Man boobs (gynecomastia) is the enlargement of breast tissue in men, more specifically, the swelling of the glandular tissue in the male breast. As a result, the affected breast becomes bigger than usual, sometimes tender and painful. One or both breasts may be affected and the intensity on each, different too.
Important to note however is that there are other reasons which may cause the breast to become bigger. One of them is breast cancer. However, this is extremely rare in teenage boys. The others are lipomastia and pseudogynecomastia both of which are more common in overweight men. As opposed to breast tissue enlargement, these two conditions stem from increased fat deposits in the breast area. The solution to the conditions would be exercise and a change in eating habits. Enough exercise and healthy foods eliminate excess fat in the body, the breast included, to restore the normal shape and size of the breast.
An imbalance in testosterone and estrogen is the major cause of man boobs (gynecomastia) although there are other minor causes such as excess consumption of alcohol, Klinefelter’s Syndrome or as a side effect of medication or drug abuse. The condition is also linked to other medical conditions such as liver or kidney failure.
Who can get man boobs?
Boys in their teens are most affected due to hormone balance at this stage of human growth and development. Men have a significant amount of estrogen in their bodies. While estrogen is responsible for breast tissue enlargement, the stronger effect of testosterone restricts breast growth. When the two hormones fail to balance out, the teen boys’ breasts grow bigger. Though in rare cases, infants can also get gynecomastia. This is caused by the mother’s estrogen which gets to the baby via the placenta. Older men too can be victims of man boobs syndrome. The older men become, they produce smaller amounts of testosterone. Estrogen levels are then elevated and as a result, breasts start to enlarge.
Teenage boys need not worry about man boobs. As they grow older, hormones stop acting up. In most cases it usually clears after two or three years without medication. Infant gynecomastia also clears weeks after birth without medication. The condition should not be a cause for alarm as it disappears with time and if it persists or becomes severe, one can consult a doctor for surgical removal of the excess breast tissue or prescription for medication that fine-tunes hormone imbalance in the body.