Gynecomastia is a condition that can affect boys and men and causes male breast enlargement in one or both breasts. This excess breast tissue can lead to self-esteem issues, lack of self-confidence, and males feeling uncomfortable in their bodies. I receive many different questions regarding the cause of gynecomastia and what the options are to correct it. Read on for my answers to some of these common questions to educate yourself regarding this condition.

Question 1: Can Certain Foods Cause Gynecomastia (male boobs)?

I am often asked if certain foods can cause gynecomastia or the growth of male breast tissue. Some of the most common questions I get are regarding beer, chicken, eggs, and soybeans.

When it comes to beers that contain a significant amount of hops like IPA (Indian Pale Ale) they contain phytoestrogen, a plant-based estrogen hormone. Because of this, there is a common myth that drinking too much beer will cause estrogen levels to escalate. However, the truth is the phytoestrogen levels in beer are far too low to create any hormone imbalance in the body. It is important to remember that excessive consumption of beer or any alcohol can be detrimental to your overall health, so this should be avoided.

When it comes to soy, it contains isoflavones, a class of phytoestrogens that may mildly mimic the hormone estrogen. The effects of soy isoflavones on estrogen levels are complex, but in general, soy is safe to be consumed in moderation. As such, eggs, milk, and other food products that contain hormones are safe for consumption when consumed in moderation.

Question 2: Can Steroids Eliminate Gynecomastia?

Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances that are very similar to the male sex hormone, testosterone. Because they contain high levels of testosterone, some people may believe that they are a solution to gynecomastia, since the key cause of this condition is a hormonal imbalance when estrogen levels are higher (estrogen excess). Sounds like a solution right? Wrong.

Aside from other possible health issues, anabolic steroids are the primary trigger for gynecomastia. When a man takes steroids and then goes off them, testosterone levels will fluctuate, causing an increase in estrogen levels. This often leads to the development of excess fat in the chest area.

With this knowledge, it is important that you never self-medicate your gynecomastia, as it can cause your hormones to become imbalanced. If you do notice signs of drug-induced gynecomastia or believe your steroids cause gynecomastia, always seek advice from the appropriate and qualified doctor.

‍Question 3: Does Andropause/Male Menopause Cause Gynecomastia?

Andropause refers to the symptoms that males experience as testosterone production drops. After the age of 40, testosterone levels will begin to decline and symptoms such as fatigue, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, depression, reduced muscle mass, and mood swings may begin to manifest.

Testosterone is the hormone that kickstarts changes during puberty, affects a male’s physical and mental energy, and also regulates other important evolutionary features. As testosterone levels drop, it causes a hormonal imbalance which may eventually lead to the development of gynecomastia in one or both breasts.

Question 4: Is Gynecomastia An Early Sign Of Breast Cancer?

While breast cancer is more common in women, it can also be a concern for men. In fact, more than 2,700 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. However, some may believe that gynecomastia may be a sign of breast cancer, which is not the case. Furthermore, excessive breast development and breast cancer are not found to be correlated. This means that having gynecomastia does not mean you have a higher risk of breast cancer.

Question 5: How Do You Get Rid Of Gynecomastia‍?

‍Gynecomastia is a dual-component problem as these excessive breast glands and fat tissues, unfortunately, cannot be eradicated through diet and exercise alone.

When a male loses weight, he will tend to see an overall reduction in breast size. However, if you are suffering from true gynecomastia, your chest fullness will only become more noticeable after other parts of your body have shrunk. The only way to treat this breast tissue and gland growth in your body is through surgical intervention.

At my office I treat gynecomastia with 4-Dimensional (4D) gynecomastia surgery to comprehensively remove the excess tissue and to reshape, sculpt and tighten the chest. The 4-D surgery includes (1) breast tissue removal; (2) fat tissue reduction; (3) skin tightening and sculpting and (4) nipple reduction, if required.‍

Question 6: What are the Different Grades of Gynecomastia?

Excess male breast tissue is divided into four different “grades”, based on the severity of the problem. These gynecomastia grades include the following.

Gynecomastia Grade 1

The initial stage of gynecomastia is characterized by minor breast enlargement without the development of excess skin. Some tissue growth may also occur around the areola. The color of the tissue growth is different from the natural breast tissue. When surgery is performed at this stage, gynecomastia can be effectively treated.

Gynecomastia Grade 2

As the gynecomastia condition enters the next stage, moderate breast enlargement will occur without the development of excess skin. However, the condition will still remain unnoticeable when wearing loose clothing. Males may also experience a firmness under the nipple area while the outer area is still soft and fatty.

Gynecomastia Grade 3

If left untreated, gynecomastia worsens and enters the 3rd stage. At this stage, there will be moderate breast enlargement with the development of excess skin. As the enlarged male breast tissue extends further into the breast zone, the male chest starts to look slightly like the feminine breasts, and at this stage, the gynecomastia becomes clearly noticeable to others even while wearing loose clothing.

Gynecomastia Grade 4

As the gynecomastia enters the final stage, the condition is further aggravated with breast enlargement and excess skin. At this stage of the gynecomastia condition, patients will find that their chest appears similar to that of a woman’s breasts. By now, the enlarged male breast tissue has become very noticeable and would be impossible to hide.

Question 7: Will My Skin Sag After Gynecomastia (male boobs)?

Many of the patients that I see have degrees of gynecomastia that are not excessively saggy. In these instances, the natural elasticity of the skin will ensure that the skin snaps back appropriately into a more aesthetically pleasing position. It is also important to wear the compression garment given to you following surgery, as it will help in guiding the skin back to the desired position.

Question 8: Is Recurrent Gynecomastia Common After Gynecomastia Surgery?

When a gland is removed through the gynecomastia procedure, it is permanently removed and does not recur. To ensure that results are long-term, patients should adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Question 9: Who is at High Risk for Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is more common during early puberty to mid-puberty because this is when hormonal changes occur. However, gynecomastia can also occur in middle-aged to older men. Up to 70% of boys in early to mid puberty are affected, while up to 65% of grown men are affected.

Question 10: What can Worsen Gynecomastia?

Excess weight gain or large amounts of body fat can cause gynecomastia to become more noticeable. You should also avoid any medications that you been proven to cause gynecomastia. If you are concerned regarding your gynecomastia or breast tissue growth, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office for a professional assessment.

Schedule a Gynecomastia Surgery Consultation

If you have any questions regarding gynecomastia, believe that you may have gynecomastia and are seeking options for treatment, or are experiencing breast pain associated with breast growth, please do not hesitate to reach out to me today. I will be happy to discuss your gynecomastia symptoms as well as determine if you are a good candidate for male breast reduction surgery.