July 6, 2013 at 9:38 pm #7433
I’ve had a condition since 7th grade known as gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is a hormonal imbalance in men that causes fat or glandular tissue to build up around the nipples. Apparently a lot kids get it when they hit puberty and their hormones are changing, but it usually goes away on its own. Mine never did.
I’ve always ate lots of food my whole life, but I couldn’t (and still can’t) go very long, comfortably, without food. Then, trying to get healthy I tanked my metabolism with various diets that never really made me feel good. No catecholamine honeymoon for me.
I can’t complain too much though, I’m 23, have good energy and I’m feeling better than I have in a while now that I’m eating for heat. Actually a lot of things are getting better now that my metabolism is slowly raising, but I would love to be able to feel comfortable without my shirt on and without people trying to flick my nipples or have random people ask why my nips are so big.
We have had some recent posts that focus on women and their hormones, but I would like to hear more about men and their hormones.July 7, 2013 at 2:24 am #7477Matt StoneKeymaster
Testosterone and estrogen in men is pretty central to this, and also a pretty fascinating research topic as we have a switch (aromatase) that converts male hormones (androgens) into estrogen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aromatase
As someone with gynecomastia you probably already know this basic stuff. The best thing you can do is probably keep on trucking with your metabolism work. Anything that raises metabolic rate is going to trigger a higher ratio of circulating testosterone to estrogen and yield more masculinization. If you are going to see changes in your breast tissue, it will likely come from a big core shift in that department. Whether it’s in the cards for you or not remains to be seen, but I would keep at it. I’ve had clients of mine raise testosterone levels by as much as 1000% just by eating more.
Doing some good weightlifting can help too if you are eating and sleeping adequately for full recovery.July 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm #7524RodzillaParticipant
Some huge, huge percentage of the population has this. Sometimes it comes and goes during puberty, a lot of times it stays. Some cases are more pronounced than others, but you might be surprised to know just how many guys have a buildup of tissue.
Matt mentioned aromatization and bonding of estrogen to the breast tissue, but if it has been there for some time and has not changed, it’s unlikely that it will (for better or worse). Don’t fall into the trap of trying to raise T or lower E with pharmaceuticals, that will only damage your body and/or make the condition worse. A lot of bodybuilders develop gyno while on cycle because the huge influx of exogenous testosterone aromatizes (converts to estrogen) then binds to the estrogen receptor around the nipple. They’ll sometimes try to take care of this by taking selective-estrogen receptor modulators, or anti-aromatase..but those carry a lot of danger, and they don’t have a convincing track record when the tissue has already been formed.
I realize this is a tad cliche, but the feeling comfortable is on you. That won’t come with removal alone, just like getting suprajaktecut for the abzorz won’t bring confidence.
My suggestion would be to work on feeling comfortable first, if it continues to be an issue for you, you can look into surgery, just make sure you find someone who specializes.July 7, 2013 at 7:09 pm #7608
Yeah Matt, that’s what I was thinking too. Once I get my metabolism going good again I’ll see what happens. I haven’t been able to keep my temps consistently in the 98’s, but I’ve been warm and a lot of other factors are getting better and better, so I’m not taking my temp that often.
Rod- Surgery has never been a route that I wanted to go because I don’t think it’s bad enough to get surgery. To deal with it I just don’t go swimming as often, or I usually only take off my shirt when I’m with friends. Also, pharmies aren’t my thing either and I decided a long time ago not to mess around with synthetic hormones. The funny thing is, that my confidence comes and goes, for a couple months they don’t bother me and then they start to bother me again.July 12, 2013 at 9:42 pm #8681
@T Will – I am male, 34 years old, and I’ve had breasts since I was around 10 years old. It took me about 20 years to get to a point where I wasn’t traumatized by my chest. I developed a full-blown eating disorder that lasted just as long that started out as an attempt to starve my chest. So I know how traumatic gynecomastia can be. And, I can confirm in my own experience what Rodzilla said: I had to choose to love myself, cliche and New Agey BS-sounding as that is. It is true. I wish that I would have had the wisdom that I now have when I was a teenager because it would have saved me decades of stress and obsession. The irony is that all the stress and worry actually contributes to hormone problems. So truly, the very best and most important thing you can do is to stop stressing about it and love yourself and your body exactly as you are. Really. Everything good will follow from that. If you love yourself and stop stressing then you will be in a MUCH better position to improve your hormone balance.
With all that said, I honestly believe that Matt is right. I have not done any hormone tests, but based strictly on my personal experience I strongly believe that my own hormonal systems are WAY more balanced since eating enough. I routinely eat ~3500 calorie daily, and my body is happier in every way. My libido is stronger, my drive is stronger, and my emotional balance is way better. I feel way more “manly” than I ever have. I know that’s a very subjective thing, but I feel more virile, more grounded, and stronger. Plus I notice that my body is naturally now more masculine. My muscles are bigger and more defined without any intentional exercise So to be honest, I don’t care much about my gynecomastia these days because I just FEEL good and I have loads of confidence.
If you want other ideas to help balance your hormone levels, I have a few other suggestions: take into consideration so-called xenoestrogens such as pesticides, soy, and plastics. Licorice root and hops (as in beer) both have estrogenic properties that can be rather strong. Ray Peat suggests that raw carrot may improve estrogen metabolism – I don’t know for sure if that is true, but it’s worth considering since it’s inexpensive and available everywhere.
The main thing, though, is don’t let it take over your life. If other people try to make you feel bad about it, then that tells you a lot about them and what sort of friends they are. I wouldn’t want “friends” who would try to make me feel bad about my body.July 13, 2013 at 7:09 pm #8815
Hey thanks for the comment. Thanks for sharing your experience because I haven’t actually met anyone else who also had gynecomastia. Your right too, about just liking myself. 95% of the time I don’t really think about it, but sometimes it just gets to me and I think I blow it out of proportion sometimes. I’ve been eating for heat for about 7 months and I think it’s pretty much downhill from here because my desire to do things is getting stronger and stronger, which is the main thing that I have wanted since I started my health journey.
I also just wanted to bring this topic up because I never hear much about it. Most people don’t know what it is and then some just assume it’s because your overweight or unhealthy. We talk a lot about women and hormones, but unless someone is into bodybuilding, there isn’t much talk about males and hormones.July 13, 2013 at 10:21 pm #8841
@T Will – Thanks for bringing up the topic. It’s an important one. A lot of men and adolescents suffer alone and secretly because of gynecomastia. So many people are made to feel ashamed, which is sad to me. It is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Our bodies, whatever they look like, are amazing. And I would love to see this topic talked about more publicly without the stigma or ridicule that is usually attached to it. It affects A LOT of people – way more than you know.August 11, 2013 at 4:52 pm #11256CodyParticipant
Out of curiosity guys, were either of you fed soy formula as babies?August 12, 2013 at 10:32 am #11300
@Cody – Nope. Breastfed.August 14, 2013 at 9:21 pm #11469
@Cody – Yeah i’m pretty sure I was breastfed.
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