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Does Drinking Beer Cause Man Boobs?

Lately, a troubling rumor has circulated the Internet claiming that drinking beer — especially “hoppy” styles like India Pale Ales — contributes to the development of excessive male breast tissue. Since Drs. Samuel Pearl and Alexander Ereso treat men with enlarged breasts at Pearl-Ereso Plastic Surgery Center, they thought they would address this rumor. Here, the doctors set the record straight on whether beer causes man boobs.

Where the Rumor Originated

Stephen Harrod Buhner, an herbalist and author, told the VICE News blog Munchies that a plant chemical in hops (found in beers) imitates the estrogen hormone. He claimed that drinking beer with lots of hops causes men to develop feminine attributes like large breasts and to suffer from sexual problems, including impotence. Fox News published an article piggybacking on Buhner’s claims, suggesting that men who drink strong India Pale Ales may notice their breasts overdeveloping.

Business Insider spoke with a University of Illinois professor, Richard van Breemen, who disputed Buhner’s claim, noting that there is a small amount of the estrogen-like compound, but it is so little that it is unlikely to disrupt a man’s hormones to the point of causing breast development.

With that information, feel free to continue to enjoy IPAs (responsibly, of course).

So, What Actually Causes Man Boobs?

Drs. Pearl and Ereso explored the causes of excessive male breast tissue (a condition called gynecomastia) in a blog post in December. It is not always possible to diagnose the exact cause of gynecomastia. However, doctors believe it is usually due to hormonal imbalances, medical conditions and the use of steroids. Before recommending male breast reduction surgery, our doctors recommend candidates visit their primary care physicians for a full physical work-up to rule out any underlying medical causes.

If a candidate is deemed physically (and psychologically) healthy enough for surgery, our doctors can explore treatment options in more detail. Male breast reduction surgery involves removing excess breast tissue and reshaping the chest so it looks flatter and firmer. Enlarged or droopy areolas can also be corrected during surgery.

Male breast reduction can be a life-changing experience. Most men experience an enormous boost in self-confidence and are comfortable going shirtless at the beach, pool or gym.

Contact Our Plastic Surgeons

To learn more about gynecomastia and male breast reduction surgery, please contact Pearl-Ereso Plastic Surgery Center today and request a consultation. You can reach us by calling (650) 964-6600 today.