Treatment Options for Gynecomastia
In many cases, gynecomastia resolves on its own. However, if the condition worsens or does not get better, there are a couple of treatment options that may be able to help.
1. Testosterone Replacement Therapy
If a doctor determines the cause of gynecomastia is low testosterone, they may recommend testosterone replacement therapy as a treatment.
Testosterone replacement therapy is available in several forms, including:
- Skin patch worn on the arm or upper body
- Gels absorbed through the skin
- Mouth patch that sticks to the upper gums
- Injections and implants
Are there any risks associated with testosterone replacement therapy?
Although there is “no compelling evidence of major adverse side effects resulting from testosterone therapy,” some people may experience rash, itching or irritation at the treatment site.
Additionally, there are a few health conditions that some experts believe testosterone therapy could worsen, including:
Prostate Cancer. Since prostate cancer is thought to be stimulated by testosterone, the possibility of increased risk of prostate cancer during testosterone replacement therapy is of great concern.
Sleep apnea. Although some doctors believe that testosterone replacement therapy can cause sleep apnea to worsen, the U.S. The National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health states that further studies in this area are needed to fully understand the effects of testosterone replacement therapy on those with sleep apnea.
Blood clots. According to Medical News Today, researchers found a 63 percent increased risk of blood clots during the first six months of testosterone treatment. The report goes on to say, however, that the risks seem to be temporary and very low in absolute terms.
Cardiovascular Disease. Men who underwent testosterone replacement therapy showed a slightly increased risk of heart attack and stroke within the first two years, according to one study.
Are there other benefits to testosterone replacement therapy besides a reduced breast size?
In addition to helping treat gynecomastia, testosterone replacement therapy may also lead to:
- Increased libido
- Increased muscle strength
- Improved mood
- Increased bone density
- Improved cognition
- Increased lean muscle mass
2. Breast Reduction Surgery
Breast reduction surgery is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess fat and glandular tissue to create a flatter chest shape.
According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgeons, “Currently, male breast reduction is the only consistently effective treatment for gynecomastia that has long lasting, if not permanent, results.”
Is Breast Reduction Surgery Right for You?
Male breast reduction surgery may be right for you if:
- You don’t smoke
- You are physically healthy
- Diet and exercise have not been enough to reduce your breast size
- You have been struggling with gynecomastia for a while and it has not gotten better on its own
Before the Procedure
Before you schedule your breast reduction surgery, you should consider getting a consultation from a reputable surgeon.
During the consultation, your surgeon can help set your expectations and go over your medical history and risk factors.
The consultation is also a good time to ask any questions you have regarding your surgery or your surgeon’s experience.
Some questions you can ask include:
What is your experience with this procedure?
What side effects can I expect from male breast reduction surgery?
How should I prepare for my surgery and what can I expect afterwards?
During the Procedure
Some breast reduction surgeries are outpatient procedures, meaning you do not have to stay overnight in a hospital. Your surgeon will be able to go over specifics with you and decide if an inpatient or outpatient procedure is right for you.
After the Procedure
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “When your breast reduction procedure is complete, dressings or bandages will be applied to the incisions. An elastic bandage or support bra may be worn to minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal.”
Beyond that, your doctor will give you specific instructions for recovery after your surgery. Be sure to follow them to ensure timely recovery without complications.
Recovery time can vary from person to person. Some people feel back to normal in as little as a week after their surgery, while others may take longer.