All males have glandular breast tissue. However, in some cases, the breast tissue grows larger than usual, making the breasts appear more prominent.
The over-enlargement of the breast tissue is scientifically called Gynecomastia, but most people know it as "Man boobs." The condition is mainly caused by a hormonal imbalance, which many teenagers undergo as their bodies develop.
In this post, we look at the common causes of teenage Gynecomastia, how often it occurs, and measures you can take to treat it.
Read on to learn more...
Is Gynecomastia common in teens?
Teenage Gynecomastia is a relatively common condition that mostly starts from age ten going upwards.
Studies show that nearly 60% of adolescent boys aged 12 to 16 usually develop Gynecomastia in one or both breasts.
Nevertheless, the Gynecomastia recedes after a few months or years on its own.
By the time the teenagers reach 17 years, only 15 percent will have persisting Gynecomastia.
How long does teenage Gynecomastia last?
For adolescents, Gynecomastia can take a few months or up to three years to clear out.
However, since the condition mostly starts in early puberty, it could fade away when a teen reaches middle adolescence.
How long the Gynecomastia lasts also depends on the teenager's lifestyle habits
Causes of Gynecomastia in teens
The primary cause of teenage Gynecomastia is the fluctuation of hormone levels, particularly testosterone and estrogen.
When the hormonal fluctuations occur, the increased estrogen levels will cause enlargement of breasts, resulting in man boobs.
In essence, pubertal Gynecomastia is a physiological condition.
There are some isolated incidences where Gynecomastia could result from
- Over-the-counter medication
- Lung cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Thyroid diseases
- Kidney diseases
- Liver diseases
- Pituitary gland tumors
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Klinefelter's syndrome
- Abuse of drugs such as bhang, heroin, and steroids
In addition, obese or overweight teenagers could develop Gynecomastia due to fat tissue accumulation in the breast area.
The condition is known as Pseudo Gynecomastia or false Gynecomastia, which has no relation to puberty.
Signs and symptoms of teenage Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia may appear in teens as an enlargement of one or both breasts. It can also start as a small lump underneath the nipple accompanied by breast tenderness.
However, if hormonal changes don't cause breast enlargement, there could be
- Breast pain
- Nipple discharge
How is teenage Gynecomastia Diagnosed?
Physical examination is the primary method doctors use to assess if its pubertal Gynecomastia or not.
In addition, your paediatrician could also go over the adolescent's medical history and request a few tests to confirm the Gynecomastia.
These tests include:
- Urine tests
- Blood tests to assess if there is a hormonal imbalance
- Breast tissue biopsy (though its rear, and doctors only use it if the breasts have worrying signs like a discharge or pain)
How to get rid of teenage Gynecomastia
Typically, teenage Gynecomastia goes away within a few months or years. The doctors won't recommend treatment if the breast enlargement is due to puberty.
However, if a doctor observes that a teen has a severe hormonal imbalance, he may recommend hormonal therapy.
Hormonal therapy introduces the insufficient hormone, in this case, testosterone, into the body. Consequently, Gynecomastia will reduce after a while.
Treatment of underlying diseases
Earlier, we learned that some diseases of organs like the liver, kidney, and thyroid could cause Gynecomastia.
Therefore, your doctor must first deal with the underlying disease to treat Gynecomastia.
Depending on the type and severity of the disease, it could take a few weeks or months to start noticing improvements.
Stop taking alcohol and abusing drugs
Unfortunately, some teenagers start taking alcohol and using drugs. Some of them even become alcoholics and drug addicts.
Suppose a doctor realizes that Gynecomastia is caused by drugs such as heroin or bhang. Then the first step will be for the teen to stop using drugs or alcohol.
How does alcohol cause Gynecomastia?
Alcohol damages the liver, and the liver plays a critical role in the synthesis of estrogen.
Hence when it's not working correctly, there will be an excessive amount of estrogen in the body, which will accumulate and cause the development of man boobs.
Change of medications
Gynecomastia could arise when a teenager is taking medications for conditions like:
- Fungal infections
- bacterial infections
- Peptic ulcers (stomach ulcers)
- High blood pressure
In this case, doctors will change the medication or lessen the dosage amounts.
Note: It doesn't mean that you should stop taking medications. Ensure you first talk to a doctor to get professional advice.
For obese or overweight teens with Gynecomastia, doctors usually recommend lifestyle changes like regular exercise and a diet change. These changes help in the reduction of body fat.
Let us look at how a diet change and exercise can help eradicate Gynecomastia.
Exercise will assist immensely in weight loss and tightening of chest muscles after weight loss.
Numerous forms of exercise can help you lose fat quickly. They include
- Walking (for those who find it hard to sprint)
- Rowing machines
- Dumbbell pullover
- Plank to push up
- Standing cable fly
- Pushups – significantly decline pushups
- Goblet squat
- Goblet swing
Track your progress
Regularly assess your progress; it will keep you motivated and helps you focus on the goal. You can check your weight after every two weeks.
Focus on form instead of speed
Your primary focus should be on maintaining a perfect form while lifting weights. Doing so prevents injury and ensures you get more out of your workout.
Don't hurry through cool-down and warm-up sessions.
Warm-up is essential because it prepares the muscles for the workout, and cool-down sessions relax them. Both procedures prevent you from incurring injuries; hence you shouldn't rush through them.
Mix up your routine
To avoid boredom, do a different type of exercise every day.
Pay attention to your body.
Don't exercise when you feel sick or have an injury.
Be patient and consistent.
It will take a couple of months or even a year for you to notice tangible results. So be patient and continue exercising.
Change in diet
The type and amount of food teenagers eat could worsen or lessen their Gynecomastia.
Some foods have high estrogen levels, which will enhance Gynecomastia. Some foods could also lead to obesity due to their high-fat content.
Below are foods a teenager should eat and those he should avoid to get rid of Gynecomastia.
Foods to eat:
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
Foods with healthy fats
- Organic nuts
- Egg yolk
Foods with Vitamin D
Foods to keep away from
- Canned foods
- Processed foods
- Soy products like soybeans and soy milk
- Sugary foods like ice cream and candy
- Deep fried foods
- Packaged foods
Complications of Teenage Gynecomastia
Puberty Gynecomastia doesn't pose a health risk to teenagers. However, many adolescents who have Gynecomastia experience a lot of emotional challenges.
The feelings include self-doubt and being overly self-conscious about their appearance. As a result, some teens could skip school or avoid co-curricular activities.
In some cases, the constant thoughts of embarrassment could cause a teen to fall into depression or become highly anxious.
If your teen has Gynecomastia, there is no need to worry; the breast enlargement will subside independently. You can fasten the process by following the methods outlined above.
Moreover, you can lessen the embarrassment by buying Esteem Apparel Vests, which will make the Gynecomastia unnoticeable.
Moreover, Esteem Apparel Vests are durable, and your child can wear them under any clothing.