What Causes Man Boobs?

man boobs causes

There are a few main causes of gynecomastia, also referred to as ‘man boobs.’ Quick and effective treatment – that is, getting rid of man boobs – depends on understanding what caused them to appear in the first place. This article provides a brief breakdown of the main causes to help you understand what factors in your life might be causing excessive growth of breast tissue in your body.

Hormonal imbalance

Hormone imbalances causing enlargement of breast tissue occur in infants, prepubescent boys and middle-aged-to-older men. In children, mild gynecomastia is a relatively normal result of shifts in hormones, and usually disappears within a few weeks. As an adult male though, the sudden growth of tissues around your nipple area is much more likely to permanent, and much more likely to be caused by an underlying problem that you ought to address. Age, medication, illicit drug use, alcoholism, obesity and serious diseases like hyperthyroidism or tumours can all disrupt the normal ratio of hormones in your body. There are dozens of hormonal mechanisms that can be involved, but essentially anything that causes your body to circulate more oestrogen (a ‘female’ hormone) compared to androgens (male hormones) can cause your breast tissue to enlarge.

Prescription medication

Prescription drugs may be causing your ‘man boobs.’ A long and diverse list of legal market pharmaceuticals are linked to gynecomastia as a side effect. These medications are made to treat everything from ulcers to depression to heart conditions and more. If you suspect that your medication is having this effect, do speak to your GP or specialist as soon as you can. It may be possible in some cases to swap that drug for a different chemical that has the same effect through a different mechanism. In some cases though, when treating testicular cancer for example, the medication is doing your body far more good than harm, and you’re better off accepting small changes to your body in exchange for a longer and healthier life.


Obesity is a double-edged sword. Excess fat is deposited all over your body, including the breast area, leading to the appearance of ‘man boobs’ without actual glandular growth. This type of ‘man boob’ is much easier to treat than true gynecomastia – weight loss, exercise, and skin-toning nutrients should get your chest back in shape without complication. However, the presence of excess fat can also cause androgens to start metabolizing to oestrogen in your body, causing that hormone imbalance we talked about earlier, and leading to stubborn man boobs that a lifestyle change and hard work alone are not going to fix.

Steroid abuse

Many steroidal medications and creams are prescribed for genuine medical conditions, but all steroids can cause an increase of oestrogen. Within a single week of steroid use, you can start to feel sensitivity, tenderness and discomfort around one or both nipples, followed by glandular growth behind the nipple and eventually the beginnings of breasts. Dosage and duration increase the severity, and stopping recreational steroid use – or refusing it the first place – is the only answer.

Treatment options for man boobs

Man boobs are increasingly common – affecting at least 35% of adult males in Australia. The list of causes is long and varies widely, but fortunately treatment is fairly straightforward. The first response should be to work out, with the help of your GP and a specialist if necessary, what has caused them in you. If the cause is a natural part of your body’s healthy, normal physiological processes, you don’t need to worry, but you can use compression shirts to hide their appearance if you like. If you have a severe or increasing case, your medical professional may prescribe a medical treatment to help reduce them, and if they resist that, or if medical treatments are not an option for you (due to another condition or possible interference with other medications), surgery is another option. Once you know what’s causing them, this website has plenty of articles on how you can treat man boobs naturally at home.