Gynecomastia is a problem that plagues many men at some point in their lives. This condition is diagnosed when a boy or an adult man has breasts that resemble those of a female. It often occurs in puberty and resolves itself within a few years, but in some cases the problem persists into adulthood. In some cases a man will be prescribed letrozole for gynecomastia, which can sometimes be helpful, but it may not help in all cases.
Many men seek to hide their chests when they have this condition. Compression shirts that flatten the chest may help, especially when they are topped with loose-fitting over-shirts or sweatshirts that help disguise the problem. Such men typically refuse to swim or go bare chested in public places, such as at the beach or in a public pool.
Medical science does not always have the answers for these men with gynecomastia. Men who are heavy are typically told to lose weight. This works when the issue is pseudogynecomastia, a buildup of fat that lacks a glandular tissue component. For men with true gynecomastia, weight loss will only help minimally, if at all.
Various drugs are often prescribed to help reduce or eliminate the buildup of breast tissue. Some of these drugs are actually labeled for other uses and not intended to help this condition. One such medication that is sometimes prescribed or recommended is letrozole. This drug works by diminishing the effects of estrogen, which helps to stop the growth of male breasts.
Letrozole is an aromatase inhibitor, acting to counter the effects of estrogen in the body. When the use of letrozole for gynecomastia is selectively applied, it has proven to be successful about two-thirds of the time. It is especially helpful for men who are being treated for prostate cancer, where gynecomastia can be a side effect. In some cases the condition is caused by a medication the man is taking, in which case switching to a different medication is usually a better choice than adding another drug.
Some doctors may be willing to prescribe or recommend letrozole for gynecomastia in certain situations. This is usually only done if the problem does not seem to be related to a more serious condition such as liver or thyroid disease. If there is an underlying issue, it is unlikely that the use of letrozole for gynecomastia will be of any benefit. In those cases where it can help, this medication has successfully reduced the amount of breast tissue and minimized the appearance of this condition for many men.