What are “man-boobs?” Just like you would expect, man-boobs signifies breast enlargement in men.
Are you insecure about your man-boobs? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who has this condition. Gynecomastia affects half of the men at some stage in their life. Unfortunately, some men suffer from this condition for many years.
Here’s everything you need to understand about man-boobs and how to get rid of them.
Types of Man-Boobs
Gynecomastia occurs when the female hormone estrogen entices the increase in breast tissue. This can happen for a few reasons, including:
- Pre-existing medical disorders
- Medication side effects
- Klinefelter Syndrome, a genetic condition where men are born with an extra X chromosome
Keep in mind, estrogen in men is common and normal. Gynecomastia deals with excessive and abnormal estrogen levels.
Pseudogynecomastia occurs when pectoral fat builds up around the areola. This occurs when men are obese and they develop fat around the chest.
Unlike gynecomastia, this isn’t a hormonal issue. The chest and abdomen are two common areas where men develop fat.
What Are the Causes of Man-Boobs?
Man-boobs have a few underlying causes, including:
- Low testosterone
- Low metabolism
- Pectoral fat
Estrogen is one of the most important female reproductive hormones, but it also occurs in men. This hormone signals the body to develop and retain more fat in the chest.
Slow metabolism is also a common cause. Your metabolism dictates the way your body burns fat. If you develop more pectoral fat, you will have a harder time burning it off.
In addition, pectoral fat acts as a secondary gland that secretes the enzyme aromatase. This enzyme converts testosterone to estrogen, making it even more difficult to get rid of man-boobs.
These aren’t the only causes. The different types of man-boobs can also dictate the causes. Certain lifestyle factors also make men more prone to developing man-boobs.
Gynecomastia occurs as a result of hormonal issues, most commonly excessive estrogen levels.
Excessive estrogen is a side effect in many medications, can result from certain lifestyle factors, and can even occur during puberty. In rare cases, excessive estrogen can occur from a pre-existing condition.
Pseudogynecomastia occurs when there are excess levels of fat in the body. The fat in a man’s chest could only be chest fat and not breast tissue growth.
However, excess body fat can decrease testosterone levels. In addition, the enzyme aromatase can convert testosterone into estrogen, forcing your chest to hold onto fat. This makes it difficult to lose man-boobs with diet and exercise alone.
Breast tissue growth occurs as a result of hormonal changes. Unlike hormonal issues, these changes are only temporary and men usually lose their man-boobs over time.
These hormonal changes may occur during three main stages in a man’s life: infancy, puberty, and old age. However, the majority of men will form man-boobs during puberty. This condition is called pubertal gynecomastia.
As a man enters adulthood, his chest will flatten and he’ll lose his man-boobs. Most doctors won’t recommend any treatment unless a hormonal issue is suspected.
Man-boobs are a common symptom of performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids.
Incorrect steroid usage causes gynecomastia because your body produces excess estrogen as well as testosterone. After finishing a cycle, users have to go through post cycle therapy (PCT) to ensure testosterone levels become stable.
In regard to pseudogynecomastia, men need to eat a low-carb diet to avoid weight gain. But did you know many foods contain estrogen? Common examples include:
- Soybeans and other soy products
- Sesame seeds
- Rice bran
Does this mean you need to avoid this food? No — certain foods such as oats, beans, and carrots offer many nutrients that are essential to our health. Just be mindful of how much of these foods you consume.
Before you can receive treatment, you need to visit a doctor to see what kind of condition you have. While you can visit your general practitioner, it’s recommended you see a doctor who specializes in gynecomastia.
There’s one main method that doctors will use to diagnose your condition. They will take their fingers and squeeze one side of the breast. In true gynecomastia, the doctor will feel a mound of tissue. This tissue isn’t there with pseudogynecomastia.
Here are the most common treatments for man-boobs. Keep in mind, the treatment methods listed here may not be what your doctor recommends.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes
If your doctor suspects your man-boobs are caused by excess fat, you’ll be instructed to make some diet and lifestyle changes. You’ll not only eat a low-carb diet but will also avoid foods that increase estrogen.
Your doctor will also suggest you start exercising to burn off more fat. Cardio exercise will burn fat but strength training will build muscle as well as burn fat. The muscle will better define your chest while increasing your metabolism and keeping fat off.
There are many supplements that can increase testosterone production, cut off estrogen production, and burn chest fat. Gynectrol and Gynexin are the two most popular supplements.
If the above techniques aren’t working, your doctor may suggest you have surgery to decrease the size of your man-boobs and flatten your chest.
The type of surgery you have depends on your condition. That’s because removing pectoral fat and removing excess breast tissue are two different procedures.
If you have gynecomastia, you’ll likely undergo male breast reduction (commonly called breast reduction surgery). This procedure removes excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin from the breasts. Skin is removed in grade 4 gynecomastia.
If you have pseudogynecomastia, you’ll likely undergo liposuction. Liposuction removes fat from specific areas of the body. Your surgeon may also contour your chest to enhance the appearance.
Today, there are more non-invasive procedure options, such as Coolscullpting.
Common Questions Asked About Gynecomastia Surgery
Are you seriously considering undergoing surgery for your man-boobs? Did your doctor already recommend this treatment method? Here are some FAQs about this type of surgery.
Who’s a Good Candidate for Surgery?
Surgery for man-boobs is recommended for men who have been struggling with man-boobs, both gynecomastia, and pseudogynecomastia, for years. They have tried all treatment methods and aren’t successful. For those with pseudogynecomastia, these patients had little to no luck with diet and exercise.
There are different surgical procedures to remove the fat and tissue in a man’s chest, making the chest look flatter and shaped better.
Why Should Men Choose Surgery?
Most men who undergo surgery have not only had man-boobs for years but suffered from low self-esteem. If a man tried everything to reduce their man-boobs and have been unsuccessful, surgery is an effective treatment option.
What Can a Man Expect Before, During, and After Surgery?
Before your surgery, you’ll have a consultation with the surgeon where they discuss the operation they will perform and will provide details that will educate you about the procedure. Don’t hesitate to ask your surgeon any questions about the procedure.
You should also conduct your own research as well as listen to your surgeon. Research the risks but also the results. Think if this is truly what you want. If you’re uncomfortable, you can always discuss other options with your surgeon.
On surgery day, the surgeon will mark the incisions on your chest. These incisions will target the exact areas of fat.
From here, the procedure will begin. The following steps depend on the operation you’re having.
If the surgery is successful, you’ll go through recovery. Most surgical recovery times are relatively short, only lasting a couple of weeks (but this depends on the exact operation and other individual factors).
Most men can return to work relatively quickly. If you work at a physical job, you may want to take off more workdays than someone who works in an office. Always listen to your surgeon and do what they advise.
In addition, you should rest. Take a break from exercising and try to avoid strenuous activity, such as sports, hiking, or climbing. If you decide to exercise, listen to your body, and stop when necessary.
What Clothing Should You Wear After Surgery?
Patients will likely receive special garments to wear during recovery. These garments conform your chest to its new shape and will also reduce swelling that occurs during recovery. Wear this garment as instructed by your surgeon.
Otherwise, wear comfortable loose-fitting clothing.
How to Get Rid of Man-Boobs: Find a Surgeon
Man-boobs are the excessive chest growth that many men struggle with. While man-boobs are often caused by weight gain, hormonal issues in the form of gynecomastia may also cause man-boobs. For most men, surgery is the best treatment option.
Do you struggle to find a gynecomastia surgeon in your area? For personalized information about gynecomastia plastic surgery procedures, please complete Dr. Delgado’s inquiry form.