Can Gynecomastia Be Prevented?
We field hundreds of questions monthly about gynecomastia, in New York in the consultation room, online and by phone. Because men who contact us are already suffering the trials of man boobs, one question we hardly ever hear is, can gynecomastia be prevented?
As you can imagine, we have gained quite a bit of knowledge about gynecomastia during our thirty years of performing male breast reduction surgery. We have a very good understanding of some of the causes of gynecomastia. Just in case you or someone you know is worried about developing the condition, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Avoid steroids: Of all the cases of gynecomastia that could be prevented, those triggered by steroid use may be the most frequent we see. Anabolic steroids upset the body’s natural hormone balance, allowing naturally occurring estrogen to have more influence than it would otherwise. Moobs are a frequent side effect of steroid use.
Bypass marijuana: Marijuana can also affect hormone levels and promote the growth of breast tissue in men. It’s best to refrain.
Watch your weight: Although almost all cases of gynecomastia involve both breast gland and fat, excess fat can make a case of man boobs all the more noticeable. It pays to maintain a healthy weight including normal liver function – so this also means limiting alcohol consumption to a reasonable level.
Know your prescriptions: Certain medications – notably finasteride (Propecia), cancer drugs, AIDS medications, a few antibiotics and others – can trigger gynecomastia. Ask your primary care physician for input on your medications and their side effects.
Avoid certain herbal products: Some substances, such as lavender and tea tree oil, have a weak effect on estrogen and therefore are suspected of contributing to gynecomastia. To be safe, you can easily avoid products containing these substances.
We are sometimes asked about preventing gynecomastia in interviews with New York media sources. The most important point we make is, although it is a good idea to be aware of the causes of this troublesome condition, the vast majority of patients we see can point to no particular reason for their enlarged breasts.
We know that gynecomastia generally arises due to changing hormone levels in the body, and while adolescent or middle age gynecomastia often subsides on its own, sometimes it doesn’t. If you develop the condition and it causes you distress, male breast reduction surgery can be a viable option.
Call us if we can be of help. Our Manhattan offices can be reached at 212-570-6080.