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I'm a guy and I seem to be growing tits, how do I make this stop?
September 25, 2007 8:38 AM   Subscribe

I'm a guy and I seem to be growing tits, how do I make this stop?

I'm in my mid twenties, male, 5'8" 152lbs as of two weeks ago and not taking any unusual medications. I lead a sedentary life style, which is probably part of the problem, and I'm about 15lbs heavier than I was this time last year. I quit smoking, you see. What worries me is where the extra fat has been deposited especially since the last five or so pounds seem to have gone to form rather unattractive breasts. Not large but they cast a shadow on my stomach and I've been with at least one girl with a flatter chest than the one I now sport. What can I do to reverse this growth? I took off five pounds a few months ago, regained it since, but when I dropped the weight it didn't seem to resolve the issue. If I do push ups I'll just tone my chest, won't I? Not remove the fat. Short of surgery what can I do? Are there particular foods that might account for this growth? Estrogen in the drinking water? Are there molds or chemicals or laundry detergents? I live in a shit hole apartment, could lead paint give a man pronounced buds?

Sorry for the crudity of my posting style, the subject matter brings it out in me.

Please help, this is getting worrying and slightly embarrassing.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (35 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Some guys just store fat there, and become, in the words of my friend Tod, "pointy".

You can lose weight overall, but as many people will chime in to say, you can't target specific areas for weight loss.

I see ads for surgical procedures to correct this in the Village Voice all the time, so if you have the means, you may want to have a consultation with a specialist to see if they have a recommendation.
posted by hermitosis at 8:49 AM on September 25, 2007


There are physicians called Endocrinologist who deal with disorders of the endocrine system and hormones. You should see one soon.
posted by OlderThanTOS at 8:51 AM on September 25, 2007


You're growing tits because you are overweight. In fact, you might even say that you are FAT. There are only two ways to remove the weight.

1) eat less and eat better.
2) live a less sedentary life.
3) work out.


for 1) eat less fatty foods and eat foods that increase your metabolism. Also eat less than you are and learn how to leave food on your plate. When you're hungry, drink some water. If you're still hungry 20 minutes after that, eat something. Eat more fruit, veggies, etc. Eat less processed food. Learn to cook.

For 2). GO OUTSIDE. go for walks; walk to work if you can, take evening walks around the block, walk your neighbor's dog, walk your neighbor's cat, walk your cat. Take up a hobby that requires you to go outside and walk around. Turn off the tv, turn off the computer, learn that it's okay to see the sun. Get a tan.

For 3). Join a gym, do aerobics that burn fat such as jump on the stationary bike or the treadmill. Run a lot. Drink a lot of water. Lift weights and tone muscle (it helps burn fat). Number 3 will help with 2.

You're not magically growing boobs because of something in the water or some disease or anything else. You're 15 lbs heavier than before and those 15 lbs went to your chest and stomach. Lose that weight, tone up, and you'll be breastless.
posted by Stynxno at 8:54 AM on September 25, 2007


If you smoke pot, quit.
posted by OmieWise at 8:54 AM on September 25, 2007


Along with what the others have said, have you considered decline bench press exercises (both barbell and dumbbell), chest dips, decline flyes and cable crossovers? Here's a list you can start with.

Of course you'd want to work all parts of the chest, so include incline and flatbench exercises. I'd also highly recommend supplementing with creatine and whey protein to accelerate growth (and drink lots of water). Exercise the chest twice a week (say on Monday and then on Friday).
posted by JaySunSee at 8:55 AM on September 25, 2007


Pot doesn't have anything to do with it.
I'm a heavy smoker and I don't have man tits.

One thing to look out for is estrogen. It seems like styrofoam and soy-based drinks contain estrogen and can cause males to grow tits. Also the obvious: Fat.
posted by PowerCat at 8:56 AM on September 25, 2007


There's a hell of a lot of female hormones in animals raised for slaughter - I would be willing to bet that you eat a fair amount of meat, and if you do, try cutting back on that.
posted by minifig at 9:10 AM on September 25, 2007


1) Check out an endocrinologist--could be a hormonal issue.
2) Your stats indicate you're within normal weight ranges, but it's probable you don't have a lot of muscle mass. You need to work on building muscle mass and dropping body fat. A friend of mine also has small man-tits. They are now disappearing rapidly in size as he's worked out more. Not just because he's cutting fat--though he is--but what fat is left is being stretched across the pec muscle as it gets bigger.
posted by schroedinger at 9:14 AM on September 25, 2007


wtf, Omiewise? Show me a study linking marijuana to male breasts. That's totally pulled out of your ass.

