Like armies everywhere, the German military is filled with macho, chest-thumping rituals. But one battalion has found there's a downside to all that chest-thumping: The male soldiers are growing breasts — and only on their left sides.
The Wachbataillon unit performs precision military drills at official ceremonial functions, the German Herald reports. Many of their drills involve smacking their rifles against the left side of the soldiers' chests. And all that pounding on the same spot has stimulated the production of hormones that cause man boobs to grow.
"There is a very significant link between the activity in the … battalion and the development of the breast on the left side," Dr. Bjorn Krapohl, director of plastic surgery at the military's main hospital in Berlin, told the Herald. "They need to change the way they drill.
"The growth of male breasts isn't altogether uncommon: The condition is known as gynecomastia, and it's caused by an imbalance in testosterone and estrogen levels. There have been cases where chest injury has caused gynecomastia, though it's rare. Plastic surgeons report that teenage boys — who are particularly prone to the condition — often have breast tissue removed when gynecomastia becomes a big psychosocial problem.