Almost 50 percent of men have man boobs. Yes that embarrassing blob of fat around the chest area. Clinically it is known as Gynecomastia. But before you can get rid of man boobs, it is better that you get a slight understanding of how it forms.
Gynecomastia is an endocrine system disorder characterized by a non-cancerous swelling in the male breast tissue. Up to 70% of adolescent boys have some form of breast enlargement during the period of puberty. Newborn males, due to the influence of maternal hormones, and adolescent males, due to the influence of hormonal changes, often times experience temporary gynecomastia.
Benign pubertal changes in adolescent males are the leading cause of gynecomastia. Most of the pubertal gynecomastia cases resolve without treatment within two years of onset. Gynecomastia is also known to occur in association with some disease states. It is common among individuals with Klinefelter syndrome or certain types of cancers, individuals with endocrine system disorder or metabolic dysfunction, individuals using certain medications, or in older males with natural declining testosterone production.
Gynecomastia is generally not a serious problem, although it is quite tough for boys and men to cope with this condition. It sometimes is characterized by pain in the breast area and may also feel embarrassing.
The condition is believed to develop due to endocrine system disturbances that lead to the increased estrogens/androgens ratio. It may occur even in cases of appropriate levels of estrogens and androgens as long the as the ratio is altered. Gynecomastia is usually diagnosed after a physician performs a detailed history and physical examination.
Gynecomastia requires only a conservative management as the condition typically resolves on its own. Medical treatment is resorted to only in cases of gynecomastia that persisted beyond two years. Some medications, including aromatase inhibitors, may be effective in treating gynecomastia cases that were caused by aromatase excess syndrome or Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. Surgical removal of excess tissue is often times the recommended action.
- Signs and Symptoms of Gynecomastia
- Causes of Gynecomastia
2.1 Chronic Diseases and Gynecomastia
- Diagnosis of Gynecomastia
- Conditions with Similar Symptoms
- Possible Treatment
5.1 Medications and Surgery
5.2 Diet and Nutrition
5.3 Exercise5.3.1 Bench Press5.3.2 Plyometric Push Up
- Further Reading
The classic sign of gynecomastia is breast enlargement in males characterized by compressible, soft, and mobile subcutaneous
tissue palpated under the nipple’s areola as differentiated from softer fatty tissue. Breast enlargement may occur on both sides or on one side of the breast. It is also characterized by asymmetry of chest tissue and increased areola diameter. Gynecomastia does not have nipple retraction or dimpling of the skin. Typically, it does not involve milky discharge except in gynecomastia cases with tumors that secrete prolactin. Males with breast enlargement are always anxious about the possibility of having another disease – breast cancer.
Gynecomastia is believed to be due to a decrease in the production of androgen, or an altered ratio of estrogens and androgens, of a combination of both. Estrogen is a growth hormone that increases the size of male breast tissue. A quarter of gynecomastia cases have unknown origin. Drugs are also believed to cause gynecomastia.
Breast growth in men can be caused by some health problems such as kidney failure, liver disease, or low levels of testosterone. Among adult males, liver disease and drugs are the leading causes of gynecomastia. Medications that are known to cause gynecomastia include aldosterone antagonists, antifungal medications, HIV medications, methadone, cancer chemotherapy, heartburn and ulcer medications, hormonal treatment for prostate cancer, some forms of antibiotics, tricyclic antidepressants, the insecticide Phenothrin that has antiandrogen activity.
Males with some form of chronic diseases are prone to breast enlargement. Malnutrition that often comes with kidney failure may contribute to the unusual breast enlargement. Kidney failure patients are prone to hormonal imbalance resulting from the suppression of testosterone production and uremia-associated hypogonadism, or damage to the testicles caused by high levels of urea.
Males with cirrhosis or liver failure have livers that do not properly metabolize hormones, such as estrogen. Patients with alcoholic liver diseases are at higher risk of developing gynecomastia as ethanol directly disrupts testosterone synthesis and the phytoestrogens in alcohol contributes to higher ratio of estrogen/testosterone. Cystic fibrosis or ulcerative colitis, which cause malabsorption, may also lead to gynecomastia.
Some forms of tumors may also lead to male breast enlargement. Gynecomastia is associated with testicular tumors. Some tumors that produce hormones that alter the balance of male-female hormones, such as adrenocortical tumors, bronchogenic carcinoma, and pituitary gland tumors may also lead to male breast enlargement. Prostate cancer patients undergoing androgen deprivation therapy may also experience male breast enlargement.
Gynecomastia is diagnosed by a thorough history and physical examination conducted by a physician. The physical examination includes breast tissue palpation to rule out for breast cancer and male breast tissue enlargement caused by excess fat tissue, evaluation of size and development of the penis, evaluation of testicular tissue to rule out suspicion of testicular cancer, and the development of secondary sexual characteristics, which include distribution and amount of underarm and pubic hair.
A review of the individual’s medications or illegal substances use may reveal the causes of the male breast enlargement. Laboratory tests to determine the underlying cause of gynecomastia are to be conducted, to include tests to rule out liver disease such aspartate transaminase and alanine transaminase tests, tests to determine kidney damage such as serum creatinine, and hyperthyroidism tests such as thyroid-stimulating hormone levels test. Tests to determine serum testosterone levels, estradiol, luteinizing hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone are also conducted to find out if gynecomastia is caused by hypogonadism.