2nding exercise your pecs; they're just turning into flab up because you're not using them.
posted by tehloki at 9:16 AM on September 25, 2007


You're growing tits because you are overweight. In fact, you might even say that you are FAT.

5'8", 152 lbs is hardly fat. That's a BMI of 23.1, well within normal. I know BMI's not a perfect indicator, but it's not bad for ballparking.
posted by COBRA! at 9:17 AM on September 25, 2007


Read up on gynecomastia. It's more likely what you have is just associated with weight gain (pseudogynecomastia from the Wikipedia article) since gynecomastia is rare in mid-20s adults. In that case, you probably just have an unfortunate distribution for fat storage and need to watch your weight. But it's possible the main cause or at least contributing cause has something to do with medications, environmental contaminants, or food sources (xenoestrogens and/or phytoestrogens). Cut out all unfermented soy products and avoid any food or drink stored in plastic containers.
posted by Durin's Bane at 9:18 AM on September 25, 2007


Re: marijuana and gynecomastia. This has been studied and apparently the relationship is doubtful.
posted by exogenous at 9:28 AM on September 25, 2007


Pot smoking can occasionally result in lactation-type behavior in men. This article points out other drugs that can cause that sort of reaction. So, if you notice any nipple discharge, I'd investigate that. If not, look into what other people hve sad.
posted by jessamyn at 9:31 AM on September 25, 2007


"wtf, Omiewise? Show me a study linking marijuana to male breasts. That's totally pulled out of your ass.

2nding exercise your pecs; they're just turning into flab up because you're not using them."

Nope. It's not [completely] a myth.
posted by Autarky at 9:46 AM on September 25, 2007


If you eat meat, look out for junk they put in the cows. If you're a vegetarian, watch out for all the soy (tofu, soy milk, etc). It's estrogumptious. But don't hate. Tons of guys have mantits. Why do you think they invented the bro?
posted by history is a weapon at 9:49 AM on September 25, 2007


Typically, gynecomastia shows up during puberty so my bet would also be on weight-gain related issues. Even so, if you go to see a doctor, make sure they do blood work to see if you're having estrorgen/androgen-relates issues.
posted by jmd82 at 9:50 AM on September 25, 2007


The only thing you can do is to lose weight. You can't 'target' your pecs for weight loss. Drop 15 pounds or so and those man-tits should disappear.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:50 AM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Endocrinologist.
posted by radioamy at 10:08 AM on September 25, 2007


Here is a recent and detailed article from the NYTimes on gynecomastia and its impact on young men.
posted by Forktine at 10:39 AM on September 25, 2007


If on the off chance you use any lotions or soaps that have either tea tree oil or lavender in them, stop.
posted by buka at 10:47 AM on September 25, 2007


Using lavender and tea tree oil products can cause young boys to develop breast tissue, a study finds.

Based on a write up in the NEJM about all of 3 boys, but still.
posted by buka at 10:52 AM on September 25, 2007


there's a physiological difference between "tits" and fat. i think you should see a doctor to figure out which you're growing.
posted by mpls2 at 10:53 AM on September 25, 2007


Lay off the McDonald's, and DONT just exercise your pecs. That won't make the flab go away. Start doing some intense cardio. Jogging, bike riding. Not swimming.
posted by lain at 10:57 AM on September 25, 2007


If you think your breast growth is out of proportion to your overall weight gain, you should definitely go see a doctor. I once knew a guy, a slender-but-going-to-seed young man of the tender age of twenty-two, who started growing tits; his doctor told him to stop eating eggs (he was eating a dozen a day and nothing else, lazy fucker) and take some anti-hooter medicine. Er, IANAD.
posted by hot soup girl at 11:29 AM on September 25, 2007


I'm surprised that no one has mentioned heavy alcohol drinking, which is probably the most common cause of gynecomastia.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:30 AM on September 25, 2007


Go see a doctor. Now. Ignore all the other advice. They may be right, may be wrong but you (and us internet doctors) don't know for sure. If it is an endocrine thing you need to nip it in the bud (pun intended) since breast development isn't easy to reverse. If it's just fat, you can fix it but you better make sure you know.

