Can Exercise Reduce Large Male Breasts?

March 26, 2020

This is a common question Dr. Miguel Delgado is asked in his gynecomastia practice. Many men present to our office stating: “I have worked out very hard with a variety of exercises over the years, and I have come to realize that exercise does not work. As a matter of fact, as I build up my chest muscles, my breast tissue is pushed outward and makes my chest area look even worse!”

By definition, gynecomastia is composed of breast gland tissue. This tissue will not respond to weight lifting, aerobic exercise, or diet. It is a breast gland organ much like a female breast and will actually produce milk if stimulated by the hormone Prolactin.

In virtually all cases, the gynecomastia condition also has fat tissue, which is mixed in and around the breast tissue. This percentage of fat to gland is different in every person. So, the fat component will respond to exercise and weight loss, and some chest reduction could be realized; however, the gynecomastia breast gland remains—and this requires surgery to resolve.

There is a condition called “pseudogynecomastia,” which is male chest enlargement due to fat deposits—just like anywhere else on the body. This condition will respond to diet and exercise.

How do you tell the difference between gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia? In some cases, it can be difficult, but these are some general clues:

Gynecomastia:

  • The most common cause is adolescent gynecomastia occurring during puberty (roughly between the ages of 12–14).
  • The second most common is anabolic steroids. After it is ingested or injected, the gland begins to develop.
  • You feel a firm mass that is unlike soft fat, and it may be tender.

Pseudogynecomastia:

  • You may be overweight or obese.
  • You notice it greatly fluctuates or goes away with weight loss.
  • No discrete mass is felt, and the enlargement instead feels like fat.

If you have any questions regarding gynecomastia, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call today at 415-898-4161 to schedule a consultation. Dr. Delgado is a board-certified plastic surgeon who is internationally recognized for his expertise in the treatment of gynecomastia, and he would be happy to answer your questions and discuss what can be done to resolve your concerns.


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