Gynecomastia: Busting 4 Myths

Gynecomastia (guy-nuh-koh-MAS-tee-uh), sometimes referred to as ‘man boobs’, is a common condition that makes breast tissue swell in boys and men. It is generally created by a higher percentage of estrogen that causes your pre-existing breast tissue to swell. Although it may sound like your typical locker room joke, gynecomastia affects more than 30% of men at some point during their lives. Because of the anxiety, embarrassment and psychosocial discomfort that it can cause, patients often seek medical attention, whether this may be for health concerns or for cosmetic reasons.

As common as the condition may be, there is still a lot of misconceptions surrounding gynecomastia in men. Because of these misconceptions, many men may feel that they blame themselves for the appearance of their chest, are embarrassed about it, or simply blame their genes. For these reasons, men sometimes tend to assume that they are stuck with a chest they’re unhappy with.

However, us here at Dr John are here to enlighten you with some myth-busting facts about gynecomastia!

Myth #1: Gynecomastia is only caused by being overweight

It’s not true that only men who are overweight can develop gynecomastia. Although there are definitely cases where excess fat can make a man’s breasts look larger, gynecomastia begins in the glandular tissue in the breast. If you are overweight, this can certainly emphasise the size of the gynecomastia, but it is not the sole reason for it.

Myth #2: Increasing testosterone helps the hormone imbalance

Many people think that if they use steroids, they will reduce the appearance of gynecomastia, because gynecomastia is triggered by a decrease in the amount of the testosterone, compared with estrogen. However, this is not correct. Instead, increasing your testosterone levels actually makes the effects of gynecomastia worse. This is because with certain steroids, the medication is converted into estrogen in the body – the hormone that causes the enlarging of the breast.

Myth #3: Gynecomastia can be corrected through exercise

As previously noted, being overweight can sometimes make the appearance of your gynecomastia worse, as the fat is sitting on top of your already enlarged breast tissue. However, if you find that you are not overweight, and you find that your weight loss efforts haven’t worked to reduce the appearance of your chest, this is because you aren’t able to burn off breast tissue – only fat. On top of this, weight training may also worsen the appearance of gynecomastia, as muscle sits on top of the breast tissue, making it look bigger.

Myth #4: Gynecomastia is genetic

Generally, genetic causes of gynecomastia aren’t common, with the main exception being a fairly rare genetic disorder called Klinefelter syndrome, which effects one in every 550 males.

Need help?

Are you fed up with the appearance of your chest, and are looking for a solution? Dr John is the king of gynecomastia surgery, having done countless procedures, and is the talented hands behind many life-changing results. View his work here and contact us if you’d like to inquire about more!


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