Man boobs—we’ve all heard about them. Today, man boobs are deemed unattractive. However, did you know that this is actually a medical condition?
Gynecomastia, which is more popularly known as man-boobs, occurs when there’s an overgrowth of male breast tissue; hence, they look like breasts. This is often the result of weight gain or obesity.
It gets complicated, though. Gynecomastia may seem easy to identify, but there’s also chest fat, which is referred to as pseudo gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia and pseudo gynecomastia can occur in men after puberty; yet, it’s more commonly seen in late adolescence and adulthood.
How can you tell if you have gynecomastia or chest fat?
Gynecomastia causes pain or tenderness that may even increase the swelling over time. When you touch it, it feels rubbery just under the nipple; it can affect one or both breasts. Also, gynecomastia looks like a woman’s breasts.
Now, how do you tell if you only have chest fat? Men tend to have a build-up of fat in the chest and abdomen, and when it does, the chest becomes puffy and swollen. However, it’s still best to get yourself checked because some men with chest fat later develop gynecomastia.
Diagnosis of Gynecomastia
To know whether you have gynecomastia or it’s only chest fat, your doctor will assess your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and review your medical and family history. You may also be asked to have a blood test to check your hormone levels.
You may also be asked to have a breast ultrasound to see detailed images of the growths in the breast. A mammogram may also be ordered to check the unusual growths or changes in the breast tissue.
Development of Gynecomastia
There are various factors that can lead to gynecomastia. The most common fact is a hormonal imbalance when there’s a spike in estrogen levels. When this happens, it can stimulate the growth of breast tissue. Hormonal imbalance in men can also be due to various reasons, such as:
- Liver disease
- Testicular tumors
- Illicit drug use
- Rare genetic disorders
Obesity & Gynecomastia
Another common cause behind gynecomastia is obesity. Obesity in males can increase the enzyme aromatase that converts testosterone into estradiol. As a result, it raises estrogen levels in the body. As mentioned, this triggers the stimulation of the male breast tissue that pushes the breasts to grow.
On the other hand, obese men usually develop pseudo gynecomastia or excess fat in their chest. Keep in mind that pseudo gynecomastia can co-exist or exist on its own.
Prevention of Gynecomastia
Can you prevent it? Well, there’s not much you can do to prevent gynecomastia. One of the things you can do is abstain from alcohol and drugs. Moreover, suppose you are taking medicines that may trigger the development of this condition. In that case, it’s best you consult with your physician first to know if there are alternative medications you can take.
Also, preventing gynecomastia during adolescence can be challenging due to hormone fluctuations at this point.
Treatment for Gynecomastia
There are non-surgical treatments available for gynecomastia that include removing some of the factors that cause the issue. For example, your doctor may ask you to abstain from alcohol, anabolic steroids, and drugs. You may also be asked to stop certain medications that may be causing gynecomastia.
In case the reason behind the condition is hormonal imbalance, your hormones will be stabilized to treat it.
There are also surgical interventions that involve removing the gynecomastia from the chest. Small incisions will be done around the areola to access the gynecomastia and remove it. This is the best course of action if you want a more permanent solution.
Treatment for Chest Fat
Now, how do you get rid of chest fat? You need to learn how to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen. However, if the chest fat is still there, you can have a specific liposuction treatment to have it removed.
Possible Complications of Gynecomastia
One of the complications of the condition is its impact on mental health. You might also feel anxious or depressed because of this. This is when the condition becomes a bit more complicated. That’s why you need to address it before it gets worse. Fortunately, there are now many treatments available for you.
Here’s one thing you need to remember, breast enlargement for men usually goes away over time or with medication changes. In case the condition is making you self-conscious, there are treatments available to have it treated and removed.