What is gynecomastia or man boobs?
Enlarged breast in men, also called gynecomastia, is swelling of the breast tissue caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. One or both breasts can be affected, sometimes unevenly. Boys in puberty and older men can sometimes develop gynecomastia due to normal changes in hormone levels. Seventy percent of boys get it during puberty.
Middle-aged and older men can experience the condition, either due to ageing (which shifts hormone levels) or by using certain types of medications, including:
- Heart medication
- AIDS treatment
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Heart burn medication
In addition it can be caused by marijuana, heroin, amphetamines and steroids, as well as too much alcohol.
Gynecomastia is normally not a serious health problem, but it might be a good idea to check with your regular doctor if you've experienced any pain, discharge or changes in your nipple size. Gynecomastia caused by breast cancer is rare.
Normally those with gynecomastia don't need any specialist medical treatment. If your gynecomastia is caused by medication, you'll see an improvement when you stop or switch to another type of medication. Teenage boy's breasts will go back to a more normal shape on their own within 2-3 years.
If the condition doesn't go away and you're uncomfortable with your chest, there are a few options available:
- Surgery: This can restore the shape of your chest and improve your self-image. After making a small cut, a plastic surgeon removes any extra breast tissue. Because your breast will then become smaller and flatter, he may also need to reposition the nipple or areola (the dark area around it). Some guys get liposuction, too. That’s where the doctor suctions out extra fat under the skin.
- Medication: Your doctor might prescribe medication that reduces the amount of estrogen in your body.
- Compression vests or Compression shirts: These are specialist garments created to compress the chest so it appears firm and flat. In other words, the special compression layers inside the compression vest or compression shirt will flatten your man boobs and holde your chest in place, giving you a firm and masculine look while you're wearing the compression shirt.
Compression vests and shirts - are there any differences between them?
There is a vast difference in the quality and effect these type of garments can offer. Less expensive types often lack the strength that's necessary to achieve the desired effect due to cheaper, thinner fabric. The really powerful compression vests and shirts are made from strong, high quality fabric that's "built" to last with the best possible effect. The high end of these compression garments are also more comfortable to wear due to the design, the cut and the amount of good quality fabric in each garment.