There is a social stigma toward men that suffer from a poorly understood medical condition called gynecomastia, more commonly referred to as “man boobs”. Many men view the development of excess fatty tissue in the chest area as both a body image and a health issue.

“Men feel self conscious, unattractive and suffer a blow to their self-esteem when they begin to exhibit physical characteristics more commonly associated with women.

The solution may be as simple as committing to an appropriate exercise program and adjusting your diet to address excess weight. Exercise programs that emphasise cardiovascular exercise and overall body conditioning in conjunction with a diet that restricts calories will produce the most significant results. Exercises that isolate the chest area in an attempt to spot-reduce excess fatty tissue are ineffective in addressing the problem.

In addition to situations where the condition is caused by excess weight, the development of gynecomastia (man  boobs) may be caused by an underlying medical condition. Gynecomastia results from an imbalance of the normal levels of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. Estrogen is found in both male and female bodies but normally it is at much lower levels in the male body. The effects of estrogen are also normally offset by the presence of testosterone and other androgenic male hormones.

“Increased levels of estrogen can cause breast development in men.”

The hormonal imbalance can be a side effect of several kinds of medication and may also be related to an underlying medical condition such as cirrhosis of the liver, chronic kidney failure or testicular cancer. A doctor can usually determine the difference between conditions caused by excess weight, where fatty tissue has been deposited over the pectoral muscles, and actual enlargement of the breast tissue caused by hormonal imbalance.

In addition to exercise and diet, a doctor may change the patients medication or prescribe antiestrogen treatment. In some cases, if the condition does not improve, surgery may be recommended, although this does little to address the underlying causes of gynecomastia.

Compression undergarments are a simple but effective way to alleviate the physical display of symptoms and maintain a positive body image for those suffering from the condition. Specially designed undergarments made for men with symptoms of gynecomastia also help maintain better posture and reduce pressure on the lower back. Regardless of whether your symptoms are the result of being overweight or from a hormonal imbalance, a compression undergarment can maintain a better body image and higher self-esteem.