(I enjoy carrying a purse, but I refuse to wear a bra…cd)
We can add one more medical side effect to the lengthy list of problems associated with obesity: âman boob syndrome,â? (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 â fed to livestock or excreted by women on birth control pills â 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.
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 âman boobsâ? to their 7th edition, released this month, defining the term as âoverdeveloped breasts on a man, caused by excess weight or lack of exercise.â? 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.
Non-surgical solutions such as male brassieres have not been in high demand, despite public exposure in a well-known episode of the television program Seinfeld (in which they were dubbed âmanssieresâ? or âbroâsâ?) and in Patrick Leung Pak-Kinâs internationally distributed Hong Kong motion picture La Brassierre (pictured).