Gynecomastia is a condition that causes men to grow breasts like a female. Having breasts as a man makes wearing certain shirts uncomfortable. In some cases, the nipples become puffy, which can cause chafing when running or otherwise exercising. But the downsides of gynecomastia are not only physical.
A whopping 94.8% of patients with gynecomastia reported psychological distress. The condition causes psychosocial issues, such as those dealing with well-being and social functioning, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
When breast growth occurs in men, the first inclination is to try and get rid of it. Most men turn to exercise first, such as performing chest exercises. Dieting and losing weight may follow. When those techniques fail to work, a doctor visit usually comes next. The man may be placed on medications, but those don’t always work either. The best treatment for gynecomastia, the best permanent treatment anyway, is gynecomastia surgery.
In this article, we are going to discuss why men experience gynecomastia, how surgical intervention can help, what happens during male breast reduction surgery, and how undergoing the procedure can lead to immense psychological benefits.
Why Do Men Experience Gynecomastia?
The condition goes by many names. Male breast growth is the nicest, while nicknames such as man boobs represent the worst. Many people believe that men with gynecomastia carry too much weight. While obesity can be a risk factor for male breast growth, weight gain is not the only culprit.
Teen boys and older men who experience gynecomastia have experienced hormone fluctuation. The female hormone estrogen has overtaken their levels of testosterone for some reason. Many teens experience these fluctuations naturally during puberty. Other teens and men experience breast growth because of weight gain, kidney failure, illicit drug use, alcohol abuse, steroid abuse, and as a side effect of some medicines, such as tricyclic antidepressants, valium, and antibiotics. Genetics can also predispose a male to excess breast growth.
Can You Get Rid of Man Boobs Naturally?
There are steps you can take to minimize or reverse your breast growth before resorting to surgery. Doctors actually recommend this route, as surgery is permanent and cannot be reversed. Some forms of gynecomastia resolve by themselves after two years, especially in teen boys. Surgery should be a last resort. Surgery is also cosmetic, which means it is unlikely to be covered by health insurance.
To get rid of man boobs without surgery, strive to eat better. Making healthy food choices is paramount. You don’t have to make drastic changes in the beginning. Start slowly by choosing one healthy food per meal, such as salad. Incorporate lean, healthy proteins and healthy fruits and vegetables. Soon, you will find yourself eating healthier during every meal. You’ll lose weight, feel awesome, and your man boobs may disappear.
Reduce your alcohol intake, as beer, wine, and spirits are high in calories. Research also shows that alcohol consumption may suppress testosterone levels, which could lead to or exacerbate gynecomastia.
Get regular exercise, which means working out five days per week for 45 minutes each day. Whether you work out at the gym or at home, perform resistance exercises such as pushups or bench presses, as well as cardio such as running, spinning, swimming, or even speed walking.
You can also try quitting any habits that may be contributing to your gynecomastia, such as illicit drug use, steroid abuse, and medications (ask your doctor first before stopping any medicines you may be taking), and by undergoing treatment for any underlying conditions that can lead to male breast growth.
The Psychological Effects of Gynecomastia
A study of teen boys found that even mild cases of male breast growth can lead to a downturn in psychological health.
The motivations for having male breast reduction surgery vary. One study showed that the most common reasons for having surgery included feeling embarrassed while wearing some clothes, such as tight shirts, wanting restored confidence, and because they had experienced bullying or negative comments.
Surgery can give you an improved body image and boost your self-esteem.
How Gynecomastia Surgery Works
After you are prepped for surgery, your gynecomastia surgeon will administer anesthesia to ensure your comfort. From here, your surgeon has several ways to proceed. Gynecomastia surgery is a highly customizable procedure that may be different for each patient.
Liposuction is used to remove excess fatty tissue from the chest area. As breasts are mainly composed of fat, lipo can leave the chest flatter and more masculine in shape.
However, for a majority of men, gynecomastia is not caused solely by fatty tissue. Hormone fluctuations cause excess glandular tissue to grow. You can actually feel the solid gland disc underneath the areolar complex. This excess tissue needs to be removed through a technique known as excision.
For men with severe gynecomastia, some excess skin may be present. The skin usually spreads beyond the normal contours of the chest. Tissue excision is also used to remove excess skin.
Once the fatty tissue, glandular tissue, and any excess skin tissue are removed, the surgeon molds the chest into the proper contours before closing the incisions. A compression garment is applied to support the healing of the chest area.
Read our article: 7 Gynecomastia Types & Their Associated Male Breast Reduction Options
What is Gynecomastia Recovery Like?
The process for obtaining excellent results with gynecomastia surgery does not end when the surgical wounds are closed during the operation. You must also do your part during the recovery period.
Get Adequate Rest and Limit Activity Levels
As with any surgery, your body needs time to recover from the liposuction and tissue excision. Get lots of rest in the days following your procedure. You may want to take a day or two off of work so that you avoid injury. Stay away from strenuous activity for at least two weeks following your procedure. After two weeks, you can resume cardio exercises, but not strength training. You can resume upper body and chest workouts after four weeks unless your gynecomastia surgeon says otherwise.
