Enlarged Breast Tissue In Men (Man Boobs)
Gynecomastia is an enlargement or swelling of breast tissue in males and is most commonly caused by male estrogen levels that are too high and/or testosterone levels that are too low. Gynecomastia affects about 1 in 4 men between the ages of 50 and 80 and although it is not a serious medical condition it worries a lot of men.
Do not feel embarrassed talking to your doctor about low testosterone and gynecomastia because these conditions are common. If you have this problem, you should see your doctor who will do a physical examination of your breasts, abdomen and genitals and blood tests for hormone levels. You may also need a mammogram, computerized tomography (CT) scan of your breasts, testicular ultrasound or breast tissue biopsy. This will determine if the excess breast size is due to breast tissue, fatty tissue, breast cancer or infection.
Many men are embarrassed about having enlarged breasts and thankfully this can be successfully treated with the following:
- Losing weight
- Reducing alcohol intake
- A low carbohydrate-high protein diet
- Abstaining from the use of steroid drugs
- Hormone treatments with Aromatase inhibitor drugs, such as anastrozole (Arimidex)
- Surgery to remove excess breast tissue using liposuction or mastectomy
The male body normally produces both testosterone (male hormone) and estrogen (female hormone), but estrogen is usually found at low levels. If a man’s testosterone levels are low in comparison to oestrogen, larger breasts may develop.
If blood tests show very low levels of testosterone, testosterone therapy using skin creams, skin gels, patches, capsules or injections can be used to increase testosterone levels back to normal. Testosterone therapy can reduce gynecomastia, assist fat burning, build muscle, improve mood, and increase libido.
Gynecomastia and high estrogen levels are much more common in overweight men who have a fatty liver and abdominal obesity. Body fat has an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone into estrogens. When someone has higher estrogen levels in their body, their endocrine system messages the body to slow down its production of testosterone. In liver disease, there is an increased aromatisation of male hormones to estrogen and reduced liver breakdown of estrogens resulting in higher and higher estrogen levels. These high estrogen levels promote enlargement of the breasts.
If we improve the liver function with a low carbohydrate diet and a good liver formula, we can get the liver to break down the excess estrogens and then testosterone production increases naturally. This greatly assists weight loss and reduces the gynecomastia.
Another way to reduce gynecomastia is to block estrogen by consuming cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables contain high amounts of phytochemicals that block estrogen production. Cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, rutabagas, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, collard greens and turnips. Talk to your Weight Loss Detective about improving your liver function.