What are man boobs?
All humans, irrespective of their gender, have some breast tissue. Typically, in males, the breast tissue doesn’t enlarge, as it does for women owing to hormonal changes during puberty. However, for some men, the breast tissue can grow due to a host of factors such as medication, body weight, underlying medical conditions and hormonal imbalance.
The result is the formation of extra, soft, breast-like tissue around the nipples. The size of these breasts can vary, depending on the underlying causes. For some, it may just lead to a more plumped-up chest, while for others, it can manifest as visible breast-like formation.
What causes men to develop breasts?
The development of breasts in men can be caused by a number of reasons, such as:
- Hormonal imbalance: An imbalance between hormones like testosterone and estrogen, can lead to a condition known as gynecomastia, which can cause the breasts tissue in men to grow. Typically, men produce much lower quantities of estrogen compared to testosterone, which inhibits any growth of the breast tissue. However, when this balance is disrupted, it leads to visible growth in the male breast tissue.
- Obesity: Another common cause behind the emergence of man boobs is excessive weight gain. This is known as pseudo-gynecomastia, where the chest appears enlarged, however, it’s not due to breast tissue growth alone. The increased body weight leads to a growth in fat deposits as well as gland enlargement, giving the male chest a breast-like appearance.
- Puberty: The hormonal fluctuation during puberty can also lead to gynaecomastia. It is not uncommon for teenage boys to have enlarged breast tissue in varying degrees. This usually clears up with age, as the hormone levels begin to stabilise.
- Old age: A combination of changes in the body weight and hormone levels can also lead to breast tissue growth in older men.
- Underlying medical conditions: Underlying medical conditions such as kidney failure, liver disease, infection in the testicles as well as genetic disorders like Klinefelter syndrome and medication for conditions like heart disease can contribute to breast tissue growth.
- Alcohol/Drug use: Excessive alcohol consumption and drug use can also lead to the development of breasts in men.
Ways to get rid of man boobs
The approach to getting rid of man boobs depends on what’s causing it. Based on that understanding, you can try any one or a combination of these measures:
- Lifestyle changes: If enlargement of breasts is triggered by obesity or weight gain, lifestyle changes such as giving up on fried and processed foods, following a balanced and healthy diet, coupled with a regular exercise regime can yield visible results.
- Toning exercises: Weight training can be exceptionally effective in toning the enlarged breast tissue in men and giving it a firmer shape. Barbell bench press, pec decks, bent-over cable crossovers and push-ups are a few exercises you can try
- Medication: If breast tissue growth is caused by a hormonal imbalance, medical intervention may be necessary to restore balance and inhibit the growth of breast tissue. In that case, it is best to see a doctor ( a general physician) and decide on a course of treatment
- Surgery: Likewise, if the breast tissue growth is excessive and is resulting in serious self-esteem and mental health issues, you could consult a doctor to explore the option of surgical intervention to remove the excess tissue growth.
As we said before, embrace your body, moobs and all. But if there are underlying health concerns triggering breast tissue growth, consult a doctor and do what you need to do to take control of your well-being.
Arushi Chaudhary is a freelance journalist and writer with 5 years of experience in print publications such as the Pune Mirror and Hindustan Times, and has spent close to a decade writing for digital platforms and print publications – The Tribune, BR International magazine, Make My Trip, Killer Features, The Money Times, and Home Review, to name a few. Of the many things she's written about over the years, exploring the space of love and relationships through the prism of psychology excites her the most. Writing is her first and forever love. You can find her on Twitter here.