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Got Moobs? The Men’s Guide to Gynecomastia7 min read

Man Gynecomastia Moobs
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Dr. Phillip Chang

Board Certified By The American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
Voted Top Plastic Surgeon in Loudoun, Virginia
Offices in Leesburg, Virginia.

Realself Verified Doctor

The term “moobs” or “man boobs” might be a joke to some; but for some men, living with breast tissue is a reality. More than 30 percent of men experience enlarged breasts at some point in their life. The medical term for men who grow breast tissue and develop larger breasts is called Gynecomastia. The appearance of enlarged breasts in men can be a source of insecurity, but also can be a result of an underlying condition. The development of moobs isn’t necessarily due to weight gain.

What Causes Gynecomastia in Men?

Like the rest of your body, you can gain and lose weight in your chest, but many times that is not the sole cause of breast enlargement. One of the main differences between having a bigger chest because of weight-gain and actual gynecomastia is the presence of glandular tissue. The main reason for men experiencing breast enlargement is hormonal. If testosterone levels begin to lower and estrogen levels rise, typically this causes glandular tissue in the chest to grow.

Obesity and Gynecomastia

It was mentioned before that gynecomastia and being overweight were not the same, but being overweight can still cause gynecomastia. Having too much fat present can cause a rise in a hormone called leptin. When levels rise too much, your body will develop a leptin resistance which will trick your brain into thinking it’s starving. When your body thinks it’s starving, it will send signals to the rest of your body telling it not to waste energy on sex and reproduction. This translates into an eventual suppression of testosterone production.  

Lower levels of testosterone means that your body not suppress estrogen’s effects as well (because men produce estrogen too, not just testosterone). A higher ration of estrogen to testosterone in men affects the breast glandular tissue which can lead to the development of man boobs.

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Can Supplements Cause Gynecomastia?

When talking about supplemental use, we’re not just talking steroids. We mean testosterone replacements, natural grooming products and any other variety of medications. 

Testosterone replacement therapies can help with muscle growth, sex drive, energy and many other bodily functions. They also can cause a temporary growth in glandular tissue because some of the testosterone gets converted into estrogen. Most of the time, your body will regulate this, but if you find that its not going away, it’s time to talk to your doctor. 

Steroids have been known for years to cause hormonal changes in users. This is mostly because the amount used is not regulated so many people are using too much. Some steroids get converted to estrogen in the body which will also cause glandular tissue growth. 

Natural supplements and oils can contain estrogen-like properties that can cause breast growth. Even if it’s just an oil that you are using on a different part of the body, it can get into the bloodstream through the skin and cause hormonal imbalance. If you’ve noticed a change in breast growth since beginning a new supplement, it might be time to stop it and see if the effects are reversed.

Can Severe Health Conditions Lead to Gynecomastia?

Just like obesity, severe health conditions can send signals to your brain that now is not the time to waste energy on procreation.

Liver disease, particularly cirrhosis, can cause severe hormonal disruption. Having a tumor can have the same effect on the hormonal production in the body, particularly pituitary gland tumors.

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Age and Gynecomastia

Age can also play a factor in the development of man boobs. For many men, the first time they notice a change in their breast tissue is during puberty when hormones are all over the place and their body is learning to regulate. Most of the time the breast, tissue will shrink back to normal after undergoing puberty. The same can occur as you get older. Testosterone levels can lower which will leave estrogen levels unchecked and glandular tissue can develop.

"GYNECOMASTIA is the benign enlargement of male breast glandular tissue and is the most common breast condition in males. At least 30% of males will be affected during their life." Gynecomastia: Clinical Evolution and Management, Neskihan, C et al, 2014

When to See a Doctor for Gynecomastia

If you have a sudden and unexplained development of man boobs, it’s time to see your doctor. There may be underlying health issues that need to be treated. The best way to identify actual gynecomastia versus just being overweight is that glandular tissue will be slightly firmer and tender, particularly around the nipple.

Gynecomastia Treatment

If you have been diagnosed with irreversible gynecomastia, you have the option to surgically reverse it. A consultation with a cosmetic surgeon will be the best way to determine the course of treatment, but typically it will include a small incision on each breast and the removal of some tissue and/or liposuction. More and more men are seeking gynecomastia surgery to reduce the appearance of moobs.

Gynecomastia Surgery Before and After Photos

Gynecomastia Before photo
Gynecomastia After photo

You don't have to live with moobs!

If you are wondering whether you could benefit from gynecomastia surgery, we invite you to simply come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether you would make a good candidate. To find out more whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.

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