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Company logo: Elliot W. Jacobs, MD, FACS - Diplomate, American Board Of Plastic Surgery

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Gynecomastia and Alcohol: What’s the Connection?

alcohol can cause gynecomastia

What causes male breast enlargement? This is the question we field most often on gynecomastia.org,on other websites and here in our consultation room in New York. Gynecomastia, the medical term for enlarged male breasts, is often genetic in origin. But other factors can influence the development of unwanted “man boobs,” or “moobs.” One of those is alcohol consumption.

Gynecomastia results from excess fat, overdeveloped breast tissue or a combination of the two. When the culprit is too much breast tissue, the underlying condition is typically decreased testosterone levels. With testosterone levels low, estrogen levels can climb and breast tissue may form. Low testosterone levels can be the result of a number of factors including alcohol consumption.

Heavy drinking can also contribute to gynecomastia by affecting liver function. Men with liver problems, including cirrhosis, may experience hormone changes that allow breast tissue to grow. In addition, certain medications for liver disease can trigger the appearance of enlarged male breasts by affecting hormone levels.

Finally, there’s the simple matter of calories. Many people do not realize how many extra calories they add to their diets each month by consuming beer, wine and cocktails. Courtesy of the Task Force on College Drinking, a project undertaken by university presidents, researchers and students across the nation in partnership with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, here are some sample calorie counts (per one serving):

  • Regular beer: 149
  • Light beer: 110
  • Liqueurs: 188
  • Red wine: 80
  • Martini: 140
  • Margarita: 168

You can see how quickly calories add up, even for a social drinker. Since the typical male stores extra fat in his abdomen and chest, the implication is clear: overconsumption of alcohol can trigger the development of fatty man boobs.

If you have enlarged male breasts, the best way to understand the underlying cause or causes is to consult a board certified plastic surgeon with substantial experience in treating gynecomastia. New York area residents and men across the country suffering from “moobs” can contact our office with questions or for a consultation. We have a special interest in this area of plastic surgery and enjoy helping men from all corners of the nation look better, enjoy more activities and gain confidence.

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