Many modern men now have what used to only occur in pubertal boys or older men: that is, man boobs. Being otherwise at your best, and looking increasingly feminine must be a huge source of shame for a man.
It may make you wonder if common chemicals are to blame for the condition. The answer, in a nutshell, is yes, maybe and no. It really comes down to what type of man boobs you have. Didn’t you know there was more than one? Well yes, there are two main types: gynecomastia and pseudo-gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia is believed to be caused by a hormonal imbalance between testosterone and estrogen, while pseudo-gynecomastia is seen in overweight or obese men. If you’re not sure which type you have, visit your doctor to find out.
If you have gynecomastia, then yes, there are many chemicals and medications that could be responsible for the development of your man boobs. Here are some of the most common:
- The chemical polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) found in Teflon is one. It is known to alter hormones, which is why some experts believe that it is a causal factor in the development of man boobs.
- Another chemical with similar hormone-disrupting properties is bisphenol A (BPA) found in some plastics.
- Long-term use of anabolic steroids is also associated with gynecomastia. Here, some experts believe that the body compensates for the increased level of testosterone by producing more estrogen, while others believe that they suppress the natural level of testosterone.
- Illegal drugs such as marijuana and heroin are also linked to the development of man boobs, as they are known to alter the hormonal balance of men. Like the high consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Alcohol also disrupts this hormonal balance; while high caffeine intake increases the body’s cortisol levels, which also disrupts the hormonal balance.
- Food chemicals also have the potential to be a cause of gynecomastia. Some experts believe that phytoestrogens found in a wide range of foods could be a causative factor. This is because this chemical is related to estrogen, the main female sex hormone. The evidence supporting this theory is conflicting, but it is possible that high consumption of foods containing this hormone is the culprit. The best known food that contains this chemical is soybeans.
- Hormone-laden meat and commercial dairy are another source of chemicals that could be responsible for the development of man boobs.
- There are a variety of chemicals found in processed foods that some experts say are another possible cause. These include trans fats and artificial sweeteners. Also, since many processed foods are sold in plastics that contain BPA, this means there is a double risk.
While chemicals are strongly associated with the development of gynecomastia, there is not the same association with pseudo-gynecomastia. Rather than chemicals, pseudo-gynecomastia can be attributed to the same factors that make anyone gain weight. These include:
- Poor diet A diet full of processed foods is strongly associated with obesity. Trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, artificial sweeteners.
- Lack of exercise. Not taking time to exercise is a well-known reason why someone gains weight.
- Drinking large amounts of alcohol is another factor, as alcohol is just empty calories.