What You Should Know About Gynecomastia : Gynecomastia is a condition when there is breast enlargement in boys and male due to swelling of breast tissues. There are various reasons for this condition and among them, the most common is when there is an imbalance of two male hormones in the body.
Why does it happen?
Men are also born with some amount of breast tissues, though it is not as much as in women. Among the differences in male and female bodies, the production of testosterone in boys is an important one as it guides sexual growth. It is also essential to note that a small amount of estrogen (a hormone that dictates female sexual growth) is also produced in the male body. It so happens sometimes that there are more estrogen production and less testosterone production in a male body during puberty or in older age. When there is a higher than normal level of estrogen in a male body then the breast tissues start to grow which results in gynecomastia.
Apart from the above-mentioned reasons for aging and puberty, it can also be caused due to:
- Obesity results in more production of estrogen and less production of testosterone.
- Medications for heart disease, ulcers, cancers or other illnesses.
- Lungs, adrenal glands, pituitary gland tumor and some types of cancers.
- Injury or trauma to testicles which are the main producers of testosterone.
- Thyroid issues, kidney and liver diseases.
- Consumption of excess alcohol.
- Use of illegal drugs including cannabis, steroids, etc.
Signs and Symptoms of Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia can lead to many side-effects like low self-esteem, lack of general health, eating disorders, mental health, and impaired social functioning.
- One or both breast gland tissues swell or are tender.
- The area around the nipple called the areola may increase in size and the tissues in the chest may look asymmetrical.
- The nipple is tender, paining or has a discharge. Any of these or combination of it can happen.
How to Diagnose Gynecomastia?
To diagnose gynecomastia a visit to the physician is required. The doctor will ask for the medical history, medications, family history and symptoms. A physical examination will also be conducted of the abdomen, genitals and the breast tissue. Depending on the age of the patient the doctor will advise treatment. If the cause is puberty the patient will be asked to wait for a year or as the chances of it getting resolved by itself are high.
If the breast is large, tender, hard and one-sided and also has a discharge then the patient may be asked to undergo a biopsy to get a tissue sample to rule out breast cancer. Few tests may need to be conducted to rule out issues like a cyst, abscess, tumor, fat necrosis, metastasis, hematoma, and mastitis.
- Blood or urine test will be conducted to check the hormone levels
- A mammogram may be conducted to get an X-ray of the breast
- An ultrasound scan of the testicles may be ordered
How is Gynecomastia Treated?
A person with gynecomastia will be referred to an endocrinologist who is a specialist in issues related to hormones. The treatment will depend on the age and health of a person and the duration of the condition.
- If this condition has occurred in puberty of the patient no treatment will be given as it generally goes away on its own.
- If it is due to hormonal imbalance or other health issues, the underlying condition will be treated after which medicines will be provided to decrease the hormones that cause breast tissue growth.
- In some cases, surgery is performed to remove the excess fat and also the extra breast tissues.
Surgery for the cure of gynecomastia
Treating gynecomastia through surgery has been found to be effective. According to experts from https://www.thomsonmedical.com/gynecomastia-surgery-treatment/, among the techniques, Liposuction and Mastectomy techniques are commonly used and are generally safe provided it is done under specialist guidance. There are some cases where the enlarged tissues cannot be removed by excision or liposuction and the only other option is gynecomastia operation or the male breast reduction surgery. Surgical intervention is done for older males mostly and not for teenagers.
What are the prospects for a cure for men with gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is not a health emergency and most of the time it goes away on its own without the need for any treatment. If it is persistent then there may be a need for surgical or medical intervention. It has no long term effects on health but men with gynecomastia are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer than normal males most likely due to the hormonal imbalance in the body.
How To Prevent Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia, when caused due to underlying medical conditions, can be prevented by treating it. But when it is caused due to hormonal fluctuations during aging or at puberty cannot be prevented. But older men can take certain precautions to prevent this condition:
- Limit consumption of alcohol or if possible do not drink at all
- Maintain a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. If you are obese, work on reducing weight to treat gynecomastia, as that helps in keeping the hormones in check.
- Do not use illegal drugs or steroids as that can cause or aggravate the condition
To Summarize Here Are The Key Points To Know About Gynecomastia
- It is the enlargement of breast tissue or overdevelopment of glands in men or boys
- One or both breasts are large or grow unevenly
- It is caused when the female hormone, estrogen increase, and the male hormone, testosterone decreases. It can be caused by various other conditions too.
- The most likely men who have gynecomastia are teenage boys or older men. Even newborn baby boys can have more estrogen from the placenta of the mother
- In most cases, it goes away on its own but for some, there may be a need for other treatment options.
- Surgery may also be required for some severe cases.
Gynecomastia is a condition that does not cause serious harm to the body but can have a psychological effect and affects the self-confidence, in teenagers and young men, talk to your physician to get a better idea!
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