You notice the profile of a person sitting by the window of shop and you stop and admire the form of this woman’s body. Then when she turns and you get to see her face, you belatedly realize that the woman is actually a man, with breasts. This would be quite an embarrassing situation for both you and the person. I would probably want to melt through the floor until he leaves.
This is a classic example of Gynecomastia. A physical condition afflicts only the male population commonly during puberty. From the Greek words gyne and mastos, it literally means woman-like breasts. In this condition, there is an abnormal enlargement of one or both breasts due to the development of a prominent breast tissue, which may be due to several causes, sometimes leading to a more serious problem or disease in extreme cases.
Hormones play a vital role in causing these “man boobs” to grow. It is regularly seen during puberty, thus also called pubertal hypertrophy. It grows into a disc shaped breast tissue found beneath the areola. It usually remains the same size and frequently disappears spontaneously in an average of a year to two years. Unfortunately, in extreme Gynecomastia cases, the enlargements do no remit. They remain enlarged for a long period to the severe embarrassment and disturbance of the person concerned.
There is still no definite cause for Gynecomastia cases although according to research, it seems that it is brought about by the interplay of hormones in the body. Estrogen is the hormone responsible for the growth of breast mass. It is seen in both men and women, with the latter having the greater amount circulating in the blood. The hormone plays a vital role in the development of certain body parts during puberty in females. In males, it is also present in small amounts since it is normally being inactivated by the liver although testosterone is the dominant hormone present.
Studies show that the increase of estrogen in males plays a role in changing cellular elements in breast tissue. This increase of estrogen may be brought about by the onset of puberty. It is also increased when steroids are being taken to increase body mass of body builders.
With patients suffering from liver cirrhosis and other liver diseases, the estrogen level goes up because it is not being suppressed by the defective liver. Tumors also secrete estrogen into the blood stream, which may also contribute to its increase.
Some drugs prescribed for infections and diseases like prostate cancer, ulcer, antidepressants and some antibiotics may cause an increase in the circulating estrogen. More complicated problems may lead to surgical procedures, especially if the man boobs show extreme cases of Gynecomastia.