Gynecomastia or Man-boobs (‘Moobs’) is a real concern for many men. How should one investigate this possibility?
A common misconception is the belief that we are only low in testosterone – not necessarily true! A common reason this condition develops is usually due to an abundance of either or both estradiol (a form of estrogen) or prolactin (a pituitary hormone). These hormones can stimulate breast tissue in men and also cause weight gain, fluid retention and bloating.
- Estradiol develops due to the abundance of an enzyme called aromatase. In men, this enzyme is stored in fatty tissue and converts testosterone to estradiol. Weight loss and a diet rich in zinc can help reduce this enzyme thereby reducing estradiol and preserving testosterone levels.
- Prolactin is produced by the pituitary gland, and in some men can be produced at abnormally high levels. This could be the results of a mass in the pituitary gland called a prolactinoma or microadenoma. Another cause could simply be the overproduction of prolactin from the pituitary gland.
Another condition not well known is Klinefelters syndrome – a random genetic error leading to an extra X chromosome in males also known as XXY. This can also contribute to enhanced breast tissue in males, as a result of decreased testosterone and increased estradiol and/or prolactin. This genetic abnormality can occur in 1:500 males.
At Man Alive we evaluate our patients for these possible abnormalities. Please contact us for an appointment as we look forward to being your partners in health.
Man Alive Team