Gynecomastia or man boobs, in majority of cases, is not a serious problem. However, boys and men who suffer from this very embarrassing condition will seriously disagree. Nothing can rob them of their self-esteem more than having a pair of soft protuberances in their chest. A Boston Children’s Hospital study even found out that gynecomastia has a negative impact on various emotional health areas among boys suffering from it.
Most males with the condition find that it goes away on its own. As a matter of fact, it is said that more than 75% of pubertal gynecomastia cases involved the disappearance of signs and symptoms in just a year. Some males suffering from it may not be as lucky. Fortunately, there are various medical and natural treatments for the discomforting condition.
Signs and Symptoms of Gynecomastia:
In many cases, gynecomastia not only causes the development of man boobs. The condition may also cause:
- Tenderness of the breasts
- Pain in the affected areas
- Increase in the diameter of the areola (pigmented ring of skin around the nipple)
- Asymmetrical growth of the chest tissue
- Nipple discharge either on one breast or both
Different Causes of Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia is very common among newborn babies. It’s also normal for boys going through teenage years and older men, although it can wreak havoc to their lives. Having man boobs can be caused by a variety of things. They include:
- Hormonal imbalance. Too much estrogen in males causes the breast tissue to enlarge. Gynecomastia in newborn babies tends to go away naturally as the levels of estrogen become gradually lower. The condition is common among older men because they tend to produce less testosterone.
- Alcohol abuse. Some studies have shown that alcohol abuse tends to put males at risk of having gynecomastia.
- Drug abuse. Numerous experts believe that the use of prohibited drugs can cause gynecomastia. Many of them agree that there’s a link between the condition and the intake of drugs such as amphetamines, marijuana, heroin and methadone.
- Intake of certain medications. The enlargement of breast tissue may be brought about by the intake of some antibiotics, tricyclic antidepressants, drugs for anxiety, anabolic steroids, HIV medications, calcium channel blockers, digoxin, and drugs for ulcers.
- Some health conditions. The likes of liver disease, kidney failure, thyroid disorders and Klinefelter’s syndrome are known to cause gynecomastia.
Medical Treatments for Gynecomastia
The underlying cause of gynecomastia is treated to put an end to the embarrassing condition. If the problem is being caused by a certain drug, the specialist who prescribed it may recommend a different one.
In case the condition does not go away on its own after a couple of years, a doctor may recommend hormone therapy if gynecomastia is the result of imbalance between testosterone and estrogen. There are instances where breast reduction surgery is the solution.
Natural Remedies for Gynecomastia
The following are some all-natural gynecomastia solutions that may be tried by a sufferer who doesn’t want to take medications or undergo surgery to deal with the problem:
- Consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. Both nutrients help promote the production of more testosterone. Flaxseed oil, salmon, sardines, herring, tuna, chia seeds, walnuts and soybeans are wonderful sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Foods that are rich in zinc include beef, lamb, seafood, spinach, pumpkin seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, beans and mushrooms.
- Exercising on a regular basis. Because being overweight causes the body to produce more estrogen, losing weight can help put a stop to gynecomastia. Walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, dancing and playing basketball are great examples of cardiovascular exercises that help burn calories and fat. Doing push-ups and other exercises that tone the chest muscles can help in improving the appearance of the condition.
- Adding 2 to 3 teaspoons of turmeric powder to your diet. Turmeric is a spice that is said to help promote the production of more testosterone. In addition, it is also known to help in zapping fat most especially the kind in the chest area.
- Intake of milk thistle supplement or tea. Whether in capsule or tea form, it is said that milk thistle can help deal with gynecomastia naturally. This is especially true if the condition is due to liver disease as milk thistle, in particular the antioxidant silymarin it contains, is known to help promote a healthy liver.
- Supplementing with red clover. This herb contains genistein, a plant-based compound known to have potent estrogen-reducing properties. Red clover is available in supplement form although drinking tea prepared from the herb can be beneficial too for someone with gynecomastia.