Gynecomastia refers to the enlargement of the breast tissue in boys and men. It is a very common concern among the male population, caused due to hormonal imbalance in the levels of the reproductive hormones testosterone and estrogen.
Normally, both men and women have breast glands, as well as male reproductive hormone testosterone and the female sex hormone estrogen. However, from the onset of puberty, the breast gland develops prominently in females, due to a surge in estrogen and progesterone – the primary female sex hormones, while the enhancement of breasts is very minor in men. Also Read: Precocious Puberty: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Yet, in men with gynecomastia, the growth of breast occurs rather noticeably, due to unpredictable fluctuations in the levels of testosterone and estrogen within the system, giving rise to large protruding breast tissues. This hormonal disorder affects males of all age groups, right from babies, kids, to teenagers, adults and even middle-aged, elderly people.
In the case of gynecomastia, the additional volume in the breasts is not owing to surplus fat deposits due to being overweight or obese, but rather forms from increased tissue development. Hence, engaging in intense physical exercises, highly restrictive diets or weight loss regimes will not help to reduce the size of bloated breast tissues in men with gynecomastia. Also Read: Obesity: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Although in most instances, gynecomastia gradually rectifies by itself, it does result in extreme pain in the breast tissue, as well as embarrassment, low self-esteem among boys and men who suffer from the hormonal ailment. Hence, it is advised to consult with a doctor, once symptoms of gynecomastia are recognised in men, so as to ensure timely treatment and complete recovery.
Causes Of Gynecomastia
The chief cause of gynecomastia is a much lower level of the male sex hormone testosterone compared with the female reproductive hormone estrogen, within the system of a boy or man. This occurs due to mechanisms that trigger blocking testosterone activity, lowering the amount of male hormone synthesized, or elevated secretion of estrogen.
Various circumstances can lead to the abnormal testosterone-estrogen hormone balance in the male body, such as:
Natural hormonal modifications during puberty or adulthood
Medications for other illnesses that interfere with hormonal production
Alcohol or drug addictions
The characteristic indications encountered by men with a case of gynecomastia comprise the following:
Swelling and pain in the breast glands, in either one or both breasts
Increase in diameter of the areola i.e the area surrounding the nipple
Irregular discharge from either one or both nipples
Difference between both the chest tissues in size
Decline in general health and eating disorders
Limited social interactions with friends and colleagues
The doctor initially questions the patient about any other ailments and/or medications he may be taking, besides a complete family history of the disease. A thorough physical body examination is also conducted, to examine the breast, abdomen and genital organs, to look for any irregular defects or lumps.
Furthermore, the healthcare provider analyses some internal parameters by means of blood profiling tests, mammograms or scans of breasts, apart from in-depth breast image evaluations through CT scans, MRI, male breast tissue biopsies and testicular ultrasound visuals.
Once the diagnosis of gynecomastia is confirmed in the male patient, the medical expert begins the appropriate course of treatment.
In minor instances, the condition heals on its own and the doctor recommends only regular visits, to monitor the size and shape of breast tissue in the affected man, so as to ensure it is decreasing consistently.
Nevertheless, if a pre-existing illness is prompting an instance of gynecomastia, like a thyroid disorder or cirrhosis of the liver, then the doctor treats that particular condition which in turn rectifies gynecomastia.
If certain medications for other health problems are giving rise to enlarged breast tissues, then the doctor recommends to stop taking those pills or suggests an alternate medicine.
To effectively treat massive breast tissues in males, the doctor prescribes specific medications, that will assist in decreasing the size of the chest.
However, in case initial treatment methods prove to be ineffective, then the doctor advises a surgical procedure to eliminate the excess breast tissue in men with gynecomastia. These protocols are either liposuction, to remove the extra fat underneath the breast tissues, or a mastectomy, which involves excising extra breast tissue mass from the chest region, utilizing minimal invasion techniques and small incisions.