The Top 7 Man Boob Myths and the Facts Behind Them
- 31 October 2016
- Dr. Nidal (Nick) Masri
Men are usually not as vain as women, but there are things that definitely make them feel self-conscious – and that includes the presence of man boobs, medically known as gynecomastia.
In a world where the “dad bod” has already been somehow accepted as a desirable body shape for men, man boobs are still a bit on the taboo. In fact, there are still myths surrounding male breast enlargement that need to be clarified once and for all.
Here are the most common myths and facts that you should know about gynecomastia.
Myth #1: Gynecomastia is purely genetic.
While it is true that genes play a factor in the development of gynecomastia, it is not the one and only reason. You can be as skinny as a pole and still suffer from unsightly man boobs. There are many factors that can trigger the development of this condition, including age, obesity, and drug usage. In general, anything that can cause a man’s estrogen to rise can also increase his breast size, paving the way for gynecomastia.
Myth #2: Man boobs are purely made up of fat.
Since gynecomastia is a condition often seen among overweight and obese men, it is easy to conclude that their enlarged boobs are only excess fat deposited in the wrong places. After all, women’s boobs are mostly made up of fat, so why should men’s boobs be different?
But the reality is, both male and female breasts are made up of a combination of fats and breast gland tissues. In true gynecomastia, there is not only an overabundance of fat but gland tissues as well. That is why it often requires surgical intervention – male breast reduction surgery – to be resolved.
But there is also such a thing as pseudogynecomastia, which is simply excess fat in the chest caused by obesity. It may be resolved by usual weight loss measures.
Myth #3: Drinking beer with hops causes gynecomastia.
In the past, the media published reports that drinking beer could lead to the growth of men’s breasts. The reports specifically referred to beers containing hops, a bitter aromatic oil used in brewing to inhibit bacterial growth and to add the characteristic bitter taste to the beer. According to these studies, hops in beer cause an increase in estrogen levels, which thereby leads to breast enlargement among men.
However, this myth has been eventually discredited, as it became clear to physicians and researchers that the most common culprits when it comes to gynecomastia are genes, hormones, and use of certain drugs.
Myth #4: Gynecomastia is an early sign of breast cancer.
Breast cancer does not only happen to women. And with that being said, many men worry that gynecomastia may be an early sign of breast cancer development. But in reality, men need not worry too much about breast cancer.
One, male breast cancer is very rare. Two, breast development and breast cancer usually do not have anything to do with each other. Most of the time, gynecomastia does not pose any physical danger.
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What you need to watch out for is any discharge from the nipple, which might be indicative of a breast disease. To make sure that you are healthy and not at risk of male breast cancer, it is recommended to undergo a complete physical exam conducted by your primary physician.
Myth #5: Steroids will eliminate gynecomastia.
Since it has already been established that excess estrogen – a female sex hormone – can cause gynecomastia, a lot of men think that they can counter it with by pumping their body with lots of testosterone – the primary male sex hormone. Anabolic steroids are usually chock-full of testosterone, leading to the conclusion that these may actually help relieve gynecomastia.
But in fact, steroid use is one of the main triggers for male breast enlargement. Whenever you stop taking steroids, you will experience fluctuations in your testosterone levels and a temporary increase in your estrogen levels, thereby leading to fat development in the chest area. Hence, instead of reducing the size of the breasts, steroids will make it worse and make your breasts even bigger.
Furthermore, messing with your hormones is not a wise idea, as this can cause imbalances in your body. Instead of self-medicating with steroids, consult your doctor regarding your gynecomastia concerns.
Myth #6: Exercise, pills, and creams can help get rid of gynecomastia.
Losing weight can definitely reduce fat in the chest and other areas of the body, making it the primary solution for pseudogynecomastia. However, exercise alone will not solve true gynecomastia, since it also involves the overdevelopment of solid breast gland tissues that cannot be gotten rid of no matter how many push-ups or chest flies you make.
In fact, these pectoral muscle exercises may even make your gynecomastia more prominent. Just look at the physique of bodybuilders.
Similarly, pills and creams being marketed as the miracle solution to gynecomastia simply do not work. They are capitalizing on the ignorance of the masses by spreading misinformation and convincing people that their supplements and topical treatments can cure gynecomastia. But the only way to get rid of this problem is through male breast reduction surgery.
Myth #7: There is no solution to man boobs.
Since no amount of exercise, drugs, pills, and creams can get rid of true gynecomastia, many men have resigned themselves to the fact that there is nothing they can ever do to get rid of their man boobs. This can lead to low self-esteem and poor social functioning, as they often get teased because of their appearance. Worse, it can lead to conditions like depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Fortunately, gynecomastia can be solved through a surgery known as male breast reduction. This operation involves the removal of excess fatty tissue, glandular tissue, and skin on the chest to give it a flatter and firmer appearance. Many men with gynecomastia have benefited from the effects of this surgery. In fact, it has been nothing short of life-saving for many of them.
If you are thinking of getting a male breast reduction to finally get rid of your gynecomastia, you first have to know everything you can about this procedure. Drop us a call and Schedule a Free Consultation with one of Face + Body Cosmetic Surgery’s highly experienced and board-certified surgeons and we will do our best to answer your gynecomastia concerns.