Why Am I Experiencing Gynecomastia?
While breast tissues are present in both men and women, they are more expressed and evident in women. Gynecomastia is the swelling of breasts in boys and men to the point where they look unnaturally large, sometimes as large as women’s breasts.
Although it is not a life-threatening condition, gynecomastia can cause a great deal of embarrassment and a loss of self-confidence. This can affect social functioning, mental health, eating habits, and self-esteem. It is therefore important to understand what causes this medical condition.
There are a number of potential causes of gynecomastia. One of them is the imbalance in the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for the formation of breasts in females, whereas testosterone is responsible for the barring of estrogen from doing its function. While both hormones are present in both males and females, the latter is usually present in males in higher quantity than in females. Gynecomastia is often found to affect older men because of the decline in testosterone and the loss of body fat.
Gynecomastia can sometimes be a direct result of obesity. But usually, fat deposited around chest due to obesity can be reduced with diet and exercise. The same does not hold true for gynecomastia. Individuals with normal weight and normal BMI have also been found to have gynecomastia.
Other causes of gynecomastia include kidney and liver diseases, excess alcohol consumption, tumors in the chest region, and hyperthyroidism. Drugs including herbal products may also be responsible for the formation of male breasts. Some of the more potent drugs include spironolactone, cimetidine, ketoconazole, and metronidazole.
Chemotherapy, antibiotics, anabolic steroids, and certain HIV medications and heart drugs may also lead to the formation of male breasts. Although not completely proven, some cosmetics and skin products like shampoo and soaps have also shown to contribute to the development of breasts in males.
There have been cases where tumor and cyst formation in the chest region has led to gynecomastia. It can be said with a degree of certainty that such cases of male breast formation are not gynecomastia, because no evidence has been found that links tumors to gynecomastia.
In many cases, gynecomastia does not require treatment and resolves in due time. However, should there be any physical discomfort arising from male breast formation, the individual must consult a medical expert. Usually, gynecomastia ameliorates after a person reaches his adulthood. But if it doesn’t after two years of reaching adulthood, it might be best to seek medical help.
Tamoxifen is a drug used to treat breast cancer by blocking the action of estrogen in the breast. An Aromatase inhibitor is used in ovarian cancer patients. These drugs can also be used to cure or prevent gynecomastia in men.
When these options are not productive, male breast reduction surgery is an effective solution. This procedure involves the removal of glandular breast tissue, fatty tissue, and/or excess sagging skin in order to recontour the male chest.
Make an Appointment to Find Out More
Dr. Della Bennett, a skilled board-certified plastic surgeon, has seen many cases of gynecomastia and can help you resolve yours. Contact our office to set up an informative consultation with Dr. Bennett.