Man boobs or gynecomastia is essentially breast enlargement in boys/men resulting from a benign increase in the breast tissues. Such condition results from an imbalance in the estrogen and testosterone levels in the male body.
If you too are facing symptoms of man boobs or gynecomastia, you’d be happy to know that this condition can be corrected by bringing your hormone levels back to normal.
Let’s learn how hormonal changes can cause man boobs and the possible solutions for this condition.
Estrogen is the female sex hormone that’s responsible for breast development in girls during the puberty stage of their lives.
An article published a few years ago mentioned that women today have bigger breasts compared to their elders 20 years ago. One of the main reasons behind this is exposure to higher estrogen levels than earlier.
While guys might think that this is something awesome, but if you pause for a moment and think, these high estrogen levels impact men as well.
Yes, that’s right! Such high exposure to estrogen not only causes men to grow man boobs but also impacts their pituitary gland and hypothalamus, resulting in lower testosterone levels, reduced libido, reduced fertility and lower sperm count.
Men might also find it hard to put on muscle mass and lose weight resultantly. On the whole, increasing estrogen level in male bodies is making men more feminine.
While masculinity and man boobs are extremely important for men, there is ample scientific literature available to exactly pinpoint the reasons behind men becoming more feminized these days.
But how can one find out if one’s man boobs are actually caused because of high estrogen levels or something else?
Plenty of studies have been carried out on estrogen and its relation to breast cancer (the third most commonly seen cancer in the world).
The exact same things that make women vulnerable to breast cancer, also increase the chances of man boobs in men.
An important observation in this regard is that breast cancer has been growing world-over ever since the chemical industrialization of the 40s happened.
Regardless of whether you stay in a developing or a developed nation, estrogen, as well as estrogen-like substances (known as xenoestrogens), have become one of the most commonly seen chemicals we’re all exposed to these days.
The multibillion-dollar chemical industry throughout the world has ensured that estrogen is all around us. It’s there in our water supplies, in different types of foods we eat and even in the car exhaust’s fumes (which we inhale through lungs).
The cosmetics people use nowadays, including deodorants, consist of estrogen-like particles easily absorbed by the skin.
Testosterone is one of the most well-known and primary androgens in the human body. Androgens are nothing but the male sex hormones.
It’s testosterone only which causes teenage boys to develop deeper voices as they grow, helps them put on muscle mass and develops hair on their bodies during the puberty stage.
But that’s not the only thing that testosterone does.
Maintenance of right testosterone levels in the body aids fat loss, helps in fighting depression, increases muscle mass, strengthens heart functioning, delays aging, improves libido, improves cognitive functioning, improves the quality of erections and leads to several other important psychological and physical benefits.
Having the right testosterone levels in your body can have a major positive impact on the overall quality of your life.
Low testosterone levels, on the other hand, can lead to the opposite of every benefit listed above.
One of the most commonly seen side effects of low testosterone levels is man boobs, something that’s very undesired by any man.
Why might a man develop gynecomastia if he has insufficient testosterone or too much estrogen in his body?
The testosterone levels in the male body are also closely related to the estrogen levels via hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. The pituitary and hypothalamus belong to the brain while gonads are about testicles.
Whenever there is a rise in estrogen levels in the male body, the testosterone levels automatically go down.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism stated that there has been a significant age-independent depletion in the male serum T concentrations over the past 20 years.
Nowadays, an average male’s testosterone levels are 15% to 50% lower compared to the men of the 60s. It doesn’t come as a surprise considering how male fertility has lowered over the past decade.
Studies have also revealed that the sperm quality and quantity has dropped by as much as 42% and 50% respectively over the past 50 years.
The constantly decreasing testosterone levels and correspondingly increasing estrogen levels are gradually transforming men into women.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that more and more men are developing breasts (gynecomastia) these days!
Whenever the estrogen levels in a male body outweigh the testosterone levels, the person is at a higher risk of developing male breasts.
On the other hand, if you’re someone who leads a healthy and active life, and yet has developed man boobs, you must find out if your hormones are out of balance or not.
Male breast enlargement caused because of hormonal imbalance is referred to as gynecomastia.
For the people who might be wondering how can these hormones go out of balance? – Stress is a major factor that causes the male body to function differently than normal.
It can possibly lead to excessive production of estrogen in the body, and depletion in the testosterone levels.
Not exercising regularly and unhealthy eating habits can also lead to excessive fat deposition in the body. Such excessive fat can lead to hormonal imbalance, which in turn might cause man boobs.
Men who are forced to use steroids because of certain medical conditions are also at the risk of hormonal imbalance.
Such steroids can cause their bodies to retain more fluids, which can then lead to swelling in many body areas, including the chest. Hence, any type of steroids must always be used under doctor’s supervision.
Normal aging is another factor that can throw hormone balance out of whack. Aging slows down the basal metabolic rate and can cause accumulation of fat in different body areas, including the chest.
Furthermore, any such fat deposits are very difficult to get rid of, once they’ve accumulated.
Higher exposure to different types of chemicals is another reason behind hormone imbalance in men.
Many products that we use and consume today have hidden dangers because of the chemicals present in them. These chemicals can cause hormone imbalance and resultantly man boobs.
It’s very much possible for men to develop man boobs despite having normal hormone levels, especially if your breast tissues are sensitive to even normal estrogen levels, or are less sensitive to normal testosterone levels.
Breast sensitivity to estrogen and testosterone changes gradually depending on your environment.
Some of the factors which cause a spike in estrogen levels can also lead to an increase in the breast tissue sensitivity to estrogen. It’s the same with testosterone.
Hence, whenever we refer to the depleting and rising hormone levels, we are also referring to the depleting and rising sensitivity of the breasts to these hormones.
While it’s possible to test the hormone levels in your body, there isn’t any way to test the sensitivity level of your breasts to estrogen or testosterone.
Apart from the imbalance in the hormone levels, the changing sensitivity of the breast to hormones is also an important factor in male breast development, which many guys are totally oblivious of.
Therefore, many men whose hormone levels are normal, have breasts that are highly or less sensitive to estrogen and testosterone respectively, owing to the androgen/estrogen receptor abnormalities.
Such abnormalities can occur due to increased exposure to environmental toxins or can occur from birth owing to excessive hormone exposure via mother’s womb.
While it’s important to be aware of everything mentioned above, don’t get freaked out just yet! There are several things you can do in order to bring your hormone levels back to normal.
For instance, if stress is what’s causing the problem, you can use meditation, yoga and various types of relaxation techniques to reduce your stress levels.
Eating healthy can also have a major impact in bringing your hormones back into balance.
It’s important that you avoid salt-laden, sugary and/or fatty foods. It’s important to include whole grains, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables into your diet.
If at all you need to have fats, opt for healthy fats like olive oil. In addition, don’t ignore your daily water requirement and put at least 48 to 64 ounces of water into your body each day.
Other than these, you must also exercise regularly and include both resistance/strength and cardio training into your daily routine.
Doing this will keep your metabolism in good shape and also help you in getting rid of the extra fat deposit in your chest area.
Please also be cautious about the type of products you use at home. They shouldn’t be laden with dangerous chemicals that can potentially have a negative impact on your body’s hormone levels. Go organic if possible.
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