Not only women can have breasts. Breasts also occur regularly in men, especially during puberty or adolescence. This is often a huge source of shame that can cause all kinds of obstacles in daily life. Breast formation and swollen nipples can also cause nasty pain.
Many men hardly dare to talk about the problem, which of course does not improve the situation. Fortunately, there is always something to do! We are discussing today where the problem actually comes from, and how it can be resolved.
What is gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is the scientific term for breast formation in men. This occurs in all shapes and sizes, from small bumps of tissue to full-grown breasts. It mainly happens in young people up to 25 years of age, and in men older than 50. Fortunately, it is usually not dangerous – but that does not mean that it can not be very annoying!
The formation of breasts has to do with fluctuations in the hormone levels. These can be caused by external factors such as medication, supplements or steroids. However, men can also suffer from gynecomastia without a clear reason. The reason for this is that the hormone system can also change significantly in different stages of life.
Testosterone and estrogen
Breast formation takes place under the influence of the ‘female’ hormone estrogen . Normally men do not care so much about it, so they do not get breasts. Certainly in puberty, however, that can (temporarily) change. A part of the testosterone in your body is then converted into estrogen. This happens even more with overweight boys, because fat also produces estrogen.
Elderly men can also suffer from estrogen dominance. After all, they make less testosterone, so that estrogen quickly gains the upper hand. Extreme stress has a similar effect in men of all ages. Finally, medicines and supplements can sometimes have an effect on the production of estrogen.
What to do against gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia can have a lot of causes, in other words. To find the solution to the problem, you will usually first have to determine where it comes from. For boys who suffer from breast growth in their adolescence, there is good news: usually it goes automatically. After a period, the breast tissue disappears again.
If you are older, it is unfortunately a bit less straightforward. When using medicines or other hormone-controlling agents, it may be wise to see if there are alternatives. In addition, increasing testosterone reduces male breast, just like losing weight in the case of overweight. If that does not help, the excess breast tissue can be surgically removed.
Difference gynecomastia and swollen nipples
Gynecomastia is certainly not unusual in men. More often ‘swollen’ nipples occur. That is not quite the same as gynecomastia, because no breast tissue is produced around the nipples. The gland system does not develop with swollen nipples, which is what it does in gynecomastia.
Instead, the nipples simply retain more moisture and fat, resulting in a visible expulsion. However, this can also be quite severe! Many men with swollen nipples are ashamed, for example, to go swimming or have sex.