Man Boobs are Not Funny

Good Saturday all - welcome to today's topic - Man Boobs!  It's a potentially hilarious topic of conversation but more seriously, Gynecomastia is the correct terminology to use when talking about a potentially embarrassing but benign enlargement of the breast tissue in men.  There are a number of reasons why this occurs in men, and more than half adolescent boys may develop a temporary enlargement of the breast tissue, which as testosterone levels increase, should reduce as pectoral (chest) muscles develop.  However, in older males, this growth of mammary tissue can spell some other potential health issues relating to prostate health, emotional changes and libido.  It is essentially an issue with oestrogen action in the male body (yes you boys do have oestrogen production going on, but it should be quite low - modern Western diet contribute greatly to alterations in oestrogen production/accumulation in men and women.  It may also be a feature of the ageing process related to relative testosterone reduction combined with muscle tissue wasting.

Other causes of Gynecomastia include:

  1. Metabolic disorders - pituitary hormones and prolactin production, elevated thyroid activity
  2. Dietary excesses - intake of xenoestrogens from plastics, hormone fed animal produce, high carbohydrate diets, consistently high alcohol intake (alcohol can contain phytoestrogens that may contribute).  Increase of chest adipose tissue (fat) can contribute to both the physical appearance of the breast tissue as well as impair testosterone/oestrogen processing
  3. Kidney and liver function alterations - your liver processes oestrogen out to keep levels down - high alcohol intake can impair this process greatly, kidney disease creates relative nutritional changes that affect processing as well
  4. Steroids and xenoestrogens exposure from pesticides, cosmetics (deodorant) and industrial chemicals

What Do you Need to Do?

First, some testing may need to be done to determine the possible causes - particularly if your diet is not laden with commercial junk food and rich in vegetables and hormone free meats.  I usually order the following tests in this situation:

  • Adrenal and reproductive hormone profile (including testosterone)
  • Thyroid hormone profile
  • 2-16 Hydroxy Oestrogen ratio (one is a good oestrogen, the other is not and can indicate other possible issues related to the prostate)

Second, depending on these results - its all about using botanical and nutritional medicine to get those hormones and factors back in balance, a hiatus on alcohol and some liver support will be vital to improve the condition faster and provide some prevention in it returning.  A 6- 8 week focused exercise program for this condition is also recommended and is suggested for each patient depending on their fitness and strength levels - meaning it is tailored. Dietary advice around improving insulin resistance is also highly recommended.

Remember, this condition can create a solid source of emotional distress for a large proportion of men with this condition. Most won't want to talk about it, but the majority want their chesticles gone, so pass it on discreetly if you think this blog (or my program) will help...




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