Could chest exercises get rid of gynecomastia?
I'm a 42-year old male and I'm afraid that I might be developing gynecomastia. I haven't seen my doctor yet because I'm hoping I'm wrong and that I can deal with it on my own. I've started doing chest exercises in the morning and at night. It has only been about three weeks since I started this strict regimen. I'm not seeing any change. Should I continue with the chest exercises? Even if I was diagnosed as having gynecomastia, wouldn't chest exercises help to correct the problem to some degree?
You really should be seen in person. If you have excess skin, exercise alone may actually worsen the situation. If you have breast development because of an imbalance of hormones, exercise may not help either. You can try diet and exercise, but this may not help. If you smoke marijuana, that's another common cause. A history of steroid use can cause this. Also, some medications like spironolactone, digoxin, cimetidine (Zantac), aminoglycosides, and ketoconazole are known to cause gynecomastia. If you have liver disease, gynecomastia can help, and certain types of tumors can cause it. Fortunately your situation sounds very mild, and most likely its just a natural progression of aging that's easily treatable.
Unfortunately, as men age and their natural testosterone production decreases, there is a change in the ratio of testosterone to estrogen (yes, men do produce small amounts of estrogen!) and the result is some growth of excess tissue on a man's chest. Assuming all other factors are normal and there has not been any excessive weight gain, then the only treatment would be surgery which can specifically target and remove the excess tissue. Exercise to build up your chest muscle does no good -- this tissue sits on top of the muscle. If the muscle enlarges, it will simply push that same tissue further out.
You can read more about gynecomastia on my website, which is exclusively devoted to treatment of gynecomastia: www.gynecomastianewyork.com
Elliot W. Jacobs, MD, FACS
New York City
Elliot Jacobs has 3 Gynecomastia reduction before & afters: