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Causes of Man Boobs and how we can help

More than 30% of men experience enlarging breasts at some point in their lives. Medically known as gynecomastia, man boobs can appear when an excess of glandular tissue is produced which causes the appearance of a more prominent chest.

When we see patients seeking male chest reduction, they often ask what has caused gynecomastia to occur. Below are some possible reasons;


Gynecomastia is not specific to a certain age range, it can occur at any time. When men start puberty, their chests undergo a period of development and swelling of the chest in this area is common. For many, this will gradually decrease over time but for others it will stay which is called idiopathic gynecomastia. Idiopathic gynecomastia is when there is an imbalance between testosterone and oestrogen.

For men that are getting older, they do also become more likely to have gynecomastia as this is when their testosterone levels start to change again which can result in excess oestrogen being produced again which causes the breasts to grow.

Hair Loss Drugs and Other Medications

Hair loss drugs such as Propecia or Finasteride are often associated with gynecomastia. Hair loss drugs essentially work to cause a decrease in the conversion of testosterone to a really powerful form of testosterone, called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. This then reduces the levels of testosterone causing an imbalance.


Illegal testosterone medications that are often used in the body building circuit are often a common culprit for the development of gynecomastia. Known collectively as anabolic steroids, these drugs are synthetic versions of testosterone which often covert to estrogen which again, causes that imbalance which encourages male breast growth. The issue with ‘performance-enhancing drugs’ is that there often is not a set guideline on how much should be taken like there is with medication so many end up taking too much which can lead to side effects such as gynecomastia.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone Replacement Therapy is a great treatment for improving muscle mass, energy levels, sexual performance and your mood but a side effect of this can result in temporary male breast growth. Men have an enzyme within them called aromatase which converts testosterone into a form of estrogen. This means that although you can be increasing the testosterone levels this can also cause an increase in estrogen levels. In most cases, any breast growth that occurs during Testosterone Replacement Therapy is only temporary and should only cause a small increase which will recede in a few weeks. In some cases your GP may suggest stopping treatment for a month or two to allow the breast tissue to return to normal.


In the majority of cases, excess fat that causes male chest prominence is usually nothing to do with the glandular tissue and is instead diagnosed as Pseudo gynecomastia which is just when there is an excess amount of fat in the male chest area. Many patients are able to treat this with diet and exercise but in some cases fat in this area can be stubborn and in which case treatments like liposuction can help to remove the fat resulting in a flatter chest.gynecomastia causes

However, in some cases – if a patient is carrying a large amount of weight, their leptin levels can be high. High leptin levels can trick your brain into thinking it is food-deprived which is known as leptin resistance. This then can result in signals being sent to the brain to conserve energy which results in a decrease in certain hormones such as the luteinizing hormone (LH) and the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which are responsible for sperm and testosterone production. As the production of testosterone decreases, the production of estrogen increases which then causes gynecomastia.

Plant Oils and Natural Grooming Products

Certain plant oils can have ingredients within them that have estrogen-like properties. You do not have to ingest oils as just applying them to the skin can result in them being absorbed and entering the bloodstream. So even if you were not using them directly on the chest area, over time it will eventually make it to the breasts. We often ask patients in consultation if they have started using anything new grooming wise in the past 3-6 months and to try stopping that to see if it has an impact on the appearance of gynecomastia.

Severe Liver or Kidney Disease

If a patient is suffering from any type of serious illness it can cause gynecomastia to develop as during these times your body does not produce as much testosterone causing that imbalance.gynecomastia surgery uk

Liver disease in particular causes a disruption in protein synthesis which basically results in a sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) being produced which sticks to testosterone. This means that patients with liver disease will not only have their testosterone production decreased due to being ill but the increase in SHBG will also bind the limited amount of testosterone that they do have meaning there will not be enough to do its job properly and often estrogen will start to take over. This is of course very rare, and gynecomastia should not be classed as a symptom of liver disease and if you were to be suffering you will have noticed this far sooner than it takes for any sign of gynecomastia to appear.

Undetected Tumours

Some types of tumours can affect your hormone production. This often includes pituitary or testicular tumours. If your body is unable to produce enough testosterone or produce too much estrogren then this imbalance can result in gynecomastia. Other tumours such as lung tumours can start the production of a hormone called Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) which acts like the Luteinizing hormone (LH) and increases testosterone production but also stimulates the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. The imbalance and increase in estrogen can cause gynecomastia.

male chest reduction treatment uk before after photo

Male Chest Reduction at The Private Clinic

At The Private Clinic we offer a variety of treatments to help treat gynecomastia or Pseudo gynecomastia and reduce the physical appearance of ‘man boobs’.

Each patient that comes to see us will be evaluated individually to see what’s best for him; his medical history has to be evaluated and an ultrasound scan should be performed in certain cases to rule out any lumps or malignancies which, although extremely rare, can still occur even in male breast tissue.

We offer

  • Vaser LipoVaser liposuction is a minimally invasive treatment for gynecomastia that does not require general anaesthetic or an overnight stay.
  • Micro LipoMicrolipo gets its name from the tiny size of the cannulas used to extract the fat The small size of the cannulas is particularly good for targeting smaller body areas such as the male chest. The procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic and many patients are able to return to work within a week.
  • Surgical Liposuction – Most patients, moderately overweight and with so-called pseudo-gynecomastia are well-suited for treatment with surgical liposuction alone. Surgical liposuction is more invasive than the other two forms but best for those who have a large amount of fat to be extracted.

male chest reduction gynecomastia surgery uk before after photo

By coming to us for your chest reduction procedure you can rest assured you are in the best possible hands and that you will get the results you were hoping for.

  • We afford all our patients the right care well before, during and long after every procedure.
  • You will have a Patient Coordinator, who you can call as much as you need, throughout your Private Clinic journey.
  • You will only be treated by industry-leading, highly experienced doctors and surgeons.
  • Our nurses, technical assistants and therapists are all very experienced and well trained.
  • Our aftercare promise – you can call, email and visit us to discuss how we tailor-make each procedure and offer ethical and professional aftercare for every patient.
  • We are contactable 24/7, 365 days a year for patients.
  • We are competitively priced for the expertise and professionalism we provide every patient.
  • See our before and after photos.
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  • Read our extensive FAQs.
  • Consultations available in London Harley Street, Birmingham, Bristol, Buckinghamshire, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds and Northampton.

To find out more or to book a consultation please call 0333 920 2471 or use our male chest reduction online contact form.

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