There are conditions with similar symptoms as man boobs or gynecomastia. Tests are conducted to rule out other conditions that may resemble gynecomastia in their symptoms such as:
- Fatty breast tissue – Some males may have the condition called false gynecomastia or pseudogynecomastia, which is not the same as gynecomastia. They have chest fat that is often times mistaken as gynecomastia. Laboratory tests are needed to establish the real condition.
- Breast cancer – Yes, men can have breast cancer also although it is not common. When the enlargement is present in one breast only or when there is a firm nodule, it may suggest the presence of male breast cancer.
Gynecomastia is not life threatening but it can be psychologically devastating. For that reason, men with man boobs want to get rid of that unwanted fat in the breast area. There are different possible treatments and option to get rid, minimize, or hide man boobs or gynecomastia.
If exercise and improved nutrition are not enough in getting rid of man boobs, there are medications that can be used. Some medications that are normally used for the treatment of breast cancer may be helpful in getting rid of man boobs. They include tamoxifen, raloxifine, and aromatase inhibitors. These medications are approved by the FDA to treat cancer but not for the treatment of gynecomastia or man boobs.
If the other remedies to get rid of gynecomastia or man boobs cannot solve the condition, the other remaining option is surgery. Your doctor may advise any of the two surgical options to remove excess breast tissue:
- Liposuction – Also called lipoplasty, liposuction breaks up and removes fat by suction from the breast. Only breast fat is removed, not the breast gland tissue.
- Mastectomy – This surgical technique involves the removal of the gland tissue of the breast. The surgery is commonly an endoscopic procedure, using only small incisions. This procedure is less invasive and requires shorter recovery time.
Do not go on a diet – EAT! You need to check on your nutrition every now and then. But this time, you do not have to control anything. Instead of going on a diet, you need to eat. You are probably thinking that one of the easiest ways on how to get rid of man boobs fast is to go on a diet. Not in this case. Because going on a diet reduces the production of testosterone. Remember that it is the production of this hormone that you need to elevate. Eating more will do that for you. You want to lose fats in your belly you go on a diet. But if you want to lose fats in your chest, go and eat.
Stop drinking alcohol. Some people think that it is just a drink. But the truth is that alcoholic beverages contain a lot of calories in it. In fact it comes in second to fat when it comes to the density of calories. But the issues with alcohol do not stop here. It is actually your history of alcohol intake that puts the biggest bummer in your plans of losing your man boobs.
Actually, alcohol suppresses the production of testosterone. The message is certainly clear with this finding. If you are really serious about how to get rid of man boobs – stop drinking alcohol!
Gynecomastia develops in a man’s chest within the endocrine system where fats develop and gather. Unfortunately, the real cause of this condition is still unknown. But several researches are being done to determine the cause. The good thing is that even if the cause is still unknown, there are treatments that can reduce and even eliminate this condition.
- Bench Press
The bench press will be your key exercise in your quest on how to get rid of man boobs fast. It offers you a complete workout of your chest area. Aside from that it involves complex exercises that can alter the balance of your hormones. Production of testosterone is increased with the use of the bench and heavy barbells. In fact, the more repetitions you can make, the more muscles you can develop in the chest area. While you are at it lying on the bench, you can also do more exercises that target your chest.
- Plyometric Push Up
You need to do this on a regular basis. You need to do low repetitions of 3 sets. For best results, you have to exert maximum force while flexing. The truth is that the common push-up is an essential part of developing and maintaining chest muscles. The nice thing about it is its convenience. You do not need any fancy gym equipment to do it. The only thing you need is a clean floor. This exercise combined with heavy bench press will help you define your chest muscles.You start in the push-up position. Push yourself up like in a normal push-up. Then at the top of your push, you give that extra energy to propel your arms, hands, and upper body into the air. You land on the palm of your hands without the rest of your body touching the floor. As you land, you push-up once again in the same manner. For a start, try doing five repetitions in three sets.
- Dumbbell Flies
For this exercise you are going to need a bench and dumbbells. Start off with 3 sets of 20 repetitions each. To get your testosterone going, you need to rely on the number of repetitions you can make. In this case 20 is a good number. Choose a weight that is on the lighter side but offers slight resistance. Start by lying down on the bench with your arms straight up from your chest. Each hand must hold dumbbells of equal weights. Slowly pull the dumbbells to the side of your chest wide. Do not go lower than your chest area as you might end up with a hyper extended shoulder.
People who want to lose their man boobs but are not comfortable going through surgery or ingesting medications could opt for serum or cream to lose man breast fat in a natural manner. There are creams, such as the Gynexol Cream, that is popular among men who suffer from this condition. The cream helps in burning excess fat in the breast area and also delivers tightened skin texture. Gynecomastia serum or cream is applied directly onto the affected areas, with results manifesting in few weeks. However, do not expect results in the same time frame as different people respond to the cream or serum differently.
Compression shirts for men with man boobs are becoming popular because it is a fast and cheap option. Compression shirts offset breast enlargement and becomes huge confidence booster for men who became self-conscious because of their abnormal breast size. Compression shirt, however, is not an alternative to surgery, medication, or other forms of treatment. It only hides the condition.
There are available dietary supplements in the market that claim to reduce breast tissues. Some supplements that are rich in zinc are believed to help reduce gynecomastia. But bear in mind that zinc could be found in food like poultry, nuts, seeds, and seafood. Avoid supplements that claim to magically reduce man boobs. Look for supplements that will help synthesize testosterone and prevent the synthesis of estrogen.
Getting rid of man boobs has different available options. It is up to the individual to determine which one works best for him.