Man Boob Syndrome (MBS), or Pseudo Gynecomastia
We can add one more medical side effect to the lengthy list of problems associated with obesity: "man boob syndrome" (MBS), or pseudo gynecomastia, a condition in which the breasts of obese men become enlarged and flabby. Increasingly, victims are seeking a surgical solution.
The medical profession recognizes two distinct types of man boobs. Man boobs caused by enlarged mammary gland tissue are referred to as gynecomastia, and are thought to be caused by estrogen fed to livestock or excreted by women on birth control pills which eventually finds its way into the meat and water supply, as well as by genetic and hormonal diseases and excessive alcohol consumption.
The obesity connection comes into play in the second type of man boobs, referred to as pseudo gynecomastia, which are formed by fat tissue layered over normal-sized male mammary glands.
Gynecomastia can appear in two forms, genuine or 'real' and similar or 'pseudo.' In real Gynecomastia there is actual breast tissue present. In pseudo Gynecomastia there is no such breast tissue and the appearance is due to an accumulation of fat, part of a general overweight tendency. In this condition weight control and exercise reduce the problem. In real Gynecomastia such efforts are fruitless.
Plastic surgeons can treat both types of man boobs: For the orthodox type, glandular tissue is removed via a U-shaped incision around the nipple. For the pseudo type, fat tissue is removed via a liposuction process. In extreme cases, removal of the breast pannus may also be necessary.
The man boob epidemic has reached such alarming proportions in Australia that the publishers of Collins Australian Dictionary added the term "man boobs" to their 7th edition, released this month, defining the term as overdeveloped breasts on a man, caused by excess weight or lack of exercise. Competitor Macquarie Dictionary will follow suit in its 4th edition.
The tragedy of man boobs was brought to public prominence in Australia by the highly pubicized case of former Australian Labor Party honcho Mark Latham (pictured), whose affliction was mentioned in a parliamentary address by Health Minister Tony Abbott. Mr. Latham, considered the Rock Hudson of pseudo gynecomastia, is not thought to be considering surgery at this point. His newly published diaries conspicuously avoid the subject.