Without surgery is there anyway to get rid of gynecomastia? I’ve had it since I was 14. It’s really starting to bug me. It’s embarrassing!
Gynecomastia, or gynaecomastia, is the development of abnormally large mammary glands in men that results in breast enlargement. It can occur at almost any age but many cases are with adolescent teenage males.
Often a source of distress, it isn’t always related to obesity. In many cases of gynecomastia in teenagers, it’s may occur because of a hormonal imbalance that clears up or shrinks within a couple of years. Although individual cases many vary and root cause is hard to determine.
If you have a high percentage of body fat, then your absolute best option is to burn off fat period. There’s no spot reduction but men can easily store adipose tissue in the breast area. Once you start to lean up, you’ll burn off fat overall, which will include the chest area. This may be a problem area for you but over time, a good nutrition and training program to get you leaner should do the trick.
If you are really concerned, you should see a medical doctor that can diagnose gynecomastia with a physical examination. Sometimes x-rays or ultrasound are needed to confirm any diagnoses. Blood work may be required if there’s underlying issues that might be causing gynecomastia.
My best guess without knowing is that you just need to decrease your body fat percentage.
Forget spot reduction and trying to do a bunch of chest exercises (although it’s part of a good training program to work all muscle groups). Bench presses, push ups, etc will NOT “spot reduce” chest fat. Remember, that chest fat will only decrease with the caloric deficit.
Body fat reduction is caused by a reduction in calories and an increase in activity. That will help you burn off the fat, not doing a bunch of chest exercises.
The weight training you will do as part of a training program will improve your muscular definition and physical appearance of your gynecomastia but it will only help to a smaller degree. If you do have a higher level of body fat, no amount of muscle improvements you’ll make will show thru a significant layer of chest fat.
Quite recently there was yet another study (study posted below) that again showed there’s no such thing as spot reduction. The first thing most people want to do when plagued with this problem is spend a lot of time doing area specific exercises in an attempt to reduce the appearance.
The important part of this recent study was that…
“MRI found a generalized subcutaneous fat loss independent of gender, supporting the notion that spot reduction does not occur as a result of resistance training.”
That means that doing more exercises for that area is not going to do anything to cure gynecomastia.
If you are quite lean and there’s fat in the breast area, it’s most likely some cause of gynecomastia which gives males the appearance of having some breast issue. This can be caused by several factors including excess estrogen. If it’s a mild case, it might just clear up as you pass puberty and the hormone levels tapper off a bit. If it’s a bigger issue, it can be cured with some prescription type drugs. And if it’s a bad case that doesn’t just go away, then surgical options are available.
In any event, if it’s not because you are just at a higher body fat right now, then you’ll need to get it properly diagnosed by a medical professional that can give you better options.
Your best option at this point is to lean up, lose the fat, and get a good body fat measurement. Once you start to lean up, you should see some positive results. If not, then you know that it may not just clear up on its own and you should seek the advice of a medical doctor for further options.
“Subcutaneous fat alterations resulting from an upper body resistance training program” Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Jul;39(7):1177-1185.
PURPOSE:: It is believed spot reduction, the exercise-induced localized loss of subcutaneous fat, does not occur as a result of an exercise program; however, evidence as a whole has been inconsistent. To reexamine this concept, we compared subcutaneous fat measurements before and after resistance training among 104 subjects (45 men, 59 women).
METHODS:: Subjects participated in 12 wk of supervised resistance training of their nondominant arm. Magnetic resonance imaging and skinfold calipers examined subcutaneous fat in the nondominant (trained) and dominant (untrained) arms before and after resistance training. Repeated-measures ANCOVA tested for subcutaneous fat differences within and between arms before, after, and from before to after resistance training by gender and measurement technique, with BMI and age as covariates. Simple linear regression compared subcutaneous fat changes before and after resistance training as assessed by MRI and skinfold.
RESULTS:: Subcutaneous fat, measured by skinfold, decreased in the trained arm and not the untrained arm in the men (P 0.05). MRI determinations of subcutaneous fat changes were not different between arms in the total sample and by gender (P > 0.05).
CONCLUSION:: Subcutaneous fat changes resulting from resistance training varied by gender and assessment technique. Skinfold findings indicate that spot reduction occurred in men but not in women. In contrast, MRI found a generalized subcutaneous fat loss independent of gender, supporting the notion that spot reduction does not occur as a result of resistance training. MRI, sensitive to changes along the entire upper arm, detected greater variation in resistance training responses, preventing significant differences between trained and untrained arms. Variation in upper-arm resistance training response was not evident from a single skinfold measurement at the belly of the muscle.
Be Fit, Stay Strong!
Marc David – CPT