What is gynecomastia?
It is common to hear about women having issues about breasts sizes, but it is not very often that we hear about men wanting to reduce their breast size. In The Pacific Northwest enlargement of the male breast tissue, or also known as gynecomastia, is a condition that affects an increasing number of men.
What causes gynecomastia?
- Gynecomastia is mostly a result of hormonal imbalance in a man’s body when there is an excessive production of estrogen, or the female hormone, making its content-level higher compared to androgen, or the male hormone. This is commonly seen in puberty in developing young boys, when hormonal activity is significantly increased. However, it may also be seen during infancy when the infant breast-feeds and consequently ingests high levels of the mother’s hormone through breastmilk. This condition has also been seen in increasing incidences with middle-aged to older men.
- Gynecomastia has also been seen as a result of certain medications. This includes some antibiotics, some hypertensive drugs, anti-ulcer drugs, and anti-androgen drugs.
- Similarly, drug abuse of certain substances like heroin, marijuana, or alcohol may also result in gynecomastia
- Certain conditions like liver cirrhosis, kidney failure, hyperthyroidism, malnutrition, and testicular cancer may also cause gynecomastia
How is gynecomastia diagnosed?
Gynecomastia is almost always misconstrued in overweight men as the deposition of large amounts of fat around the breast tissue. On the contrary, patients with gynecomastia experience an enlargement of the actual glandular tissue that is generally centralized around the patient’s nipples, often in the absence of fat. Enlarged breast tissue in a male patient that is greater than 0.5 cm is usually already indicative of gynecomastia, especially because men normally have so little of this tissue. In most cases, a thorough physical examination is needed to properly diagnose the condition. Blood tests will also be carried out in order to assess thyroid, kidney, and liver function in affected patients. These tests will also give the doctors the measurement of the levels of hormones present in the patient’s bloodstream.
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What are the treatments available for gynecomastia?
In most cases, gynecomastia disappears on its own, about six months or so after the male patient reaches puberty. However, in cases when the condition already requires intervention, the following options are available:
- Hormone therapy to normalize the levels of testosterone in the body
- Reduction mammoplasty is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of male breast tissues in cases of severe or long-term gynecomastia that can no longer be managed using conventional drug therapy.