Every normal human being, be it male or female, is always conscious of their body. We all want that perfect figure. Ladies want the perfect slim figure, men likewise want to look ripped, strong and lean- no big boobs.
Big breasts on a man? Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Fact is, there are lots of men out there suffering from this man boobs syndrome called gynecomastia. And this is a real nightmare for them.
You opened this article for a reason, you or someone you know and desperately want to help someone who is experiencing this.
You probably can’t go out with tight fitting shirts, can’t go out for a swim or you are being teased by your friends and girls alike.
Don’t worry, this guide is for you.
What Is Gynecomastia?
Male Gynecomastia is the abnormal enlargement of the breast tissue in boys or men, usually caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. Male boobs enlargement can also be caused by obesity and certain medical conditions.
One or both breasts can be affected by this condition and sometimes it may affect it evenly. Newborn males, teenage boys and older men may develop male boobs due to normal changes in hormone levels, though there are other causes.
Gynecomastia is different from pseudogynecomastia or lipomastia , which is another form of male breast enlargement caused by the presence of fat deposits in the breast area of obese/overweight men.
This condition is clinically defined by the presence of a rubbery or firm mass that extends concentrically from the nipples.
Gynecomastia which is usually bilateral can be unilateral too. Pseudogynecomastia, is defined by the deposition of fat without glandular proliferation.
This condition may disappear overtime, but if it persist, surgery or medications may be the way to get rid of it.
Types of male gyno
Depending on the cause, the condition can be classified as:
- Pubertal Gynecomastia
This type occurs during puberty, when the intense hormonal production leads to an excessive development of mammary glands.
It is not abnormal at all, as it is part of the psychological male growth and evolution. This phenomenon generally reduces as they grow older and then it is gone within a couple of years.
- Congenital Gynecomastia
This occurs in boys 9-14 years. It is usually inherited. The primary cause of this is the altered hormonal balance.
In this case, most of these buys may live with it for the rest of their lives. They may however undergo surgery to get rid of it when they reach adult age.
- Induced Gynecomastia
In some cases, the condition could be caused by taking certain medications that are capable of affecting the natural hormone function.
- Adult Gynecomastia
This is the most common type of male breast enlargement. The male glandular tissue has a varying extent of fat deposits.
And, it has three classifications which are:
- Real Gynecomastia: This is the increase in breast volume which is caused by the increase of the glandular component in the male body.
- False Gynecomastia: In this case, the fatty tissue in the breast area is the cause of the male breast enlargement (pseudogynecomastia).
- Mixed Gynecomastia: In this case, the increase in breast volume in men is caused by both the increase of glandular component and buildup of fatty tissue in the chest area.
Causes of male breast enlargement
This condition is triggered by a decrease in the amount of testosterone in your body compared with the amount of estrogen present.
Decrease in testosterone can be caused by the conditions which block the effects of or reduce testosterone or a condition that raises your estrogen level.
Several things can upset the hormone balance, they include:
- Natural hormone changes
Testosterone and estrogen are hormones that control the development and maintenance of sex characteristics in men and women.
Testosterone controls men’s traits like muscle mass and body hair, while estrogen controls the female traits which includes the growth of breasts.
Although estrogen is an exclusively female hormone, you also produce them in small quantities.
So when your estrogen levels are too high or you are out of balance with testosterone levels, it, you know what this means, you can develop big breasts. That is gynecomastia.
This hormone change affects both infant, teenage and adult male.
Enlarged breast in new born male. Almost all male infants were born with man boobs because of their mother’s estrogen. This however disappears within two to three months.
Enlarged breast in teenage boys. This occurs during puberty and it is caused by hormone changes in boys. This is usually common and it goes away within six months to two years in most cases.
Gynecomastia in Adult males. At least 1 in 4 men in the age group of men 50 to 69 are usually affected by this condition. The prevalence of this condition peaks again during this time.
- Certain health conditions
Some health problems may lead to enlargement of breast in men by affecting their hormone balance. This conditions include;
Aging. When men age, hormonal changes occur in the body and this can cause male breast enlargement especially in overweight men.
Kidney failure. About half the number of men treated with regular hemodialysis had gynecomastia because of the hormonal changes that occurred.
Tumors. Tumors involving the testes, andrenal glands or the pituitary glands can produce hormones that disrupts the male-female hormone balance.
Starvation and Malnutrition. When your body does not get enough nutrients it needs, your testosterone levels drop, but the level of estrogen remains constant, leading to hormonal imbalance . Male breast may also enlarge when the proper nutrition is restored.
Hyperthyroidism. When the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. This can lead to male breast enlargement.
Liver failure and cirrhosis. Liver problems related hormonal fluctuations as well as cirrhosis medications have been linked with man boobs.
