For men, putting on weight can be something that happens all to easily. Whether its getting the newly popular “dad-bod” or simply just drinking/eating too much junk, weight gain quite often leads to gynaecomastia, or what is more commonly known as man boobs. Gynaecomastia is a very common condition that causes men of all ages to have breasts that swell and become larger than normal and is commonly seen in teenagers and older men.

So what are the signs of gynaecomastia then?

The signs of gynaecomastia vary between a small amount of extra tissue around the nipples, causing them to show more prominently, all the way through to breasts that wouldn’t be out of place on a woman. This can be something that effects either breast or more commonly can affect both and can cause the tissue to be tender and painful, though that isn’t always the case.

What are the causes of gynaecomastia?

The biggest cause of gynaecomastia is natural hormone imbalance, and this is something that can happen to near enough anyone on the planet if their testosterone and oestrogen levels have the wrong balance. It’s the oestrogen that causes the tissue within the breasts to grow and while all men produce some amount of oestrogen, usually their bodies will produce a much higher level of testosterone which stops the oestrogen from influencing the breast tissue. If the level of testosterone is not where it needs to be, then this can causes an enlargement to the breast tissue and give the appearance of man boobs.

The obvious next in the list is obesity which is a generalised term for being very overweight. Obesity can actually increase the levels of oestrogen within the body which in turn causes the breast tissue to grow. If you are overweight, then you’re also likely to be carrying a larger amount of excess fat that also enlarges the breast tissue. In some cases, exercise and losing weight can help this but when its down to the increased hormone level this doesn’t always work.

Finally, age is also a big factor in gynaecomastia. From being a newborn through to old age, its all down to the hormones within your body and this has an effect. As a newborn, oestrogen is passed through the placenta from the mother to the baby and can cause the breast area to be enlarged though in babies this is only temporary. During puberty, a boys hormone levels are changing and many teenage boys have at least some degree of breast enlargement during this period until their hormone levels become more stable. And lastly, as men get older their body produces less testosterone which links back to the hormone imbalance as it can’t counteract the oestrogen as effectively.

So what can be done about gynaecomastia then?

Gynaecomastia is something that can be aided by regular exercise and weight loss and by taking medication to aid with hormone imbalances, but once the tissue is there, surgery is the best and most effective way to remove it for good!