Gynecomastia is over-development of the male breast. It is caused by an increase in breast tissue but not fat tissue. This can occur due to too much estrogen (a female hormone) or too little testosterone (a male hormone). This causes the glandular tissue of the breast to become enlarged.
Hormones are chemicals produced by your body’s glands. The male hormones are responsible for the physical changes that begin to take place during puberty such as facial hair. Males have mostly androgens in their systems. But they also have small amounts of estrogen. In girls, breast growth is caused by high levels of estrogen.
However, sometimes guys produce enough estrogen during puberty that some breast tissue develops. Gynecomastia can appear on one or both sides of the chest, and the breast area can feel tender. They may grow unevenly. But, it can occur in newborns as well. However, true gynecomastia does not go away on it’s own.
This doesn’t mean a guy is turning into a girl or anything. It’s just a minor change in hormones as he begins to grow into adulthood.
What causes gynecomastia?
The main cause of gynecomastia is a change in hormones. Most often, this happens at birth, puberty, or as part of aging. These are natural times when the hormones in your body change levels. An imbalance of male and female hormones can enlarge your breasts.
In newborns, gynecomastia is caused by estrogen from the mother. Breast buds are common in baby boys. Breast buds tend to go away gradually by 6 months of age, but they can last longer in some babies. In adult males, it is usually caused by another condition, such as liver or lung cancer, cirrhosis of the liver.
It can be a side effect of certain medicines, such as:
- HIV/AIDS medicines
- chemotherapy and radiation
- medicines for heart disease
- anti-anxiety medicines
- ulcer and heartburn medicines
drugs, such as:
- anabolic steroids
- other lifestyle factors, such as: obesity and alcohol.
Gynecomastia has no link to breast cancer. It is rare that men get breast cancer.
What are the symptoms?
You may have enlargement in one or both breasts. It may start as a lump or fatty tissue beneath the nipple, which may be sore. The breasts often get larger unevenly. Symptoms may look like other medical problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How do doctors diagnose gynecomastia?
Since it is usually a side effect of puberty, there is no need for diagnosis. If the breasts do not flatten out, however, your doctor can do a routine check-up. This is to make sure there’s no underlying issue.
Also they may ask about your symptoms, such as the duration of the tissue growth and if the area is tender. They also may ask about your health history and what medicines you take.
The most common test is a blood test to check your hormone levels. Your doctor may request more tests if he suspects a disease.
Are there any treatment options are available?
Babies and teens normally does not require any treatment. Because it will usually go away on its own. If it is due to medicine stopping the medicine will help. Besides, if its a disease, treating the disease will often cure it.
Hormonal treatments are use if its due to lack of testosterone or increase in estrogen. Surgery may be a choice for some men if other treatments failed. You may need to make lifestyle changes as well.
Counseling may be recommended for boys and men who find it difficult to cope with this condition. It can be embarrassing and result in avoiding situations in which the chest is bare. This can lead to anxiety, stress, and depression. Talking with a counselor can help.
How can you prevent it?
In most cases you cannot prevent it. They are caused by natural changes in hormone levels. Adults can help prevent gynecomastia by avoiding certain medicines, drugs, and lifestyle factors.