Just like women, guys have little control over how big their chest is going to get. Ideally, your chest would be nothing but rock hard muscle. But at least 30 percent of guys will grow a set of “man boobs” at some point during their life, according to a study in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Technically called gynecomastia, a full chest on a man comes from benign swelling of breast tissue typically caused by an imbalance in hormones. Guys most often become well-endowed at times when hormones are in natural flux, like during puberty or old age (likelihood for gynecomastia starts going up around 50). But, depending on the cause, man boobs can perk up at any age.
Risks of gynecomastia for men
While gynecomastia can be uncomfortable, it doesn’t put your physical health at risk too much. But there is a definite psychological toll it can take. Many guys with gynecomastia suffer from self-confidence issues and can often isolate themselves because they feel it’s unsightly and embarrassing.
Depending on the cause there can be problems with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and social phobias. In fact, even though guys who have man boobs around are more likely to be overweight, they feel more distress over the weight in their chest than their overall weight, according to Men’s Fitness.
What causes gynecomastia?
In some cases, man boobs stem from overall obesity, known as pseudogynecomastia, in which bigger boobs are from fat deposits and not enlargement of the actual breast glands.
But the most common cause of gynecomastia is a hormonal imbalance that leads to your estrogen levels going up and/or testosterone levels going down.
How to get rid of man-boobs
1. Check with your doc:
First step is to see a doctor who regularly manages this kind of issue to understand what the initiating factors are. Your doc will take a thorough history, do an exam, and likely run a few tests including blood samples and breast imaging to determine what exactly causes your knockers to grow.
2. Clean up your diet:
While it is a myth that eating soy will increase oestrogen and puff your chest pillows, food can definitely contribute to fat storage and mess with your hormone balance enough to exacerbate the problem.
3. Score better sleep:
Racking up a solid eight hours is crucial to healthy hormone production. The less you sleep in a night, the less testosterone your body is able to produce. Plus, inadequate sleep is linked to higher steroid use and obesity—both of which are risk factors for gynecomastia.
4. Hit the gym:
According to a study in UK, advice on diet and exercise may be sufficient to reduce a mild case of man boobs. While you may think you need to go cardio-crazy, it may be best to focus on building muscle rather than burning fat.
5. Check your meds:
Your bigger boobs could be a result of medications you’re taking. Opioids, certain antidepressants, benzodiazepines, statins, amphetamines, androgen blockers, even marijuana all have the potential to mess with your hormones in a way that can deliver a bigger size to your chest.