How to Counteract the Many Causes of Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia may not be a term you’re familiar with, but we’re certain you’ve heard of the condition it describes. Simply put, gynecomastia describes male breast development, a common condition where male patients develop larger than average breasts. In some cases, gynecomastia is minor, a relative inconvenience. Other times, the condition is more pronounced, leaving men feeling embarrassed to take off their shirt or wear some clothing styles. 

What causes male breast development? What can you do if it occurs? We’re sharing common tactics for counteracting the many causes of gynecomastia.

The Many Causes of Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia will affect most men at some point during their lifetime. Most of the time, the condition is harmless and doesn’t require treatment. Talk with your doctor if you’re worried or have any concerns. 

Although most men will experience some breast development during their lifetime, there are factors that can influence your likelihood of experiencing gynecomastia. Let’s take a look at some common causes.

Hormonal Fluctuations

Male breast development is very common in teens, likely because of the hormonal changes the body is experiencing. We also see frequent gynecomastia is older males, as aging can affect hormone levels.

Medications

Some medications can lead to gynecomastia symptoms. Ask your doctor if your medications could be causing breast development. Some medications that are known to cause gynecomastia include:

  • Anxiety medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Cancer medicines and chemotherapy
  • Heart medications
  • Some antibiotics
  • ADHD medications

Often, switching a medication can alleviate gynecomastia symptoms in patients with medication-induced symptoms.

Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol and some drugs can cause breast development in men. Anabolic steroids and marijuana are common causes of gynecomastia.

Herbal Products and Essential Oils

Could your essential oil soap be causing your excess breast tissue? Lavender and tea tree products have been linked with gynecomastia, probably due to their mild estrogenic activity.

Simple Lifestyle Changes to Reverse Gynecomastia

If you have gynecomastia, simple lifestyle changes may reduce your symptoms and resolve the problem, helping you avoid surgery and more invasive treatments. Talk with your doctor about your breast development to see if you can find a cause. 

  • Ask for a Medication Change- If your condition is caused by medication, changing medications may help. 
  • Lose Weight- Some men develop breast tissue because they are overweight and the breast area is largely comprised of fatty tissue. Losing weight can reduce the amount of fat in the breast area. 
  • Give Up Drugs and Alcohol- If you use drugs or alcohol regularly, it could be contributing to your gynecomastia. Reducing drug and alcohol use may alleviate your symptoms. 
  • Be Patient- Gynecomastia is often temporary and will resolve on its own in time. If it doesn’t bother you and your doctor isn’t concerned, you can wait for treatment.

Lifestyle changes aren’t always possible. Other treatment options are available if you’re unable to resolve your condition with these changes.

Surgery for Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia doesn’t always need treatment, but many men choose to pursue it. Breast development in men is highly stigmatized and many men feel uncomfortable and embarrassed by their appearance. Restoring a flatter, more masculine chest helps many men to feel better about their appearance. 

Surgery is highly effective for treating breast development in men. Come in for a consultation with Dr. Clinton to explore your options. He usually recommends one of the following options:

  • Liposuction- If your breast tissue is primarily fat, liposuction can remove it. A small incision is created near the breast and a thin metal tube is used to suction fat out of the area. Liposuction incisions are very small and leave minimal scarring. Liposuction doesn’t tighten skin, so this treatment is limited in the amount of fat that can be removed and by skin quality. 
  • Surgical Excision- Surgical excision removes fat, skin, and breast tissue using carefully placed incisions. This technique is often used for more severe gynecomastia or patients with a lot of glandular tissue.

Learn more

Dr. Clinton can provide more information about the best technique to treat your male breast development during a consultation. Call our office at 205-408-9787 to learn more about gynecomastia treatment in Birmingham, AL.