Time spent on hair-brained projects is time the breasts (if real) have time to grow.
posted by chairface at 11:43 AM on September 25, 2007


Maybe it's meat. Maybe it's pot. Maybe it's soy. Maybe it's tea tree oil. Maybe it's steroids. Maybe it's sloth. Maybe it's electromagnetic fields. This might happen for fifty different reasons in fifty different people. That's why to tackle it effectively you need to see a doctor.

I don't think--keeping in mind that what I think should make zero impact since I don't know anything--that it can be related to weight gain or sedentary lifestyle because it seems to have come on relatively quickly. Muscle doesn't turn to flab or vice versa, so you're right that pushups will be a waste of time. Mid-twenties is too late for it to be pubertal, and if you were overweight enough for that to be the cause, the breasts would blend in with the overall torso padding. 5' 8" and 152 is not fat, which is why they're striking. Sounds like something the mechanic would ask you to bring by: somebody needs to look under the hood, here. But sure, why not do pushups, throw away your manmollients, go jogging, and eschew pot and soy--you might as well, none of that will hurt you. If you want to get rid of this, though, you best find out what it is.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:43 AM on September 25, 2007


Estrogen in the drinking water?

Probably not in the water. How much beer do you drink? I have read that the hops in beer (like the tofu mentioned upthread) is high in estrogen or a similar chemical. A quick googling reveals a lot of info on the subject from various sources.
posted by lekvar at 12:43 PM on September 25, 2007


Chiming to say that there is no benefit to chest exercises. Google "spot reduction myth."

In fact, if you don't alter your diet for fat loss, you might look worse as your man-boobs perch atop your growing pecs.

Eat less, cut out the alcohol, if problem persists see a doctor.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:49 PM on September 25, 2007


Hmmm, I'm thinking now.

I'm just over 5' 8" and weigh about 180. There is a hint of chest flab because I'm a wee bit tubby just now. However, they do not "cast a shadow" neither do I give them a second's thought.

I haven't been 150 in 10 years or more, but when I was, I had a six pack and prominent veins and not a hint of breast.

If yours cast a shadow on your stomach and could be big enough for a girl, then you have something more than flab going on. I'd go to a doctor first, and implement the eat right/live right plan AFTER I'd been told it was nothing to worry about.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:55 PM on September 25, 2007


See a doctor.

One more voice saying that 5'8":152 lbs is a perfectly good height:weight ratio. Yes, I've read that some studies suggest pot-smoking exacerbates this. Not a bad idea to quit for a while. Getting in shape will make you feel better, and help reduce the breasts, which you already knew. Drinking less will help, too.

Soy and other plants do have plant versions of estrogen. Plastics may mimic estrogen. Commercial beef and chicken may contain hormones and antibiotics. Milk may have rBGH. Try swearing off plastic food containers, plastic wrap, styrofoam cups, etc. It's not that hard, and coffee tastes so much worse in styro cups. Cut down on the commercial beef & chicken if you can. See if there's a local dairy with hormone-free milk.

All this advice is stuff that won't hurt you, might be a little more earth-friendly, etc. But do see a doctor.
posted by theora55 at 3:32 PM on September 25, 2007


Growing your pecs doesn't seem like it would make the moobs turn from flab to fab. It might just push them out more. If the tits are composed of fat, you can't just transform the fat in that one particular part of your body into muscle. You'll have to lose more weight, but you aren't overweight.
posted by HotPatatta at 5:21 PM on September 25, 2007


There's a chapter in this book which explains male hormones and according to it, the development of male breasts is due to fat cells converting more testosterone to estrogen than usual (it's normal for SOME testosterone to be converted to estrogen, but gaining body fat increases the frequency for which this happens).

From the book: "Progressive increase in body fat in a man tends to lock in an abnormal estrogen production, thus keeping testosterone depressed. This is caused by the activity of the aromatase enzyme inside fat cells."

It goes to say that as a man gets fatter, the aromatase enzyme creates an even greater imbalance of estrogen and testosterone in the body, creating the dreaded manboobs, or moobs for short.

The book suggests green tea as a powerful aromatase enzyme inhibitor, but basically losing body fat would also help a great deal in normalizing your hormone balance.

So in conclusion, lack of testosterone = moobs.
posted by zippity at 8:23 PM on September 25, 2007


Oh, and IANAM (I am not a man) so I have no personal experience with moobs, or how to get rid of them. Best of luck to you. And seriously, feel free to email me if you need more information.
posted by zippity at 8:27 PM on September 25, 2007


Another thing: if you haven't been doing so, you should probably be avoiding soy food products.
posted by zippity at 12:11 PM on September 26, 2007


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