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Man boobs

Growing breasts was never part of the plan. Sudden moobs can be a big concern for young men going through puberty. So what are man boobs? And why do you get them?

Man with bra

A polka-dot bra isn't the answer

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Why do I have man boobs?

Hormonal changes during puberty can cause both nipples and the surrounding area to feel painful and tender to touch. The condition is known as Gynaecomastia. This is often due to fluctuations in the level of oestrogen – the female hormone that also plays a vital role in male development. It’s a common concern among teenage boys, and can occur at any time during adolescence (approximately 12-18). What’s important to recognise is that in the vast majority of cases it’s something that’s totally normal, temporary, and no cause for concern.

But I can’t have boobs, I’m a bloke!

It’s bound to make young men feel self-conscious, but don’t confuse sensitivity with size. Of course, it’s alarming, as it doesn’t exactly tie in with your expectation of being a man, but in many ways your boobs are only going to be a big issue if you make them one. Even if they feel like bazookas to you, people genuinely won’t notice unless you draw attention to them. And once you’ve accepted that it’s just a stage in adolescence, you can strike your melons off your list of things to fret about.

Should I go to the doctor about them?

GPs in the UK report a steady stream of young men presenting these symptoms, so it’s an opportunity to seek reassurance, and also get checked out. If you’re worried in any way, make an appointment, and hold your head up high when you walk through the surgery door. After all, what’s happening is simply a sign that you’re maturing, and part of that package involves taking responsibility for your physical and mental welfare.

What if my man boobs aren’t Gynaecomastia?

Obesity in men can cause breasts to appear big. Obesity is also associated with all manner of health risks. If you’re overweight, talk to your doctor who can advise you on ways to shape up safely. Later in life, however, rapid breast enlargement in blokes can be an indication of underlying health problems, ranging from liver disease  to an overactive thyroid gland. In every case, however, only your GP can make a diagnosis. So don’t panic, just make an appointment.

Will they disappear?

If it isn’t a temporary phase in puberty, then much depends on the nature of the underlying problem. If they don’t deflate on their own accord, certain drugs may reduce the swelling, or surgery may be required to regain your manly shape.

Next Steps

    • Got a question about friends, dating, love or family life? Ask one of our trained advisors. This service is free and totally confidential.
    • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
    • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 25-Mar-2014

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