks that should be accounted for. Surgery can be quite expensive and may not be covered by medical insurance plans. Additionally, it is a serious type of procedure with potential risks such as bleeding, infection, and permanent scarring that must also be taken into consideration.

Aside from requiring time away from your regular obligations, surgery may or may not produce the desired outcome. Even when it does, there can be lingering issues, such as breasts that remain a bit out of shape or disproportionate. Therefore, contemplating this procedure warrants serious consideration with regard to the advantages and disadvantages before taking any steps forward. To ensure you make an informed decision, it’s best to talk through all available options with a doctor who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Conclusion on can gynecomastia go away with exercise?

Gynecomastia is a condition that affects boys and men, causing enlargement of breast tissue. Generally, this condition is not problematic or cancerous and typically resolves without treatment.

However, in cases where the enlarged breasts do not go away on their own, there are options such as hormone therapy, topical medications and surgery to attempt to reduce the size of one’s chest area.

If you’re considering any form of medical intervention for gynecomastia it is important that you consult with an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon first before undertaking any corrective steps.

For non-fluid cases of gynecomastia, exercise may be beneficial toward shrinking the breast size; however it should always be discussed beforehand with a doctor in order to ensure safety during your workout plan.

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