Wear Your Compression Vest
Compression vests are prescribed for patients to wear after gynecomastia surgery. This surgical recovery garment plays several important roles. After the operation, skin and tissue contract and settle during the recovery period. The vest maintains the surgical results for the best aesthetics. The vest also minimizes swelling. Lastly, the constriction aspect of the vest improves blood circulation, which aids healing. For best results, you should plan on wearing the compression vest for at least four weeks following gynecomastia surgery.
Massage Your Chest to Loosen Scar Tissue
You can facilitate stellar results by massaging your chest three weeks after surgery while the skin and tissue are still soft and malleable. Use your hand, a massage rolling device, or an electric massager. Massage the area for twenty minutes at a time, several times a day for eight weeks. You can continue past the eight weeks if you feel you need it. These massages will help to soften the scar tissue. Regular working of the skin and underlying tissues can also ensure your results lay evenly.
How Much Scarring is Caused By Breast Reduction Surgery?
A common question asked during the gynecomastia surgery consultation is what scars will look like after the chest area has healed. Scars from male breast reduction surgery are usually an inch long and located on the lower areola. This makes the scarring nearly invisible. If your gynecomastia surgeon employed liposuction, some small scars could remain on the armpits and chest. These will fade over time. Ask your surgeon for ways to further hide scarring, such as creams, ointments, or laser treatments.
What Psychological Benefits Can You Gain from Gynecomastia Surgery?
Gynecomastia surgery can drastically change your life. Following gynecomastia surgery, patients report greater quality of life and psychological health.
Love Your Body Again
The procedure can improve your bodily image. Having large breasts makes a man appear feminine. It’s hard to look manly when you have a pair of knockers, after all. Whereas most men have flat chests, men who have male breast growth end up feeling different than their peers. After surgery, men report feeling more manly with their newly masculinized physique.
A banker in New York City had gynecomastia surgery after hearing jokes about his condition all throughout his adolescent and teenage years. The words stuck with him. He had surgery after seeing an advertisement for male breast reduction. The surgery improved his confidence immensely, with him saying, “Now I’m walking with my chest out, so I love it.”
Your Confidence Soars
Gynecomastia surgery can restore your confidence. Most men who suffer from male gyno have low self-esteem. Some even suffer from depression because of their poor self-image. Having insecurities about the way you look can lead to social anxiety and the avoidance of some social situations. Take swimming with friends, for example. Swimming with your shirt on is akin to advertising that you hate your body. If you want to swim shirtless without thinking about it, gynecomastia surgery could be right for you.
You Become Motivated to Live Healthier
Having gynecomastia surgery can be the best motivation for maintaining a healthy body weight. Many men who experience male breast growth tend to be overweight. Getting a toned chest motivates them to work on building their chest and the rest of their body. You want to be symmetrical all around, after all. Going to the gym regularly, running, swimming, and engaging in other physical activities can become a rock-solid habit you never break. When individuals don’t worry about their physical appearance, they become more active.
Improves Your Posture (Which Makes You Look and Feel More Confident)
While this may seem like a physical benefit as opposed to a psychological one, gynecomania surgery could help to improve your posture. Having excess tissue around the chest can cause you to slouch. This can result in poor posture, which makes you appear lazy, slovenly, and with low self-esteem. Male breast reduction surgery gives you a flat, masculine chest, allowing you to stand tall and self-assured.
Feel More Secure in Any Type of Shirt
Another benefit of surgery is that you can choose what to wear with abandon. Many men with male breast growth avoid wearing tight shirts. This is particularly true for men with severe gynecomastia or those with mild gyno and puffy nipples. A tight shirt advertises that you’re different. After gynecomastia surgery, you can wear anything you like, including fitted T-shirts.
Improved Love Life
Your love life may improve, as well. Many men with man boobs may avoid intimate encounters out of fear of being judged for their overgrown mammary glands. After surgery, you can get intimate without a second thought, and not only in the dark.
Are You Suffering Psychologically Because of Your Male Breasts?
If your male breasts diminish your self-esteem, and you tend to avoid social situations because of the way you look, isn’t it time to do something about your male breast growth? Dwayne Johnson did.
That’s right. The Rock used to have gynecomastia. When the former WWE wrestler turned movie star went from football to the wrestling arena, he found himself embarrassed by his man boobs. This was not something he could cover up with clothing since pro wrestling required him to go shirtless while performing. The Rock had gynecomastia surgery in 2005, which he attributes to his extreme self-confidence and belief in himself.
Your journey to a more confident you starts with a consultation with a board-certified gynecomastia surgeon. Doctor Babak Moein can help you decide if male breast reduction surgery is right for you. During a gynecomastia surgery consultation, Doctor Moein will conduct a short physical examination. You will then be asked questions, such as when your breast growth began and what problems you are facing, physical, psychological, or both. Together, you and Doctor Moein can create a surgical plan that will achieve stellar results.
When you are ready to learn more about male breast reduction surgery, contact Moein Surgical Arts in Los Angeles, California. Even if you don’t live in Southern California, Doctor Moein would like to hear from you. Dial (310)694-4486 to schedule a consultation today.