Gynecomastia is condition in which the glandular breast tissues in a male become enlarged in a way that is similar to the female breast. The condition is known to be a result of hormonal imbalances and may occur either in infancy or adolescence. Gynecomastia often resolves on its own within six months to two years of onset. However there are some cases in which the condition persists. Males who are uncomfortable with the long-term size of their chest may benefit from medical intervention to help reduce breast tissue and achieve a physique more consistent with the average shape of the male body.
Gynecomastia is caused by an imbalanced ratio in the levels of estrogens to androgens in a male’s body. However, the cause of hormonal imbalance can be attributed to many different factors. For example, medications, such as AIDS treatments, certain mental health drugs, and even heart medicines can lead to gynecomastia. Illicit substances like steroids and amphetamines may also be culprits.
It can be difficult for a man to know whether he has gynecomastia without a doctor’s diagnosis. Men with this condition tend to have firmness in the breast tissue – specifically in the area directly under the nipple. The condition can occur on one side or both, and it may or may not cause tenderness. It is important to schedule an appointment with your physician if you are concerned about the size of your chest or if you notice any changes in breast tissue.
Treatments for Gynecomastia
Only your physician can determine if you need medical intervention for gynecomastia. Treatment may be conservative, using medications designed to balance the body’s hormones and suppress estrogen production. It can also include surgery to reshape the chest. During a gynecosmastia surgery, excess breast tissue is removed through a small incision, and the nipple and areola may be repositioned for a natural appearance.
It is important to note that surgical treatment of gynecomastia is not necessarily a permanent solution. Although it may provide immediate and significant results, patients must maintain the outcome of surgery by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Severe weight gain can cause gynecomastia to return, as can other factors like consuming substances that alter testosterone levels.
Gynecomastia by itself is not a dangerous condition, but it can cause embarrassment and even indicate the presence of an underlying health problem, such as hyperthyroidism. Males who have experienced any breast pain, changes in breast size, or discharge coming from the breast should see a doctor for a consultation.