The formation of breast tissue in males can be a painfully embarrassing condition. Known clinically as gynecomastia, it can range from a slight puffiness in the nipple to what looks like a woman's breast. If you've noticed that your pecs aren't as toned as they used to be, you may be concerned that you have gynecomastia. There's a large difference between excess weight in the chest and diagnosed gynecomastia, so look for the signs of breast tissue and see your doctor for treatment options.
Consider whether you've experienced any hormonal changes. FamilyDoctor.org, the website for the American Academy of Pediatricians, notes that as many as 65 percent of 14-year-old boys experience the formation of breast tissue, and it usually resolves itself within one or two years. If your breasts have suddenly grown, it could be the result of changing hormones in the body, which will regulate over time.
Examine your chest for the signs of gynecomastia. You will see a noticeable difference between fat deposits on the chest and breast tissue on the chest. Fat deposits can look like breasts but are soft to the touch and sometimes saggy due to extra skin. Actual breasts will be firmer and look more like a woman's breast.
Feel your chest for the sign of a hard lump somewhere in the chest. Medline Plus notes that gynecomastia is sometimes manifested by a small lump under the nipple that grows into looking more like a breast. If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor. It may be a benign symptom of gynecomastia, but it could also be a rare form of breast cancer in men.
Touch your chest and feel for signs of tenderness. Gynecomastia is typically accompanied by soreness. If your nipples and the surrounding tissue are sore, you should make an appointment with your doctor to talk about your pain and pain management tactics.
Examine your nipple. One of the signs of a true male breast is that the nipple tends to be puffy and erect. You may even be able to detect the swollen nipple under your shirts, which can be an added embarrassment. This is caused by an excess of the female hormone estrogen in the body, notes the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.