Gynecomastia is a medical condition that results from high estrogen levels in males. It most often occurs during puberty and causes no harmful effects on the body. It’s strictly an aesthetic condition that usually clears up as a person ages.
However, some men may retain the extra breast tissue even after puberty or develop it later in life. It can be a source of embarrassment and impact a man’s self-esteem.
If you have gynecomastia, it can help to learn how to live with the condition and make the most of your situation.
Coping During Puberty
Having gynecomastia as a teen can be especially difficult because this is an awkward time in your life. Things are already changing, so much that it may feel like this is just piling on the stress.
Gynecomastia.org notes that you may notice the condition changes how you act and the things you do. You may avoid certain activities due to being uncomfortable with how you look. You may avoid dating because of low self-esteem. You may even start slouching to hide your chest.
You shouldn’t let the condition do this, though. Don’t let it take over your life, and don’t let it start to affect you in ways that can lead to long-lasting issues.
There are many things you can do, and it starts with accepting yourself for who you are. The chances are very good; this is a temporary situation. It can happen to anyone, and it isn’t something that should make you feel weird.
If you’re super self-conscious, you may want to consider wearing a compression shirt, such as those at www.confidencebodywear.com/product/gynecomastia-compression-shirt/. This special type of shirt can minimize your chest and make the swelling unnoticeable.
It’s also a good idea to talk to someone about the way you feel. Your parents can help you see a doctor or a counselor. You may even feel better just talking to your friends about it. Don’t hold your feelings in. That won’t help you and can lead to further issues with your mental health.
Coping During Adulthood
Developing gynecomastia as an adult can be quite frustrating. You likely thought issues like this were in the past, and now, you’re dealing with something you find embarrassing. You can go through many of the same feelings that a teen does.
U.S. News and World Report explain it’s essential to talk to your doctor and seek help when you need it. You shouldn’t let your mental health suffer due to this condition. Your doctor can help you determine why this is happening and what you can do about it. Seeking a medical opinion can make you feel a lot better about things and help you develop a long-term plan.
You can also talk to your doctor about surgical options, which would provide a lasting fix. Surgery is an option that teens don’t usually have, but if your condition stems from an issue that won’t go away, surgery may be the only long-term option.
Also, consider getting a compression shirt or binder. These can help you until you have surgery if you can’t afford surgery, or for situations when you have to wait for the condition to go away.
For Those With Body Image Issues
Gynecomastia can be especially difficult for those who already have body image issues. It can bring up old feelings and make you fall back into bad habits.
You should immediately get a medical opinion on why this is happening. For adults, many things can cause the condition. It may occur due to hormones, the same as for teens. It can also be a reaction from medication.
If you were using steroids to build muscles, they could actually be causing your issues. You’ll need to stop using the drugs to see a change in your condition.
When It Isn’t Gynecomastia
Sometimes, men may get excess tissue growth in the chest due to reasons other than gynecomastia. True gynecomastia doesn’t happen because you’re overweight.
If you’ve gained weight and notice the development of breasts, then the chances are good that it’s not gynecomastia. Instead, it’s due to weight gain and excess fat settling in your chest area.
To get rid of the extra weight, you’ll have to combine diet and exercise. Do note that you can’t reduce weight in a particular area of your body by exercise alone, so doing chest exercises without cardio or diet changes won’t help. It could make things worse because you’ll build up the chest muscles, which will add to the size of your chest.
Your best course of action is to combine cardio with chest exercises. Doing this will enable you to burn the excess fat while toning and tightening your chest muscles. This will help to firm up your chest, reducing drooping or sagging that makes your chest look bigger.
You also need to eat healthier. Avoid excess sugar and fat in the foods you eat. Choose low-calorie foods, and eat more fiber.
It may take quite a bit of time to lose the excess fat that has developed in your chest. You shouldn’t expect immediate results. Everyone’s body is different as to where it loses weight first. You may find other areas get smaller first.
However, it’s important to not give up. You should eventually see results, but if you don’t, then you can return to see your doctor. There may be more going on than just excess weight.
Gynecomastia is a tough condition to have, but it doesn’t have to take over your life. In teens, it may come at the worst possible time, but the good news is that it will probably clear up on its own as soon as you get through puberty and the hormonal changes.
For adults, it could be a symptom of other issues. You’ll have to work closely with your doctor to determine what’s happening and why it’s happening. Hormonal changes later in life could be for various reasons, but once you find the cause, you can seek out a good treatment or solution.