The clinical term for the growth of breast tissue in men is known as Gynecomastia, from the Greek ‘gyne’ meaning woman and ‘mastos’ meaning breast. Leaving ancient Greece for a moment, the condition is more commonly referred to as man boobs. Though there are a number of reasons why man boobs can form, the primary two are hormonal imbalances and excess fatty tissue, most common in obese and overweight men.
There are natural hormone imbalances in times like adolescence. It is not uncommon for boys at puberty to bud small breasts and feel lumps near or under their nipples, but these usually vanish with time. Boys with a little extra weight are more likely to have breast development, but slim and healthy boys can also experience it. No health risks are associated with this adolescent man boob growth, other than the social and psychological pain and stigmatisation that often goes with man boobs. Teenagers that experience breast development will often feel embarrassed about it, and feel isolated from their peers, who can sometime exacerbate the social stigmatisation, especially when sports and swimming (involving removal of the shirt) are involved.
Other causes of man boobs can come from a hormonal reaction to different types of medications, too much alcohol (especially beer) taking methamphetamines and marijuana and even from illnesses like cancer or liver disease.
One source of man boobs has been causing somewhat of an epidemic and creates man boobs that are far more persistent and permanent, sometime leaving surgery as the only option to remove the male breasts. Of course it is anabolic steroid abuse, which is a huge cause of man boobs and is leading to increasing cases of the condition. Because steroids have such a profound effect on the hormones in your body, they have a far more drastic and fast development of man boobs than natural hormonal problems. Man boobs that are resultant of steroid use are also more stubborn and if left untreated may actually develop into permanent tissue which can only really be removed by risky (not to mention hard on the hip pocket) male mamoplasty, which is not a great option for any man.
Male breast development is quite a common side effect of steroid use. Breast will develop because of the way that steroids disrupt the balance of estrogen and testosterone in the body. Steroids stop the body’s natural testosterone production and if a user doesn’t put testosterone back into the body after a cycle of steroids then estrogen will be rampant in the body and feminine hips and breasts will develop. Now that’s not exactly the image that someone taking steroids would want to achieve.
It takes some time after stopping steroids for the body to start producing testosterone again, and often when it does and hormone levels return to a balance the breast tissue formed can remain. This is one of the biggest differences in steroid induced man boobs – they are notoriously hard to eliminate.
The ideal solution would of course be to not use steroids at all, and indeed if the other risk like shrunken testicles are taken into consideration, they should be avoided like the plague. Those who are determined to use steroids can try and stop breast development by taking estrogen blockers. These are often used by body builders, however these drugs have not been fully studied, so there may well be other side effects of these blockers which will cause another unsightly syndrome.
If you suffer from man boobs and haven’t taken steroids, rest assured there are plenty of treatment available to naturally reduce man boobs and give you back the flat muscles that once reigned over your chest- given the right diet and lifestyle advice man boobs can be history. If you have steroid induce gynecomastia it may take a bit more time, however you should try every natural remedy prior to surgery, as it can be a costly as risky procedure that may or may not cure the problem.