puberty; breasts; hormones; boys; changes; gynecomastia; nipples; men; gynaecomastia;
Do boys have breasts?
All boys and men have breasts, but the amount of breast tissue is usually very small and their breasts do not show.
Many baby boys have some little swellings under their nipples when they are born, and many baby girls do too. This swelling of breast tissue is caused by hormones from their mother and the swelling goes away after a few weeks.
Older boys can develop more breast tissue around puberty. When the amount of breast tissue is large enough to be seen, doctors call it gynaecomastia' (say guy-nee-co-mass-ti-a).
Boys can be a bit scared if this is happening to them. They might worry that they have breast cancer - but gynaecomastia is normal and common and does not lead to any health problems.
Being overweight can make it seem like boys, or men, have breasts, but fat under skin is the cause of the shape.
puberty and breasts
When puberty starts, lots more hormones are made in your body. As well as androgens (the male hormones) your glands will make some oestrogens (female hormones). It takes a while for your hormone levels to sort themselves out, and often boys will develop some breast tissue while this is happening. They get a slight swelling under one or both of the nipples and it can sometimes feel tender or sore.
- The breasts don't grow any bigger, but the swelling under the nipples may hang around for a few years while you are going through puberty.
- You may feel very sure that everyone can notice you have 'breasts' but in fact most other people don't notice at all.
- 65% of boys will have some breast tissue at some time, so if you think you are growing breasts, you are not alone.
- This breast tissue doesn't stay there and the swelling will all be gone by the age of 20 or earlier.
- This is not a 'health' problem - you will not have any problems due to this swelling.
- If you are very overweight you can have some fat under the skin around your breasts. This is quite different to the breast swelling caused by hormones, and it will not go away unless you are able to lose weight (which we know is very hard to do).
you could do
- Ignore it - mostly other people can't see it, and they will not notice it.
- Don't wear tight clothes if you are worried that others will notice and tease you.
- If you feel embarrassed you can always wear a loose t-shirt, uniform shirt or jumper.
- Wear a swim top or t-shirt when you are swimming (this will help protect you from sunburn too, always a good idea!).
- Relax - you are not the only one - a lot of other boys have some swelling of their breasts too. Have you noticed that? Probably not - and others won't notice you either.
- If you are really worried then ask dad, mum or your carer, to take you for a talk with the doctor - just to put your mind at rest.
Our topic 'Secret boys business' has other information about being a boy that may be helpful to you.
"Of all the changes happening to your body during puberty this is the one that most boys don't know about. Yet more than half of boys will have some development of breast tissue. If you are one of these then don't worry.
With all those hormones racing around inside you it is normal for your nipple to feel tender. It is also normal for the breast tissue to feel like a lump. It is very, very rare for the lump to be anything bad like cancer.
Talk to dad or a trusted male friend or talk to your doctor. It doesn't mean that you are turning into a girl, it's just those hormones doing their own thing."
We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.