The term gynecomastia (commonly man boobs) indicates the development of abnormal breasts in men or boys. The resulting swelling of the chest gives the chest a typically female aspect.
This similarity creates in most cases important psychological repercussions. Generally difficult living with this disease results in affected social and sexual sphere, the problem is so great that the number of males who have undergone surgery to in recent years has greatly increased.
Gynecomastia: Causes and Classification
The causes of man boobs are numerous, among the major there are those genetic, hormonal, pharmacological and those dependent on other conditions. According to its origin gynecomastia is classified as:
- Pubertal gynecomastia is a physiological process that takes place at puberty (12-17 years) when the intense production of hormones cause an excessive development of mammary glands. This phenomenon usually lasts a couple of years, meanwhile most teenagers opt to hide man boobs.
- Congenital gynecomastia The primary cause is hormonal inbalance, that may be genetic
- Induced gynecomastia: in these cases, the causes lie in taking certain medications that can compromise the natural hormonal function.
Depending on the cause, gynecomastia can be classified as:
- True gynecomastia: the increase in volume of the breast is caused by the increase in glandular component
- False gynecomastia: the increase in volume of the breast is caused by increased fatty tissue in the mammary
- Mixed gynecomastia: the increase in volume of the breast is caused by the interaction of the two factors above
Gyecomastia may be unilateral or bilateral and it is manifested initially with increased sensitivity and onset of painful swelling under the nipple area. Later, a further swelling occurs, associated with the deposition of fatty tissue and increase in glandular tissue. The diagnosis is made through simple palpation; anyhow with an ultrasound scan of the chest is able to settle any doubt whether it is false or true gynecomastia.
Man Boobs and Hormone
As written above, the main responsible of this disease is the altered hormonal balance. In particular, this creates an imbalance in the metabolism of testosterone and estrogen in favor of the latter. The increase in estrogen and / or the body’s sensitivity to them can occur for:
- Excess testosterone: It occurs naturally in puberty (pubertal gynecomastia), or “artificially” after taking anabolic steroids. The body tries to protect itself from the excess of androgens converting an amount into estrogens, typically female hormones responsible for the breast development among other feminine characteristics.
- Excess estrogen: occurs naturally (for genetic predisposition) or due to promoting substances such as drugs, pesticides and other contaminants.