Man boobs, known medically as gynaecomastia, is thought to affect 30% of men post-puberty, although is much more common in men over the age of 50 – the reported prevalence is up to 70% due to the general decline in testosterone levels.
For all those using this lockdown to really commit to their health and fitness resolutions this January, is it possible to get rid of moobs without surgery?
What causes puffy nipples?
Puffy nipples are usually seen in men who have gynecomastia. But men can also get puffy nipples due to other reasons. These include changes in testosterone levels, excessive fat, anabolic steroid use, medications and certain foods (such as processed food or beer).
How to get rid of puffy nipples
Puffy nipples have a prominent cone shape and, even if the chest area is relatively flat, puffy nipples can push forward and be highly visible under clothing. No amount of diet and exercise can improve their appearance and they are commonly associated with ‘true’ gynaecomastia as they are usually due to an excess of glandular tissue behind the areola.
Treatment with liposuction alone will not address the issue of puffy nipples as the glandular tissue is not removed. Whether you’re just suffering from puffy nipples or the whole chest area is enlarged, a male breast reduction is typically the appropriate solution.
How to get rid of man boobs and puffy nipples naturally
True gynaecomastia refers to the enlargement of glandular tissue in the male chest, but for many men, it is the result of an increase of fatty tissue in the chest area. So, losing weight should always be your first step.
Losing weight is an effective method in reducing your gynaecomastia, helping to decrease the levels of hormones that are behind your man boobs. Research has also shown that it can even help to reduce glandular tissue: a study in the International Journal of Andrology suggests this “may be the result of increased conversion of testosterone to oestradiol (potent oestrogenic hormone) in increased adipose tissue mass.”
So what action can you take?
Ditch the booze
Along with a ‘beer belly’, drinking alcohol can lead to man boobs. This can be attributed to several factors, but mainly its effect on hormone production. As well as being highly calorific, alcohol can suppress testosterone production, which could play a role in your gynaecomastia.
Eat a balanced diet
Drastically reducing your calorie intake isn’t ideal for many reasons, but it can also affect testosterone levels. That said, the key is to lose weight gradually, making sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Foods that contain
monounsaturated fats (nuts, avocado and olive oil, for example) are great at boosting your testosterone levels. Another great way to build muscle is to include lean proteins, such as fish, skinless chicken, fish and eggs. Of course, always remember to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables!
On the other hand, avoid saturated fats such as those found in cakes, pastries, fatty meats and butter, as well as any sugary, processed foods.
Combine cardio with chest exercises
One of the best ways to reduce your man boobs is to ensure that you exercise regularly and that the exercise is targeted. Combine cardio (to burn calories) with chest exercises such as bench presses or push-ups (to tone your chest area). For example, include chest exercises before or after running. Or, swim or practise some cardio/chest exercises on alternate days.
Up the weights
Don’t forget to tie in some weight training. According to research published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, which looked at the hormonal response to heavy resistance exercise, “levels of testosterone significantly increased after heavy resistance training”.
How to get rid of man boobs surgically
Unfortunately, for many men, diet and exercise fails to improve the appearance of ‘moobs’. Sometimes, excess glandular tissue can often appear more prominent the more you build up the chest muscles. In this case, male breast reduction surgery is often the only solution to producing a more aesthetically pleasing contour to the chest.
Removing excess glandular and fatty tissue from your breast area results in a flatter, more toned look. Your glands are removed, ensuring that gynaecomastia won’t return.
How is this done? A very small incision measuring 3-4 mm is made under each arm, and a cannula is inserted to suction away the fat. Not all the fat is removed — but a thin layer of fat is left to ensure a smooth contour. After this, a small incision is made at the base of your areola and fatty tissue is removed.
Both incisions are then left open to drain. You can usually expect to be back at work within 5-7 days after surgery and can do some light exercise after two weeks. You’ll see the final result within 6–9 months after your surgery.