Did you know that at least 36 percent of young men and 57 percent of older men have to deal with man boobs? The Food and Drug Administration has released reports that show that there are millions of cases of this issue, called gynecomastia, reported each year.
While the condition is very rarely medically dangerous, it can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and cause real psychological distress. If you’re dealing with this condition and wondering how to get rid of man boobs, keep reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatment options available to you.
Gynecomastia, which is pronounced “guy-nuh-koh-MAS-tee-uh,” is a medical condition that results in the swelling of breast tissue of boys and men. It’s often referred to as “man boobs” or even “moobs,” and it can be somewhat embarrassing for men to have to try to hide gynecomastia symptoms.
In general, enlarged male breast tissue is not a serious or dangerous medical condition. But it can be emotionally and psychologically difficult to deal with.
What Causes “Man Boobs?”
There are a number of things that can cause gynecomastia, but the root of the issue is an imbalance in the levels of estrogen and testosterone that are present in your body.
Men and women have certain amount of both sex hormones in their bodies. Men have high levels of testosterone with only a small amount of estrogen, and women have high levels of estrogen with smaller amounts of testosterone.
When the ratio of estrogen to testosterone is off in men, it can often lead to man boobs. Estrogen is partially responsible for breast size, so even a relatively small imbalance can lead to enlarged male breast tissue. Excess estrogen signals your body to begin storing more fat in certain areas of the body, and this includes the breasts.
How Does This Hormonal Imbalance Happen?
There are several things that can contribute to the growth of man boobs. Below is a list of the most common gynecomastia causes.
Your thyroid is responsible for much of the hormone production in your body. When it’s overactive, it produces more hormones than your body needs. This can lead to many issues, including gynecomastia.
2. Steroid Use
There are certain instances where careful and controlled use of steroids is beneficial. However, men who deviate from the strict schedule of proper steroid use or use them without medical supervision are very susceptible to developing noticeable man breast.
3. Natural Hormone Fluctuations
Older men are most often affected due to a natural decline in testosterone levels. Lowered or declining levels of testosterone can lead to estrogen dominance, which often results in enlarged breast tissue.
These normal hormonal variances are also why infant and pubescent boys are commonly affected as well. Infant boys are affected by the estrogen levels of their mothers, and puberty brings a host of sudden hormonal changes that can allow for brief surges of estrogen. In almost all of these instances, the condition will resolve itself within a short time frame.
4. Prescription or Illicit Drug Use
Roughly 25 percent of all reported gynecomastia cases are a result of some type of drug use, whether prescribed or illicit.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a few medications that are known to induce gynecomastia are:
– Cancer treatments
– Ulcer medications
– AIDS medications
– Heart treatments
Substance abuse can also cause this problem. Alcohol, marijuana, heroin, amphetamines and methadone are all known to cause swelling of breast tissue.
5. Poor Diet
Foods that are highly processed, high-carb or generally considered “junk food” can contribute to the problem if you eat too much of them. In addition, some foods, such as soy products, are known to contain compounds that mimic estrogen, which can upset your body’s hormonal balance. This can lead to feminine breast contours and a noticeably puffy areola issue.
6. Klinefelter’s Syndrome
This is a chromosomal issue in which a man has an additional X chromosome. Typically, females have an XX chromosomal makeup, and men have an XY makeup. Men with Klinefelter’s syndrome have an XXY combination, which can cause many hormone-related issues, including breast enlargement.
What Are the Symptoms Of Gynecomastia?
Typically, men will notice the following symptoms:
– Noticeably swollen tissue around the chest or pectoral area
– Puffy areolae
– Pain or tenderness in the breast region
– Discharge from one or both nipples
If you notice any of these symptoms or observe any unusual changes in the appearance of your chest, it’s recommended to see a doctor.
Who Can Be Affected By Gynecomastia?
Men of any age can be affected by this issue, but it’s most often seen in:
– Men over 50
– Boys going through puberty
– Men undergoing chemotherapy
– Men with liver, kidney or heart disease
How to Get Rid of Man Breasts
For many men, the most important aspect of this is how to get rid of man breasts. There are a few gynecomastia treatment options, and there are also ways to hide gynecomastia.
Below you will find information on gynecomastia surgery, other forms of gynecomastia treatment and ways to hide the problem to boost your self-confidence.
1. Gynecomastia Surgery
In some of the more severe cases, breast reduction surgery is the best option. This is usually recommended for men who are dealing with sagging breasts and stretched, puffy nipples. Surgical reduction flattens the chest, repositions the areolas, removes excess skin and enhances masculine chest contours.
Some men also benefit from liposuction, which removes the excess breast fat but doesn’t disturb the actual breast tissue.
2. Get a Physical
Because there are so many medical conditions that can cause or contribute to the issue, it’s important to talk to your doctor and schedule a full physical examination. If you have an underlying condition that’s causing the gynecomastia, simply removing the breast tissue will not fix the problem long-term.
It’s also important to understand whether or not any medications you might be taking could be affecting your breast tissue growth. If so, it’s often possible to ask your doctor to switch to an alternative medication or form of treatment.
3. Hormone Therapy
Since the root cause of the issue is a hormonal imbalance, some men see success with a course of hormone therapy. This route can be very effective. It should be closely monitored by a healthcare professional who understands your full medical history.
4. Non-surgical Options
Surgery is often a last resort, and other treatment options take time to see results. To boost your self-confidence while you explore how to get rid of gynecomastia permanently, buying a compression shirt or nipple covers can make a lot of difference in your clothed appearance.
Compression shirts are designed to trim your figure and eliminate the look of “moobs” when wearing a shirt. They’re seamless and can be worn under any clothing without bunching or rolling up. Additionally, if you have a puffy areola problem, you can purchase skin-toned adhesive areola covers that flatten your puffy nipples for a more natural look.
In addition to compression shirts, another non-surgical treatment to get rid of man boobs is a cosmetic procedure called CoolSculpting. CoolSculpting works by freezing the unwanted man breast fat cells while leaving the surrounding tissue untouched. The frozen fat cells die and are permanently flushed from your body as waste. It can leave your chest looking flatter and slimmer.
To recap, this article covers:
– Gynecomastia definition and explanation
– Causes and symptoms
– Long-term treatment options
– Short-term confidence solutions
Gynecomastia is a very common problem that men of all ages are susceptible to. It may feel overwhelming or embarrassing, but there are ways to treat and prevent it. Additionally, you can hide gynecomastia effectively with compression shirts and nipple covers until you find an effective treatment.
Remember that this condition doesn’t have to be permanent. Though gynecomastia causes issues that are embarrassing and considered “unmanly,” you shouldn’t feel like less of a man. It’s important to gather the courage to talk to a doctor about it so that he or she can walk you through how to get rid of gynecomastia for good.