Gynecomastia, also known as “man boobs”, can be devastating to a man. It’s not just a problem for men who are overweight. Even men who have a healthy percentage of body fat can suffer from gynecomastia. The result is the same though – embarrassment and insecurity can negatively affect a man’s personal and professional relationships.
What Causes Man Boobs?
Males mostly make a hormone called testosterone, which guides their sexual growth during puberty. But males also make some estrogen — the hormone that steers sexual growth in girls. When a boy is going through puberty, or when an older man’s body makes less testosterone, the balance of the two hormones changes.
Sometimes when that happens, a higher percentage of estrogen causes male breast tissue to swell. About half of adolescent boys and as many as two-thirds of men older than 50 will have this to some degree.
So, Why Do Man Boobs Happen?
A lot of things can trigger the hormone imbalance that causes gynecomastia, and many times the exact cause is unknown. However, here are the most common reasons why males get man boobs:
- Puberty resulting in a hormonal imbalance
- Aging – as men get older and testosterone naturally drops, this can result in a hormonal imbalance
- Testicular injury, resulting in decreased testosterone
- Thyroid issues – altering hormonal production
- Some cancers – especially lung, pituitary gland and adrenal gland
- Obesity – men who are obese produce more estrogen
- Prescription drugs, especially for heart disease, cancer, depression, and ulcers
- Illegal drug use – especially marijuana, anabolic steroids and heroin
- Kidney failure
- Liver disease
Infants also can get gynecomastia from estrogen passed through their mother’s milk.
How to Get Rid of Man Boobs
If you suspect you may have gynecomastia, the first step is to talk to a physician. Only through a physical examination can they determine if it is man boobs or something more serious, like cancer. Once it’s determined to be man boobs, the treatment will depend on your age and the suspected cause.
If you are overweight, your first course of action would be to lose the excess fat. This will not only help decrease the fat in your body, overall, but also help reduce the over abundance estrogen your body produces, which is common in overweight men. A high protein, low-glycemic carb diet, such as offered with Isagenix, combined with cardio and strength training, is the healthiest way to lose excess weight and keep or increase your lean muscle.
You may be referred to an endocrinologist, who can assist you with getting your hormone levels back in balance. If your man boobs are due to some other underlying cause, that will be treated. In the most extreme cases, you may decide to pursue a surgical alternative – this can include liposuction to remove the fat or even a masectomy.