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Gynecomastia: One Of The Causes Of Male Breast Pain

April 23, 2018
April 7, 2024

A condition like gynecomastia can cause pain - yes, gyno hurts; it can be debilitating but because of the stigma, most men live with the pain.

gyno hurts

Table of Contents

Men are concerned about the way they look and, according to research, even more so than women. Anxiety caused by perceived flaws in their physical appearance is a real issue, and men sometimes talk about it among themselves.

Survey Revealed That Men Have High Levels Of Anxiety About Their Bodies

According to Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, from the University of the West of England, who conducted the survey, "These findings tell us that men are concerned about body image, just like women. We knew that 'body talk' affected women and young people, and now we know it affects men too." 

The survey was conducted among 394 British men.

Among the findings:

  • 80.7% talked about their own or others' appearance, referring to weight, lack of hair or other appearance
  • 23% mentioned that perceived flawed appearance had deterred them from going to the gym
  • 63% thought their arms or chests were not muscular enough
  • 29% thought about their appearance at least five times a day
  • 18% were on a high-protein diet to increase muscle mass, and 16% on a calorie-controlled diet to slim down
  • 30% have heard someone refer to their "beer belly", 19% have been described as "chubby", and 19% have overheard talk about their "man boobs (moobs)"

It was also revealed that due to the anxiety, men have resorted to compulsive exercise, strict diets and even laxatives, among others, in the hope of addressing their appearance issues.

Suffer in silence

Chiselled from countless bench presses, nothing quite frames a proud chest like a pair of well-developed pectoral muscles to highlight a gym-trained physique. For most of us, this can be achieved with enough hard work at the gym and watching our diet.

While there are men who talk about their insecurities when it comes to their appearance, most don't. As such, they seek help privately, as most resort to keeping quiet out of embarrassment. In some instances, difficulty in developing an ideal physique doesn’t come from not trying but from a medical condition beyond our control – gynecomastia (commonly referred to as man boobs or moobs). A condition like gynecomastia can cause pain - yes, gyno hurts; it can be debilitating - but because of the stigma, i.e. it being an embarrassing issue, most men live with the pain, at times excruciatingly. 

Gynecomastia: Enlarged Male Breasts/Man Boobs

Yes, men can have breasts too. Unfortunately, what looks great on women can be embarrassing for the opposite sex.

Enlarged male breasts are typically triggered by hormonal imbalances – when the mens’ bodies produce more oestrogen than testosterone. Other causes of gynecomastia include genetics, the use of anabolic steroids or side effects of certain medication such as antidepressants.  

Contributing factors such as age and massive weight loss can also be related to abnormal male breast development. However, the most frequent cause of gynecomastia is actually idiopathic.

While both female and male hormones occur naturally in our bodies, too much of the former can cause glandular tissue enlargement, resulting in unwanted breast development like man boobs. It can be made worse with excess fat deposits due to weight gain.

Beyond the anxiety that comes from trying to manage a build-up of fat in and around the chest, things get a lot more serious when there is tenderness and swelling of the glandular tissue in that area.

Grades of gynecomastia

In 1973, Simon et al. [3] identified four grades of gynecomastia.

Types of enlarged male breasts

The most used classification is based on the tissue components involved in gynecomastia:

  1. True Gynecomastia - When only glandular tissue is the cause of male breast enlargement
  2. Mixed Gynecomastia - When both fat and glandular tissues are the cause of enlarged male breasts enlargement


When the enlarged male breasts consist of only excess fat, it isn't gynecomastia, although it is often mistaken as one. Pseudogynecomastia is also clinically known as lipomastia.

Physical appearance of gynecomastia

Gynecomastia feels like a mound of firm tissue. When the patient wears a form-fitting shirt, the breasts may look like female breasts with some degree of droopiness and loose skin. As much as it is physically embarrassing for a person, it is also a cause of real physical pain.

Male breast physical pain 

Gyno hurts more than you know. Those suffering from gynecomastia suffer from tenderness even at the slightest touch. The enlarged breast tissues can occur on one or both sides of the breasts. In some severe cases, the enlarged male breasts may look feminine and tuberous with enlarged nipples. 

Male breast social & psychological pain 

For some lucky ones, gyno may resolve independently, but regression is unlikely in many others. When it does not regress spontaneously, its unfavourable appearance may lead to significant social and psychological impairment.  

Patients who suffer from gynecomastia may become so self-conscious that they avoid social activities, especially in environments requiring them to go topless, like swimming or chilling out by the pool or beach. They may also withdraw themselves from mixed-gender gatherings due to embarrassment and anxiety. Relationships with their partners may also suffer as they may experience low libido or sex drive and even depression or mood swings.

Treatments to reduce enlarged male breasts: Gynecomastia & Pseudogynecomastia

Those who suffer from pseudogynecomastia may embark on a weight-loss and exercise program as a first-line treatment. Pseudogynecomastia surgery in the form of liposuction can permanently remove the excess chest fat accumulation when the diet and exercise plan fails.

Gynecomastia can be a "chesty" issue. It can be extremely uncomfortable, painful and confidence-sapping. For those suffering from true gynecomastia or mixed gynecomastia, the available and clinically proven treatment is Gynecomastia Surgery, which can help address the issue effectively. This is where it will be wiser to turn to body sculpting clinics like Amaris B. Clinic, which counts gynecomastia surgery as a signature treatment.

Each gynecomastia case is unique. The surgical approach developed by Dr Ivan Puah considers the grade of the gynecomastia, glandular tissue-to-fat ratio and parenchyma distribution of the patient. He will propose an individualised approach for the patient after carefully assessing the patient's clinical condition and understanding the patient's concerns.

Dr Ivan Puah's aim is to remove fibrous and painful glandular tissues and/or fat tissues to restore a natural-looking masculine body shape with the smallest possible incision for his patients.

Dr Ivan Puah, Medical Director Amaris B. Clinic, is accredited by the Ministry Of Health Singapore to perform liposuction in Singapore.  Dr Puah's personalised and meticulous approach has helped many gynecomastia sufferers alleviate their body issues. If you suspect that you are suffering from pseudogynecomastia or gynecomastia, schedule a private consultation with Dr Ivan Puah to understand your available treatment options.

Why suffer the ignominy of living with gynecomastia? Help is readily available at Amaris B. Clinic!


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