- Herbal products
Plant oils like lavender and tea tree oil used to make shampoos, lotions and soaps have been linked with man breasts. This may be due to their weak estrogenic activity.
- Alcoholism and drugs
Substances can cause male breast to enlarge. They include;
Being overweight puts you at risk of developing big boobs due to the fat build up in your chest and stomach.
- Hormone infused poultry products
A lot of poultry products like turkey and chicken are loaded with hormones that can cause your breast to enlarge. This can cause breast enlargement in women as well.
- Certain medications and drugs
Some cases of male breasts enlargement have been linked with male breast enlargement. Some of these medications are;
Anabolic steroids. Constant and regular use of anabolic steroid for bodybuilding or other purpose can inhibit the production of testosterone causing your breast tissue to grow.
Aids medications. A HIV Patient being treated with regimen called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)may develop man breasts.
Anti-androgens. If you are using anti-androgens that is used to treat postrate cancer, postrate enlargement and some other conditions, you may experience male breast enlargement.
Other medications include;
Cancer treatment (chemotherapy)
Symptoms and signs of gyno
Like other health conditions or issues, man boobs comes with signs and symptoms. If you notice these signs, you should visit your physician.
- Enlarged male breasts
This is the main symptom. Either one or both breasts are enlarged and it may be evenly or unevenly with respect to the nipple.
The breast may be rubbery or firm.
- Distended Nipples and Puffy Areola
Male breasts have flat nipples and areolas. This condition causes your nipples to beraised and distended while the areolas become larger and puffier and then the color changes.
Your breasts begin to look like female breast.
If you notice unusual and persistent swelling, pain, tenderness, nipple discharge or a combination of two or all of these, see the physician immediately.
Your physician will ask about your symptoms, medical and drug history and even your family history.
A physical examination of the breast tissue will be carried out and the genitals and the abdomen will be examined as well.
If hormonal imbalance happens to be the cause for this condition, the doctor will advise the patient that this will probably go away within a year.
If the growth is abnormally large, tender, fixed, hard and one sided, your doctor will likely order a biopsy so as to rule out breast cancer.
Further tests will be carried out to eliminate other causes like;
- Hematoma, a solid swelling of clotted blood
- An abscess or furuncu
- Mastisis, inflammation of the breast tissue
- A benign tumor such as lupoma
- Fat necrosis
Blood test may be carried out and imaging test that would be carried out may include;
- Ultrasound scan
- CT or MIR Scan
- Mammogram or breast ultrasound
The best way to prevent this condition that is not associated with an underlying condition is to make intelligent life choices.
Avoid excess consumption of alcohol, which has been linked to imbalance in sex hormones. Bodybuilders should avoid taking anabolic steroids because they disrupt hormone productions and cause other health problems.
Marijuana consumption has also been linked to gynecomastia. Eating a proper diet can help prevent pseudogynecomastia.
Medications can be used to prevent it when it is caused by other therapy or medical conditions. These medications reduce the effects those factors have on their hormones.
Treatment is usually not needed for this condition if it is not caused by a medical issue. In most cases, for example an enlargement due to puberty, fibrous will tissue replaces the glandular tissue over time.
Cold compresses and pain medications can be used to reduce breast tenderness. However, there are effective drug therapies and surgical options that you can turn to if the condition causes persistent symptoms or gives you personal embarrassment.
- Medication treatment
Serum estrogen receptor modulators may be used to treat men who are receiving therapy that reduces or disturbs the levels of male hormones. Tamoxifen is a common drug used in this treatment.
Radiotherapy is also used to reduce or prevent gynecomastia for these men.
- Natural reduction pills
Just as there are breast enlargement pills, there are breast reduction pills as well. There are breast reduction pills that work for men.
Breast reduction pills made for men are made from ingredients that either increases testosterone levels or reduce estrogen levels in the body and they may do both.
This would eliminate breast enlargement in men.
- Topical creams
Topical solutions is usually the first men turn to before they try other methods, probably because creams, gels and serums are easy to get hold of and they are fairly inexpensive. The topical treatments re not painless, which is another reason it is the most preferred.
You can conveniently and easily apply this creams without needing any help or assistance. They are also found easily at any drug stores or online.
The downside to these topical treatments is that they take time to be visible and this happens because the skin don’t absorb the ingredients in them sometimes.
- Surgery treatment
Plastic surgery that is used to treat this condition is technically called reduction mammalplasty.
A surgery may be in form of liposuction, a procedure that helps remove breast fat but not the tissue of the breast gland or in form of mastectomy, which is a surgical procedure that is involved in the removal of the tissue underneath the breast.
