I’ve trained a number of older men in the gym who come to me with a rather embarrassing complaint. “Zac,” they’ll say. “What on earth can I do to get rid of these?” as they grab handfuls of their chest. There are ways to reduce odds of gynecomastia in the first place.
Gynecomastia – breast development in men – is incredibly embarrassing (though common as well – it impacts 70% of men aged 50-69), and is often treated by doctors with the “Well, you just need to lose weight” card. However, there’s a bit more behind this condition than just weight gain (though that can most certainly be a factor). So, let’s take a quick look at some of the things men can do to decrease the risks of breast development in older men as time goes on.
1. Stop Heating Food in Plastic Containers
I truly believe that one of the chief reasons that we’re seeing more and more older (shoot, and even younger men) developing gynecomastia is due to the ever-increasing amount of plastics that men are ingesting unwillingly and unknowingly. The problem is this: plastics are often crafted out of chemicals that simulate estrogen once they get inside the human body. For men in particular, this can lead to some rather embarrassing outcomes.
As such, one of the most important things that we can do is to minimize the risk of ingesting plastic. One of the chief ways of doing such is to quit microwaving your food in plastic containers. Doing so heats up the plastic and causes some of it to leach into the meal that you’re about to eat.
Do This Instead
This one is a relatively easy fix. Instead of microwaving your food in plastic dishes, put the food on an actual ceramic plate first, and then microwave it. I personally don’t even like using Tupperware to store food in. I’d much rather use a glass container where I know I don’t have to worry about hot food causing plastic to be leached into it as it cools in the fridge.
2. Stop Drinking from Plastic Bottles
This is particularly true for plastic bottles that have been left in the sun.
Once more, plastic and heat don’t mix well when it comes to things you’re going to digest. Disposable plastic water bottles that are left in the sun are going to leach a LOT of plastic into the water. While this isn’t going to be immediately dangerous, in the long run it can cause some unpleasant side effects (e.g. breast growth in men), and is likely linked to other negative health outcomes over the long term as well.
Use These Instead
Carry your water in a glass Mason jar, a stainless steel water bottle, or a BPA free container. The less my liquids come into contact with plastics, the better. It’s because of this that I no longer utilize K cups (where steaming water flows through a plastic cup full of coffee grounds), or plastic travel mugs for hot coffee.
3. Avoid Non-Stick Cookware
Studies have linked non-stick pan usage with smaller penises in men. Researchers theorize that this is due to estrogen-like chemicals that are within the non-stick coating. As you use such pans to cook your food, the heating process causes these chemicals to be leached into your food, resulting in more estrogen-like compounds getting into your system.
Do This Instead
Your best bet on this one is to go back to grandma’s cast iron skillet. Aside from being devoid of these types of chemicals, you’ll also get the added benefit of eating an increased amount of iron. These types of skillets give off some of that metal into the food that you eat every time you use them, which is beneficial.
4. Avoid Contact with Estrogen Cream
As women age, many of them end up with an estrogen cream prescription for female areas. These creams assist with pain during intercourse by increasing the thickness and strength of the vagina. However, if your wife is applying this regularly, and you are then having sex with her (see best sex positions for seniors), you’re going to be getting that estrogen cream all over your man parts in the process.
That medicine will then be absorbed through your skin as well. This can result in a sky-high amount of estrogen getting into your system. Research has shown this.
Do This instead
Your best bet here is to either avoid having sex with your wife after she’s applied this type of medicine or to wear a condom and wash yourself thoroughly afterwards. Either way, you really have to be prudent here.
5. Start Lifting Weights
Low testosterone is par for the course as men age, and anytime a doctor sends a patient my way due to such, one of the chief things that I do for them is to get them started lifting weights. If your testosterone is low, it just makes it that much easier for smaller amount of estrogen to have a big impact on your body. Aside from acting as something of a buffer in this regards, testosterone increases will improve other facets of your life as well.
Lifting weights is a great way to help to boost these levels. Your best bet here is to find a personal trainer to walk you through the process, but the best lifts for boosting T levels are going to be those which involve multiple joints and muscle groups throughout the lift. These are referred to as “compound lifts”.
Squats, deadlifts, pushups, shoulder presses, bench press, and rows are great examples of such lifts. However, check with a trainer before engaging in any of these. They’ll show you the proper form for such as well as let you know if pre-existing conditions that you have nix any of these lifts right off the bat.
You may want to check out this free guide on exercise HERE as well.
6. Limit Foods Filled with Soy
Once more, we need to do what we can to limit our intake of estrogen-like chemicals if we want to do what we can to limit breast development. That means you’re going to have to step away from soy. Tofu and soy milk are automatically out. They’re the easy part. What’s harder is trying to eliminate other soy products from your diet. The reason for this is that soy is in just about every other processed food that you find on the grocery store shelves.
Read through the ingredients list. You’ll routinely see the words ‘soy lecithin’ within the description. You want to avoid this ingredient as much as you can. The best way that I’ve found to do so is to just avoid processed and pre-wrapped foods altogether. Aside from helping to decrease your estrogen-like chemical intake, this will also help to benefit other aspects of your health as well – like erectile dysfunction.
Going processed food free virtually always causes my patients/clients to drastically improve their cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and waistline as well.
7. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Gaining weight is commonly an aspect of gynecomastia in men. And while I don’t believe that it is the sole culprit of such (as many others do), I do believe that it is a factor. A hypothesis I’m currently floating about involves how one gains weight.
If one man gains weight eating excessive amounts of processed foods and ingesting massive amounts of plastics while another man gains weight eating fist loads of bacon, and the one has gynecomastia while the other doesn’t, shouldn’t that help to prove the notion that how you gain weight matters?
Reduce Odds of Gynecomastia Summary
While this is most certainly an embarrassing situation, the above are at least steps that you can take to attempt to help the problem. However, keep in mind that a doctor is going to have the best advice for you. Surgery is a very common means of correction for gynecomastia and is considered the gold standard of treatment. There are prescription medications on the market as well that have been used to treat gynecomastia as well (particularly tamoxifen).
Also keep in mind that gynecomastia often has nothing to do with your own decisions either. It can be a common side effect of a number of medical conditions, prescriptions, and the like. However, should this be a new condition for you, then you’ll likely want to get checked by a doctor to ensure that there are no underlying conditions that are the cause for such to take place.