Going braless isn’t easy. If you have larger breasts, you know that running, jumping rope or going horseback riding is out of the question without a bra. Even some men can agree.
Yep. Men also have breasts. Man boobs, or “gynaecomastia” occurs when a man’s breast tissue develops like it does for women and it is actually more common than most people think according to Mayo Clinic.
The cause of man boobs in a male is a hormone imbalance, when the ratio of estrogen to testosterone is more like that of women. For those who have “man boobs” and want to know more about it, keep on reading because we’re here for some extra support.
Table of Contents
What Are “Man Boobs?”
When defining “man boobs”, it is important to understand the two forms that exist.
Firstly, there is true “gynaecomastia”, which is a hormone-related enlargement of breast tissue. Gynaecomastia is characterized by swollen breast gland tissue and tenderness and Mayo Clinic cites the cause of gynaecomastia as being the enlargement of breast tissue in the male chest due to hormonal imbalances. In fact, the most common cause of gynaecomastia is a hormonal imbalance that leads to estrogen levels going up and/or testosterone levels going down.
Then there is “pseudogynecomastia” and this is when breasts become enlarged due to a high body fat percentage.
Pseudogynaecomastia stems from obesity and it occurs when one’s weight fluctuates thus causing an increase in fat deposits and not the gland tissue. Evidently, simply maintaining a balanced diet with regular exercise could help with preventing pseudogynaecomastia. As for gynaecomastia, some may feel that they have no control over it. However, there are actually preventative measures that one can take to avoid both of these conditions.
The Role of Hormones
Hormones are regulated in the body by the Hypothalamic-Pituitary axis, also known as the H-P axis, which is responsible for the majority of the hormones in the body. Three glands are involved in these interactions and they are the adrenal gland near the kidneys and the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain.
Unfortunately, there are numerous factors that can cause the H-P axis to function irregularly. Some of these factors include: excessive alcohol consumption, toxin exposure, drug abuse, stress and obesity. Fortunately, individuals have control over these factors and can prevent hormonal irregularities.
How to Keep Your Hormones In Check
Firstly, it is important to consistently eat whole foods, limit processed foods and drink water. Excessive consumption of processed foods has been linked to numerous diseases including: obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, anxiety, depression and sexual dysfunction.
One can avoid these diseases by following a whole food diet rich in vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. Eating healthy and staying hydrated is a sure way to keep the body in homeostasis, which means a lower risk of hormonal imbalances, obesity and in turn, pseudogynaecomastia and gynaecomastia.
Treatment for “Man Boobs”
In order to find out if you have gynaecomastia or pseudogynaecomastia, consult your healthcare professional. Usually, they will perform a clinical breast examination, order blood work or order diagnostic imagery.
As stated before, gynaecomastia is caused by hormonal imbalances and it can somewhat be prevented through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
However, due to the increase in size of the gland tissue and not fat tissue in the breast, it is not possible to utilize diet and exercise alone to treat gynaecomastia.
For those who have gynaecomastia, the main treatment option is a mastectomy. Despite not being able to treat this condition without the help of medical intervention, one can still follow a healthier lifestyle to avoid worsening their gynaecomastia or risk for other diseases.
In contrast, individuals with pseudogynaecomastia have more options when treating this condition.
Fortunately, those with pseudogynaecomastia can adopt a healthier lifestyle by monitoring their food intake while consistently exercising. A healthier diet allows the body to function more efficiently and also sustains regular bodily functions. This can also be enhanced by staying regularly hydrated with water and limiting consumption of drinks high in sugar or alcohol content.
In addition to a healthy diet and staying sufficiently hydrated, regular exercise can help those with pseudogynaecomastia.
When exercising, individuals with pseudogynaecomastia should prioritize strength training over cardio training to avoid chafing and build more lean muscle mass. Overall, it is in one’s best interest to pursue a healthy lifestyle complete with a whole food diet and regular exercise while limiting intake of alcohol and processed foods to avoid pseudogynaecomastia and worsening gynaecomastia.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, having breasts isn’t easy. Many believe that solely women can attest to this, but there are also men that can agree. Studies show that gynaecomastia is a result of hormonal imbalances in middle-aged men and it may be caused by an underlying health problem or the use of a drug. Treatment for this condition requires consultation from a healthcare professional and potential medical intervention.
Contrary to gynaecomastia, pseudogynaecomastia occurs as a result of increased fat deposits in the breasts, not hormonal imbalances. Fortunately, those who have pseudogynaecomastia can follow a healthier lifestyle to treat their condition. By eating whole foods, regularly exercising and staying hydrated, these individuals can decrease the size of fat deposits in the breasts.
Having gynaecomastia or pseudogynaecomastia might be awkward and uncomfortable. Luckily there are solutions for both conditions, and I guarantee you that it isn’t as uncomfortable as getting stabbed by an underwire from a bra.
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