With surgery for male breast reduction you get two benefits which are instant results and reduced likelihood of recurrence.
There risks associated with surgery however. This risks include;
Post-surgery pain or infections
There is always a risk of infection since this procedure involves cutting into one’s flesh. This infections can lead to complications. You can also experience pains after the procedure is completed.
Pain killers are prescribed to alleviate the pain and patients are advised to stay in clean environments to prevent infection.
While surgery gives you a permanent result, it can lead to scarring, which is ugly. In case you are going to the beach or for a swim, you won’t be able to pull of your shirt. This is one of the reason why most people do not like the idea of surgery.
Just like breast augmentation for women is costly, breast reduction for men is very expensive. It is a cosmetic surgery, this means it cannot be covered by your insurance.
The cost of gynecomastia surgery ranges between $5000 and $10000 depending on the hospital and the surgeon. Post-operative care will also cost you a lot of money.
- Diet treatment for male breast enlargement
Diet cannot do so much for man boobs caused by gynecomastia because this is related to hormones. Diet however can do more for pseudogynecomastia because it is related to obesity.
The diet rule to get rid of man boobs is;
- Limit calorie intake
- Stay away from processed, deep fried and packaged foods
- Avoid taking excess sugar
- Stay away from starchy foods and eat more protein
Foods you should eat if you have man boobs are: dark chocolate, lima beans, water melon seeds, shrimp, beef liver, crab, egg yolk, spinach, lobster, turkey, salmon, peanut, lean bee, squash seeds and brown rice.
These foods have a high content of zinc which helps in increasing testosterone level.
Foods you should avoid: red beans, carrot, apples, tomatoes, rice, barley, olive oil, chickpeas, soybeans, dates, eggplants, yams, potatoes, wheat, plums, pumpkin, parsley, peppers and cherries.
You don’t really need to avoid these foods completely, but limit its consumption. They have natural amount of estrogen in them and this can defeat the ability to burn fat.
Exercise for man boobs
Certain workouts/exercise can help tighten the chest muscle. Combination of exercise and the right foods can help fight male breast enlargement, but in some cases, medication or surgery is needed. These exercises would work by helping you burn chest fat and tightening its muscle.
- Interval training
This involves short, intense exercise alternated with longer, less intense exercise. Running for a period of 30 seconds, plus three minutes of less intense walking or jogging is an example of interval training.
Interval training helps keep your body burning more calories, even when you are done working out. It also elevates your metabolism to get rid of man boobs. Perform interval training exercises every day to burn fat and calories and reduce man boobs.
- Seated row
Seated row works on your pectoral muscles to help you develop a stronger chest and eliminate man boobs.
The rowing action helps tone your chest so the muscles would look firm and strong instead of looking saggy.
To do this:
With your knees bent slightly, sit on a seated rowing machine. Grasp the machine handles so that your palms would face each other, then pull your shoulders back and tighten your spine. Breathe out and pull the machine handles to your chest without leaning backwards. Breathe in and release your elbows back to the starting position slowly.
Rowing is another man boobs exercise that has been proven to work effectively. It involves working out the chest, the arm and back muscles.
Rowing is great for getting rid of excess fat that has accumulated in the chest over years. You can start with a 10-minute rowing sessions for the first two weeks-3 times weekly until you have gained the strength and endurance to do the exercise 30 minutes daily.
- Take boot camp courses
If you have enough time and money, you may consider enrolling in a boot camp course.
There are courses offered that are specialized for men who want to lose weight, especially in the chest area. However you should know that boot camp is really intense and physically demanding so it is not those who can’t endure.
Natural treatment for man boobs
There are herbs and natural ingredients that help burn fat and increase testosterone levels. These herbs can help get rid of male breast enlargement. This herbs and ingredients are natural and readily available. Some of them are;
- Fish oil
They are rich in omega3 fatty acids and her essential for boosting testosterone levels in men and they can help reduce estrogen levels in men too.
You can take fish oil supplements or omega 3 acids supplements to achieve this.
Turmeric is a popular home remedy for getting rid of man boobs. It has fat burning properties. It can also increase testosterone levels in men.
Add two tea spoonful of turmeric in water and boil it. Take this daily and you will see result in two weeks.
- Tribulus Terrestris
This herb is well known for its ability to increase testosterone levels in men. This in turn helps you get rid of man breast. This herb also enhances male performance, which is a plus.
While this condition may be a very embarrassing one, if it isn’t caused by an underlying health problem, it will go away over time.
To get rid of it, it is important to make healthy lifestyle choices, eat a healthy diet and exercise frequently. If your man boobs is caused by obesity, eat the right foods, exercise and lose weight.
See a doctor if you notice the signs and symptoms of gynecomastia for proper evaluation.