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Alternatives to Surgery

Gynecomastia surgery is a major life decision. Although it is considered to be a safe procedure, it is a significant disruption to the normal rhythm of life, requiring six to eight weeks of down time to allow for post-surgical healing. It is natural to enquire whether there are reasonable alternatives to surgery.

Termination of Causative Drugs

There are a number of drugs that are known to induce gynecomastia. These can include various types of antibiotics, antiulcer drugs, growth hormones, and chemotherapy. Also, adolescents who use anabolic steroids, or who abuse alcohol, marijuana, heroin, or amphetamines, might be affected in this way. If the condition is very early stage it is sometimes possible to stop its development by discontinuing their use. Regardless of the type of drug being used, it is important to discuss the situation with your doctor.

Medication

Certain medications prescribed for female breast cancer have been used with some success for gynecomastia. These include Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, used to modify estrogen receptors. They can be helpful for cases where the patient’s metabolism is generating excess testosterone that is subsequently breaking down into estrogen like by-products. Other preparations that have been suggested for treatments include dihydrotestosterone, danazol, clomiphene, and aromatase inhibitors such as testolactone and anastrozole. Their efficacy is not well studied and they have potential adverse side effects. These options should only be considered with your doctor because for safety they require proper testing and monitoring.

Supplements

There is some anecdotal evidence that certain supplements may be helpful. Examples include fish oil, turmeric, zinc, passion flower, milk thistle, flaxseeds, dandelion, Epsom salt, and cold compresses. These claims, however, are not supported by any credible published medical studies.

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Living with Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia does not affect physical health, and as such it is a condition that can be lived with. It may be possible to slightly diminish its prominence, however, through weight loss. Exercise and dieting can reduce some of the fat build up in the chest. It should be understood that losing body fat is an extended process, requiring diligence and discipline. Moreover, it cannot be targeted uniquely to the chest area. Moreover, glandular tissue cannot be affected in this way.

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