Some men experience the growth of substantial breast tissue, a condition known as gynecomastia. While many who develop gynecomastia are embarrassed about their appearance, treatment options can restore a more natural physique. These are the most common questions men and their families have about gynecomastia.
What causes gynecomastia?
With this condition, a hormone imbalance with increased estrogen and decreased testosterone causes the growth of tissue in one or both breasts. It’s most common among boys and men who are experiencing a natural hormonal shift, including newborn babies, adolescents, and those entering their senior years.
Breast growth sometimes occurs as a result of another health condition, such as hypogonadism, obesity, hypothyroidism, kidney failure, liver failure, or malnutrition.
Gynecomastia can also occur as a side effect of certain medications, including anabolic steroids, anti-androgen, HIV medications, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, some antibiotics, chemotherapy, ulcer medications, and calcium channel blockers. Those who use substances such as marijuana, alcohol, amphetamines, methadone, and heroin are more likely to develop gynecomastia.
What other symptoms are associated with gynecomastia?
Breast growth can be minor or very noticeable and is often uneven. Some men who develop this condition experience tenderness in the affected tissue. It’s important to seek treatment if you have severe pain, swelling, or discharge from one or both nipples.
Is gynecomastia treatable?
In many cases, gynecomastia resolves on its own. When newborn babies are affected by the mothers’ estrogen, the breast growth usually goes away within three weeks of birth. Cases of gynecomastia during puberty typically resolve in six to 24 months. Older men are the most commonly affected (1 in 4 of those between ages 50 and 69) and may have symptoms that do not go away without treatment.
If you have experienced breast growth that has not resolved and you are older than age 50, your doctor will perform tests to rule out infection, breast cancer, or the presence of fat rather than actual breast tissue. If breast tissue is present, hormone replacement therapy is sometimes used to rebalance hormones. Gynecomastia cases that do not respond to hormonal therapy may be candidates for surgery. Many men feel more confident and less self-conscious when the breast tissue is removed. Depending on the extent of growth, it can be reduced using liposuction or mastectomy.
Contact us today at eSSe Plastic Surgery. Our experts can help you treat gynecomastia and restore your figure. Schedule your consultation today.