Can gynecomastia and loose skin be cured through exercise?
As much as I hate to admit it, I suffer from gynecomastia. It was never an issue for me until after I got out of college and put on some weight. I started to get back in shape when I turned 27 last year, and as a result I now am left with saggy man boobs. Are there certain exercises that I can do to help? I feel like a mess.
Gynecomastia can be a stigmatizing condition for men, who are expected to sport a smooth, hyper-masculine chest contour. However, men do have breasts; the breast tissue simply does not develop in the same way as it does in women due to changing hormone levels. During puberty, up to 70% of adolescent boys experience gynecomastia, with some men experiencing the condition during adulthood due to factors as diverse as recreational drug use, steroids taken for bodybuilding, imbalanced testosterone levels, or genetics.
True gynecomastia is characterized by swollen breast tissue and excess fatty tissue. True gynecomastia is categorized into grades of increasing severity based on breast size, with grade one referring to a mild enlargement of the breast bud and grade four referring to noticeable feminization of the breast and nipple. True gynecomastia cannot be fully treated with diet or exercise alone. The sagging man boobs you describe may be the result of remaining glandular tissue following weight loss, remaining loose skin, or both.
While chest exercises can help build a stronger upper body, they will do little to dramatically improve the appearance of sagging skin. The skin can only shrink so far and, if your weight loss was significant, it is likely that the skin has stretched beyond its natural ability to retract. From what you have described, it sounds as though you would be a good candidate for male breast reduction surgery. You would need to consult with an experienced surgeon, however, to confirm that you do suffer from gynecomastia and not pseudogynecomastia, where male breasts form because of chest fat.
Gynecomastia surgery is relatively straightforward, and usually combines liposuction of the chest with the removal of glandular tissue through the areola to minimize scarring. For men requiring the excision of lax skin, additional incisions may be made. The procedure has a high satisfaction rate among patients and the outcome can be life-changing and enhance self-confidence.
True gynecomastia occurs as a result of excess fat tissue in the chest, along with glandular tissue. While diet and exercise can slim excess fatty tissue in the chest, glandular tissue will not be affected by weight loss or exercise. If you suffer from true gynecomastia, exercise can actually make the condition appear worse because as the pectoral muscles develop, the glandular tissue protrudes outwards, accentuating the nipples.
If your skin is sagging with some remaining enlarged breast tissue, it is most likely because of glandular tissue. Surgery offers the best option for removal: excess fat is removed from the chest, along with glandular tissue, and, in some cases, loose skin is also excised so the chest is firmer with a more masculine contour.
There is also a condition called pseudogynecomastia, where male breasts form as a result of excess fat or adipose tissue in the breasts. In this case, exercise and diet alone may suffice to reduce the male breasts or liposuction can be performed to remove the excess fat.
However, significant weight loss or liposuction can leave the chest skin with a saggy appearance. While exercises such as bench presses or chest presses can help to firm and build muscle in the chest area, once the skin is lax or stretched, there are no exercises that can restore its elasticity. In these cases, surgery that excises excess skin from the chest may be necessary to restore a smooth, flat chest.
Without seeing you in person, it is very difficult to determine whether you suffer from true gynecomastia or pseudogynecomastia. Your treatment plan would depend on your diagnosis. I would advise you to consult with a plastic surgeon specializing in male breast surgery to discuss the options available to you. Gynecomastia surgery can be a transformative procedure for men.
Dr. Stephen T. Greenberg has 3 Gynecomastia reduction before & afters:
Gynecomastia, or the abnormal enlargement of the male breasts, is a common concern for men and can become particularly noticeable after weight loss. Many men are left with excess skin, fat, and glandular tissue in the chest that can sag and, in some cases, extend around the side of the chest towards the back. The male breasts can be visible in and out of clothing and significantly affect self-esteem and body image.
No amount of push-ups or incline bench presses will improve or reduce the appearance of male breasts caused by true gynecomastia. While building chest muscle and losing weight can reduce the fatty tissue present in the breast, it will bear no effect on reducing the glandular tissue in the breast, which often occurs due to hormonal imbalances such as increased estrogen levels. Some prescription medications can also cause gynecomastia as a side effect. The only effective treatment for gynecomastia is surgery. The procedure is performed as an outpatient operation, with most patients returning to work in a week.
Not all male breasts are caused by gynecomastia. Some men suffer from pseudogynecomastia where excess body fat has caused the appearance of man breasts. In this case, a fat burning regime that includes cardio exercises, a chest workout with dumbbell pullovers, and weightlifting can firm and strengthen the chest contour and reduce enlarged breasts. In cases where the skin has stretched too much because of rapid weight gain and weight loss, sagging skin may still remain and require surgical removal. This can result in scarring, but most scars fade well with time.
I would recommend that you schedule an in-person consultation with a doctor or experienced plastic surgeon to determine the precise cause of your enlarged male breasts and to explore your options regarding treatment such as breast reduction.
The answer is actually based on your physical exam and whether you have true gynecomastia, pseudo gynecomastia or both. Your Board certified plastic surgeon will need to examine you to determine your diagnosis and solutions.
True gynecomastia is excess mammary tissue that is surgically removed. Pseudo gynecomastia is fat deposits on the breast. It is certainly common to have both.
Pseudo gynecomastia could potentially be improved with diet and exercise or liposuction only, but then you also run the risk of creating excess skin on the chest. True gynecomastia can only be corrected surgically.
Jack Peterson MD
Dr. Jack Peterson has 2 Gynecomastia Reduction before & afters:
Unfortunately, true gynecomastia cannot be improved with anything but surgery. It sounds like you may suffer from lipomastia not gynecomastia which may be treated by liposuction. An in-person consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon should determine the diagnosis and a treatment course.
The only way to get a real answer, absent photographs, is to consult with a plastic surgeon, particularly one who sub-specializes in gynecomastia surgery. Certainly there is nothing wrong in diet and exercise -- that is always to be encouraged. But if there is some lax skin, more than likely no amount of diet/exercise will help.
For much more information, visit my website, which is specifically devoted to gynecmastia: www.gynecomastianewyork.com
Elliot W. Jacobs, MD, FACS
New York City
Dr. Elliot Jacobs has 3 Gynecomastia reduction before & afters: