Big Puffy Nipples [or areolae in medical terms] are one of the most common manifestations of the condition known as gynecomastia. The word itself is of Greek derivation as a lot of medical and biological terms are:
- ‘gyne’= woman
- ‘mastos’= breast.
It is quite a common in males right from puberty to old age and, regardless of the age of the individual, causes a lot of mental anguish and embarrassment. I know this first-hand from my work as a Fitness Instructor as I have been involved right from encouraging a guy to see his doctor in order that he can get a diagnosis through to helping a guy after diagnosis, particularly with exercise programs and nutritional advice.
I know that it is difficult for a lot of men, regardless of age, to talk about their big puffy nipples even to a fitness professional such as myself but it is so important for a client to do this because then I can help him on a definite course of action. It is vital that the client gets a professional diagnosis and any advice and encouragement from someone like myself is not only good but necessary. So I repeat…the first thing that anybody with the condition must do is to make an appointment with their doctor first! I may be biased but the second thing a guy needs to do is see a fitness professional!
For those adolescent males who have the problem, the good news is that 93% will see it disappear within 3 years, once the hormones settle down. For the 7% in whom the problem remains, the cause will be fairly easy for your doctor to pinpoint. The remedies may well be adjustments of a dietary or lifestyle nature or medical measures to tackle the hormonal imbalance lying at the root of those big puffy nipples.
The two hormones involved are Androgen and Estrogen, with Estrogen being the feminising one and therefore present in too large a quantity as compared with the Androgen hormone. In other words, the normal balance of the two hormones is upset.
In more mature males more possible causes come into play:
- Some drugs/medications prescribed for other problems can cause hormonal imbalance. Again, a physician will be able to rectify this.
- Anabolic Steroid abuse will do the same. My advice is never to take any such substances in an effort to achieve quick muscle gains and turn a deaf ear to any of your peers who tell you that it’s alright to do so. There have been many cases of bodybuilders who not only developed puffy nipples but had to resort to surgery to remove excess glandular tissue growth!
- Marijuana abuse will also cause hormonal imbalance resulting in feminine-looking breast tissue, particularly under the areolae. My advice to the small number of individuals that I have encountered in the gym who smoked cannabis has always been to get help to give up the weed. In the UK we have many people who can help, from doctors through’ to specialist counsellors and all western countries have a lot of help available. For my part, I know from experience that getting a man on to a regular workout program will help enormously as the body produces its own ‘feel good’ substances called endorphins which help take away the craving for cannabis.
- Alcohol in excess quantities will do likewise. What is an excess quantity? A maximum of 25 units of alcohol per week is reckoned to be the safe limit for men, a unit being a half pint glass of beer/lager or a small glass of wine. So enjoy a drink but don’t overdo it!
- The ageing process can cause a hormonal imbalance resulting in gynecomastia. So all over 60’s should be aware of this and ensure that they do not carry excess weight, don’t consume too much alcohol and undertake regular exercise, with both cardiovascular and resistance work being necessary. Most fitness centres encourage seniors with reduced rates so take advantage!
There are many other possible causes, some serious in themselves, where gynecomastia is an added effect. These are dealt with elsewhere on my website but those above tend to be the most common causes of big puffy nipples.
Many men try to hide their condition by adopting poor posture, wearing baggy t-shirts , sweaters etc. Some even spend $100 to $200 dollars [or more] on compression garments worn underneath these. Indeed, there are literally dozens of manufacturers of such underwear! It’s your choice if you wish to go down this route but my advice here is to regard these garments as a temporary measure! Here are five pointers to bear in mind when shopping for compression underwear:
- Ensure that the garment fabric is of a three- dimensional stretch type.
- Ensure that the garment is made of ‘lycrasoft’ or ‘tactel’ blends for softness and therefore comfort.
- Ensure that the fabric is ‘breathable’, allowing moisture to wick away and air to enter.
- Ensure that the fabric has an anti-microbial feature built in to prevent the growth of bacteria, mildew and moulds.
- Ensure that the garments are of sufficiently good quality to withstand at least 30 extreme washes.
However, sooner or later remedial action must be taken and the good news is that there are now available other drug-free, natural approaches. I have investigated many of these over the last two years and include the best on my website, together with lots more information for those guys with big puffy nipples.
I hope that the above help and advice is useful to you and remember, you do not have to resort to expensive surgery!