Gynecomastia (AKA male breasts)
Gynecomastia is the medical term for breasts in men. Roughly 50-60% of teenage boys and up to 70% of men over the age of 50 have this condition.
What are the signs or symptoms of gynecomastia?
Having a lump of fatty tissue under the nipple with or without a corresponding sensitivity or tenderness. Some men might present with an enlarged areola and it might affect one or both breasts.
What is the cause?
Gynecomastia is mainly a hormonal imbalance in the ratio between testosterone and estrogen. This ratio can be impacted if you are taking certain medications that lower testosterone (or block its production), or if you are carrying excess body weight.
- Drugs that can lower testosterone include: antibiotics, steroids, cardiovascular drugs, depression and anxiety medications.
- Excess body weight leads to a surplus in the production of an enzyme called "aromatase" that is responsible for converting testosterone to estradiol (i.e. estrogen).
What can be done to get my hormones back in balance?
While surgery seems to be a common end-point for men wanting to decrease unwanted growth in their chest, there are other adjunctive therapies that can help to optimize testosterone production and block the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen.
We must work on optimizing the testosterone to estrogen ratio by examining: sleep patterns, weight management, food and alcohol consumption, de-stressing and focusing on the proper types of exercise.
Are there other adjunctive therapies that can help with gynecomastia?
Aromatase inhibiting teas or tinctures can help to block the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Depending on your unique symptoms, certain botanicals can be selected as an adjunct... but figuring out the root cause of why the imbalance is happening is the first step in helping to manage this condition.