Possible Reasons for the Increasing Prevalence of Gynecomastia

by | Last updated on May 15, 2024 | Published on Jun 12, 2019 | Gynecomastia /Male Breast Reduction

Today, more and more men are opting to have plastic surgery to achieve or maintain a fit, attractive appearance. Gynecomastia treatment is a surgical procedure that corrects enlarged male breasts, a condition that is typically caused by an imbalance of hormones – higher estrogen levels than testosterone. Gynecomastia treatment in NYC is a customized procedure designed to help men achieve a natural looking, masculine chest. NYC plastic surgeons perform male breast reduction surgery using the state-of-the-art laser-assisted Smartlipo Triplex workstation.

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What is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a condition that causes male breast tissue enlargement. The National Institute of Health estimates that 65% of men have some amount of gynecomastia. Gynecomastia surgery, often known as male breast reduction, can remove this extra breast tissue to give the chest a flatter, manly appearance. Gynecomastia can occur at any age and is usually triggered by hormonal changes as well by certain medical conditions, drugs, and genetics.


Reasons for Rise in the Prevalence of Gynecomastia

According to an article published by The Good Men Project, the rising prevalence of gynecomastia seems to be linked to the gradual decline of testosterone in men since the 1970s and ’80s. The article identifies several reasons for low testosterone in men:

  • Bisphenol A or BPA: This is a chemical that is widely used to harden plastics such as food contact materials, toys, and other products.  BPA is harmful and can act as a hormone in the body by affecting your normal hormone levels and your genes. The biggest risks are changes in hormone levels that interrupt development in fetuses, infants, and young children. Research is currently being done on this risk. To lower your risk of BPA exposure and gynecomastia:
    • Use BPA-free products
    • Store food in glass, steel or porcelain containers and avoid plastic containers.
    • Don’t ever microwave your food in a BPA plastic as the heat causes the BPA to “bleed” out onto food.
    • Eat less canned food and more fresh food
  • Soy Products: Though soy products are considered healthy, there seems to be a widespread belief that drinking soy milk or eating tofu will lead to gynecomastia. A study published in The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) journal reported an unusual case of gynecomastia associated with soy product consumption. A 60-year-old man was referred to the endocrinology clinic for evaluation with overdeveloped breasts, erectile dysfunction and very low libido. He reported no changes in testicular size, no history of testicular trauma, no sexually transmitted diseases, no headaches, no visual changes, and no change in muscular mass or strength. The results of his lab tests were normal. When the patient was interviewed again, he mentioned that he took 3 quarts of soy milk every day. After he stopped soy milk consumption, his breast tenderness resolved slowly and returned to normal. There is nothing wrong with eating a certain amount of soy per day. In fact, some types of soy have benefits like lowering the risk of prostate cancer, improving heart health, etc. However, one study found that the lectins found in soy play a role in gynecomastia development in adolescents (goodmenproject.com). Experts say that if your body can tolerate it, fermented soy would be a better option than GMO soy.
  • Health conditions: Health conditions that cause hormonal changes such as hypogonadism, aging, hyperthyroidism, tumors, liver/kidney failure and nutritional deficiencies can trigger male breast enlargement. The use of lavender-scented soap and skin lotions, shampoos, or styling products that contain tree oil and lavender oil is also linked to gynecomastia.
  • Alcohol: Low testosterone levels in men can sometimes lead to gynecomastia condition, or the development of larger breasts. The Good Men Project article mentions a study which found that just having two alcoholic drinks per day can lower testosterone levels. The hops in beer contain estrogen which can cause beer gut and man boobs as well.
  • Medications: Medications that lead to swelling of breast tissue in men include anti-androgens used to treat prostate enlargement, prostate cancer and some other conditions, anabolic steroids and androgens, HIV medications, anti-anxiety medications, tricyclic antidepressants, antibiotics, cancer treatment, heart medications, and gastric motility medications. Gynecomastia can be also caused by substances such as amphetamines, marijuana, heroin and methadone.
  • Certain herbal remedies: Herbal products, such as oils made from tea tree or lavender, might also result in gynecomastia. Because these products have relatively little estrogenic activity, researchers think that their extended and heavy usage may cause male breast enlargement. The use of lavender-scented soap and skin lotions, shampoos, or styling products that contain tree oil and lavender oil is also linked to gynecomastia.
  • Liver related problems: Unbalances in your estrogen-testosterone ratio might result from liver illnesses. According to the American Cancer Society, men with liver disease can also have a higher chance of developing gynecomastia,
  • Managing kidney failure: Due to reduced testosterone production and the potential for testicular injury from uremia, men with kidney failure may experience hormonal dysfunction. These disorders have the potential to result in gynecomastia in addition to the malnourishment that kidney failure brings.
  • Tumors or other health condition: Some tumors can produce hormones that upset the delicate male-female hormone balance. Examples of these tumors are those connected to your pituitary, adrenal, or testicular tissues. Gynecomastia may develop in you due to these hormonal imbalances. Additionally, hyperthyroidism and hypogonadism may also cause this condition.
  • Marijuana and other drugs: Numerous recreational substances have been connected in studies to enlarged breasts in men. Amphetamines, heroin, methadone, and marijuana are some of these substances. You are usually not a good candidate for male breast reduction treatment if you consume these medications and using these substances continuously makes your condition worse.
Considering gynecomastia?

Read our post: How to Prepare for Gynecomastia Treatment in Manhattan.

Leading AAAASF-accredited plastic surgery facilities offer gynecomastia treatment in NYC by qualified and experienced plastic surgeons. Expert plastic surgeons can help men achieve a flatter, firmer masculine-looking chest using the latest techniques.

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