A question which I am often asked during consultations is, ” Can gynecomastia go away with exercise? “.  Before I answer whether Improving gynecomastia with exercise is a possibility, let met start off by saying that men with gynecomastia often try various ways to help them get rid of their male breast tissue or man boobs. Gynecomastia is defined as the development or overgrowth of male breast tissue secondary to hormonal imbalances between testosterone and estrogen. By definition,  gynecomastia is an endocrine disorder which may involve infants, teenagers, and adult males. Surprisingly gynecomastia is a harmless condition and does not produce any complication related to other systems of the body. In most cases, the impact of gynecomastia is primarily an issue of physical appearance, associated discomfort and hence, the mental stress associated with it.

On the internet, one can find dozens of misguided articles and blogs which convince men to exercise to rid them of gynecomastia. According to some of these click-baits articles,  gynecomastia goes away with exercise. This is simply not accurate.  There simply is no concrete scientific basis to show that there is any success in ridding yourself of gynecomastia with exercise.  Continue reading to find out why !

Gynecomastia versus  Pseudogynecomastia: Understanding the Difference

People are misguided in using medical terms to define their condition. They subsequently end up choosing the wrong treatments and end up disappointed with the results. 

In overweight men, fat tends to deposit in their abdomen, torso, and lower back. The arms and legs are slim but the rest of the body gains weight. This distribution of fat also results in the deposition of fat in and around the breast. Subsequently, the chest appears puffy and the nipple and areola appear swollen. This is called Pseudogynecomastia. Pseudo means fake so the term Pseudogynecomastia means fake gynecomastia. In this condition, pectoral fat accumulates in the chest due to obesity. Fat stores in and around the nipple area specifically. Both conditions may appear very similarly. They give more-or-less similar shape and look to the breast but the real difference is what lies beneath.

In Pseudogynecomastia, the entire breast enlarges evenly. The deposition is mostly bilateral and close observation reveals no change in mass and shape in and around the breast throughout many years. This condition is also called lipomastia and adipomastia.

Now, regarding gynecomastia, this is a condition which results due to excess development of glandular breast tissue in males, as a consequence of hormonal imbalances between testosterone and estrogen. Men are often confused as to whether they have gynecomastia or not.

Definitively, your doctor can confirm the diagnosis as to whether you have gynecomastia. A reliable self-assessment exam has the following findings: The presence of a firm mound of glandular breast tissue around/underneath the areola is oftentimes consistent with a diagnosis of gynecomastia. It tends to be tender to the touch, and especially in adolescents. Moreover, your nipple may also be very sensitive to the touch.

Keep in mind that it is very possible to have a clinical picture of both gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia. This presentation is very common in overweight males, and certainly adults that undergo gynecomastia surgery often times also have at least a modest degree of pseudogynecomastia.

In summation, gynecomastia is the development of new glandular breast tissue as a result of hormonal imbalances between testosterone and estrogen. There is no associated fat component, by definition. Alternatively, pseudogynecomastia is the accumulation of fat cells in the male chest. There is no glandular breast tissue component to pseudogynecomastia, by definition. To reemphasize, patients may present with both gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia in the same clinical setting.

In 90% of the cases, as in adolescence, gynecomastia resolves on its own. When gynecomastia presents as an adult, proper assessment must be determined to make an accurate diagnosis with an appropriate treatment plan- sometimes this involves making changes to your medications. Other times, when there is no obvious cause which can be remedied with conservative measures, surgery is the treatment of choice for gynecomastia. If you are obese, there a high possibility that you don’t have gynecomastia but rather pseudogynecomastia, although as discussed, you may have both. Consult with your doctor to find out which diagnosis you have.

Exercise is for pseudogynecomastia, not gynecomastia.

If you notice the development of puffed up nipples/areola that are sensitive to the touch with an associated underlying mass, make sure you notify your physician so that an evaluation and proper diagnosis can be reached. The correct diagnosis will improve your chances of having an optimal outcome.

For men that are diagnosed with pseudogynecomastia, getting control over obesity with proper diet and exercise is critical to reversing the condition. The treatment lies in losing weight, a comprehensive exercise plan, a calorie-restricted diet and lifestyle changes.

For exercises, you don’t have to buy a gym membership or buy gym equipment. The exercises listed below are super easy and very effective. The best part is that you can do them at your home. These exercises help regain strength, and contour of your chest.

Tip: Before you start exercises make sure you know how to do them. Wrong practice can give you the wrong results! Lastly, always make sure to confer with your primary physician before embarking on an exercise regimen to make sure you are healthy enough to proceed.

– Air Squats
– Pushups
– Standing low cable fly
– Barbell bench press
– Barbell incline bench press
– Dumbbell bench press
– Dumbbell pullover
– Dumbbell deadlift to press

Remember, exercise does not work on its own unless you switch to a healthy diet. This is the combination. Exercise and diet alone can’t work. But when combined, they do wonders.

So exercise does not work for Gynecomastia?

No. Exercise and diet do not affect gynecomastia.

Diet and exercise burn excess fat and build muscle. In gynecomastia, there is no excess fat. To get rid of glandular breast tissue, the most reliable and effective way is gynecomastia surgery. This surgery is only 1-2 hours long, on average. It is the only clinically proven treatment for gynecomastia. Surgeons permanently excise the glandular breast tissue, extra skin and fatty layer giving you a well contoured chest. Usually, surgery inculcates anxiety and fear. Gynecomastia surgery is a very straightforward procedure and gives remarkable results. It restores confidence and boosts self-esteem. Although there are several factors which exclusively affect post-surgical recovery, on average, patients require 10-15 days to recover completely.

If you think you may have gynecomastia or pseudogynecomastia, call the offices of Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon, Glenn Vallecillos, MD, FACS at 310-273-3007 or info@drvallecillos.com for an evaluation. 

Reference
https://www.amaris-b.com/blog/pseudogynecomastia-vs-gynecomastia#:~:text=heard%20about%20pseudogynecomastia%3F-,What%20is%20pseudogynecomastia%3F,accumulation%20of%20stubborn%20pectoral%20fat.

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