What Are Gynecomastia Types?
Adult Gynecomastia is a medical condition that happens past the teen years. Gynecomastia can happen younger but usually disappears within 18 months so it is necessary to differentiate gynecomastia when it continues or develops past the teen years. Gynecomastia in the adult years is caused by a decline in testosterone levels which causes an increase in the amount of subcutaneous fatty tissue. While this process is completely normal and is all part of the ageing process but can lead to gynecomastia. The increase in fatty tissue can, unfortunately, lead the body to up its conversion of female hormones such as estrogen. This increased estrogen causes the glands in the areola to become enlarged and to grow beyond what is considered normal. This extra gland tissue can lead to what many call “man boobs” or the appearance of female-like breasts on men.
Fatty, or pseudogynecomastia can be a mistake for regular adult gynecomastia because by appearances they look exactly the same. However, pseudogynecomastia is made up of fatty tissue instead of gland tissue. Pseudogynecomastia is usually found in men that are overweight. As they have gained weight they have also gained fat, some of which has deposited in their chest giving the appearance of breasts. Pseudogynecomastia can cause a lot of men to believe that they have true gynecomastia but before you go jumping to conclusions you should double-check that it is in fact gynecomastia and not pseudogynecomastia. The best way to do this is to meet with a doctor that specializes in gynecomastia. Once you know which you are dealing with then you can decided on a plan of action. Depending on the type this will vary so it is important to know for certain.
Pubertal gynecomastia is a type of gynecomastia that affects teen aged boys. It is often considered embarrassing despite the fact that somewhere between 47% and 64% of all teen boys have the medical condition at some point. Pubertal gynecomastia usually develops during puberty but can appear as in boys as young as 10 years old. The peak of the condition usually hits around 13 or 14 years old but will lessen as they age. The good news is that pubertal gynecomastia will usually completely disappear on its own by the time the boys are through their teen years without any form of surgery or medication.
Pubertal gynecomastia appears in teenagers because of their increased levels of estrogen. How this estrogen interacts with the masculine androgens can sometimes result in gynecomastia. Yet, as the boys continue to grow and their chest expands the gynecomastia will remedy itself.
Mixed gynecomastia is pretty much exactly how it sounds, it is a composition of both glandular and fatty tissues. If you are someone that is overweight and finds yourself with gynecomastia, usually the first thought is that it is solely fatty or pseudogynecomastia and can be dealt with through exercise and diet. However, it is not unheard of to have true gynecomastia that is further accentuated through excessive fatty tissue. In these cases, the medical condition cannot be remedied through exercise alone and it may be necessary to consider other options. When you have mixed gynecomastia you will have excessive gland tissue around and behind the areola. Underneath the gland tissue will then be a thick layer of fat. Mixed gynecomastia will have the same look and feel as adult gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia so you will want to meet with a specialist to determine which type you have.
Gynecomastia Treatment Options
Due to the fact that gynecomastia can be highly embarrassing and can be psychologically difficult for those that have it, they may want to consider exercise as an option for helping to reduce, or in some cases, eliminate the gynecomastia altogether. The good news is that there are certain exercises that can help with some types of gynecomastia. If you have fatty gynecomastia and it is caused by being overweight or obese, you will want to speak with you doctor before trying any of these exercises and some may be too strenuous for you at first. However, as you lose weight you will find that the exercise becomes easier and you will begin to notice the results you are seeking.
- Cardio – Cardio is one of the best exercises you can do. By getting your heart rate elevated you will begin to burn calories and fat. Doing as little as 20 minutes on the treadmill, or jogging around your neighbourhood a few times a week will begin to cut down on some of the tissue in the breast. For the first few weeks you will want to try to run for 20 minutes every other day which equals 3 to 4 times a week. After the first month, your body will have adjusted to the new exercise and you can begin to exercise daily. The more you run the more your stamina will increase and you’ll be able to run for longer and more often.
One of the benefits of cardio is that many individuals already have a treadmill at home. In too many cases the treadmill is sitting around gathering dust. Now is the perfect time to begin putting it to good use. If you don’t own a treadmill but aren’t keen on running outside you can also look into getting a local gym membership, some even do trial programs so that you can decide if the gym is a good fit for you.
When you first begin to run it might be difficult with your current breast size. Fortunately, there is comfortable work out clothing available and support wear for your chest to limit bounce as you jog and run.
- Rowing – Rowing can be a great exercise for those that find running too hard or want something that will work their back as well as their chest. Rowing is good for those with gynecomastia because it targets the chest and you will get a great work out without the stress that other exercises can put on the body. When you begin to start with short 10-minute session 3 times a week and work up to 30 minutes daily as your endurance increases.
- Low impact – Since some gynecomastia cases result from being out of shape it might be necessary to consider low impact exercise, to begin with. As you adjust and lose weight and/or become fitter you will be able to move on to another more physically demanding exercise. Some of the best low impact exercises include swimming and elliptical work. Neither of these will put extra stress on your joints and ligaments and you may find that you can work out for longer doing these exercises than you could with running or weight training.
The benefit of swimming is that it will target your upper body just as well as rowing but you will not feel the same fatigue even if you manage to swim for more than an hour. The elliptical is beneficial for getting your heart rate up without the harsh impact on your knees and ankles.
- Boot camp – Boot camp may not be the right fit for everyone but if you’re outgoing and love working out with a group, you may want to add it to your list of possibilities. These courses are specialized and you can select one that is specifically for men looking to lose weight. You might even find that is targeted for the chest. Keep in mind that these classes are known for being intense and are very physical. The instructors can often be demanding and may not always be flattering. For many, this type of workout is perfect while for others it is off-putting.
- Weight lifting – Once you’ve begun to increase your stamina and endurance you will want to start adding in some weight lifting or free weight work. By this point, you should have already begun to notice a change in your chest. The gynecomastia probably isn’t completely gone but will have reduced some. Lifting will help you to create the chest muscles that will eliminate the rest of the gynecomastia and give you the fit chest that you’ve been wanting. Working some form of cardio and weight lifting is typical once you have begun to get more in shape and you will find that they complement each other well.
For some, the way that they eat may have contributed to their gynecomastia. There is not direct association between specific foods and gynecomastia but there is a link between being overweight and estrogen (found in some foods) causing excessive breast tissue from fat. When you meet with your doctor he can help to point you in the right direction with food and can help you come up with a plan. However, there a few keys that you can keep in mind on your own.
- Phytoestrogens – There are some foods that have higher estrogen levels than others and you may want to consider eating less of them or cutting them out of your diet altogether. Some of the main culprits include soy items like tofu and soy milk. These two items contain what are known as phytoestrogens and are a natural source of estrogen which can increase gland tissue worsening your gynecomastia. There are studies that suggest that the estrogen found in foods does not increase estrogen levels but if you are worried you might want to cut them out of your diet just in case.
- Low calorie and nutrient-rich – As you adjust your diet you will want to try and focus on foods that are low in calories but rich in nutrients. Being overweight can be the main cause of some gynecomastia and by losing some weight you will decrease the breast size. By selecting healthy nutrient-dense foods you can promote weight loss. Some of the best foods to eat include fruit, vegetables, nonfat dairy items, and lean proteins.
For some weight loss and exercise simply won’t cut it. For these individuals, there is herbal supplements. the herbal supplements are specially created to reduce gynecomastia by helping your body to increase its testosterone production and lowering estrogen. Low testosterone can be a cause of gynecomastia so by increasing these levels you can reduce or completely resolve the problem.