January 10, 2014
Bruce Van Natta, MD
A recent article in CNN raised the question linking gynecomastia, a condition otherwise known as “Man Boobs”, with smoking marijuana. Dr. Bruce Van Natta, a board certified plastic surgeon from Indianapolis, Indiana says the actual data supporting a direct link between pot smoking and gynecomastia is very limited in humans. “It does make some sense though, since smoking marijuana has been demonstrated to lower testosterone levels in both animals and humans.”
Van Natta says this could possibly tip the balance of testosterone to estrogen, resulting in enlargement of male breasts. A hormone imbalance is what causes gynecomastia in men. When the levels of estrogen are higher than normal, excessive breast tissue can form. “Since both gynecomastia and pot smoking are fairly common, it would take a fairly large study to sort it out and give us a definitive answer,” says Van Natta.
Going to the Gym Won’t Help!
“Working out regularly at the gym is important and doing chest exercises is important. However, no fitness regimen will fix this excess fat accumulation. It will need to be removed surgically,” says Van Natta.
“Many males are afflicted with this condition – I know because I was one of them. I had gynecomastia surgery in my mid 20’s and have enjoyed the benefits ever since. I distinctly recall being very self-conscious about having my shirt off to go swimming or play “shirts and skins” basketball as a kid. Getting it fixed was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.”
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), nearly 23,000 men underwent surgery to correct gynecomastia in 2012. Those numbers show an increase of nearly 30% nationwide from 2011 to 2012. Is this increase because it’s more acceptable for men to have plastic surgery or is it because the numbers of pot smokers has increased? Sounds like a good question for another study.