Could your ‘man boobs’ be Gynecomastia? Causes, symptoms and treatments of a misunderstood condition
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You’ve probably heard of the dreaded man boobs (or ‘moobs’), the unflattering term for enlarged male breasts. But what you may not have heard is how common they are.
Far from being rare and taboo, breast growth is actually something most men will experience in their lifetime. Yes, we did say most!
The vast majority of men – estimated to be about 90% – will notice their breasts grow at some point.
For most this will happen during puberty, when up to 70% of boys show a temporary increase in breast tissue. Nearly all of these will go flat again in a couple of years, once their hormones have settled down. But those who don’t – as well as those who first experience it as adults – are probably suffering from Gynecomastia.
What is Gynecomastia?
While the name makes it sound like something serious, it’s actually a harmless condition. Gynecomastia, sometimes spelt ‘Gynaecomastia’, is a benign hormonal disorder which causes breast tissue to enlarge in males.
The symptoms of Gynecomastia
For some men, Gynecomastia appears as little lumps under one or both nipples. Others may have more severe symptoms, with the most extreme cases developing large, pendulous breasts.
Whichever form it takes, it can be an embarrassing and often distressing condition for many men.
What causes Gynecomastia?
Leaving aside the Gynecomastia which occurs at puberty, most cases appear spontaneously with no obvious cause (known as ‘idiopathic’).
But there are some things we know can contribute to the development of Gynecomastia – ageing, obesity, alcohol and drugs, including cannabis, prescription medicines and, famously, anabolic steroids (hence the prevalence of Gynecomastia among steroid-abusing bodybuilders).
The excessive use of drugs like these interferes with the hormone balance and leads to a higher proportion of oestrogen in the body, resulting in the growth of glandular and/or fatty breast tissue.
There are a number of treatments on the market for Gynecomastia, some more reliable than others.
The Gynecomastia vest, while not technically a treatment, can be used to disguise the condition by binding the chest down. And Gynexin is a non-prescription herbal Gynecomastia medication that’s said to break down the fatty deposits on the chest. But to date, there’s unfortunately no conclusive clinical evidence to back this up.
The only treatment that reliably works to cure the condition is Gynecomastia surgery, otherwise known as male breast reduction.
Just like breast reduction in women, Gynecomastia surgery offers a permanent reduction in the amount of breast tissue in men. It’s an increasingly popular procedure at Aurora Clinics – especially at this time of year when thoughts turn to summer and taking tops off to sunbathe or swim.
If you’re over 18 years of age and unhappy with your enlarged chest, you may make a good candidate for Gynecomastia surgery.
Our team of expert surgeons offer the procedure at clinics throughout the UK. To find out what can be achieved, look at the results in our before and after gallery. For more information about the procedure, book a consultation to speak to one of our expert surgeons by calling 01324 578290 or emailing mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.