Enlarged breast tissue in males, known as gynecomastia, is a common condition that can affect male children, teens, and adults. While most cases are benign in nature, enlarged breasts for men and boys can affect self esteem and make someone feel very self-conscious. But what causes enlarged breasts in men and what gynecomastia treatments are available?
What Is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a condition where there is an increase in breast gland tissue in boys or men. It is most commonly seen in newborns, teenage boys going through puberty, and older men. While gynecomastia is not considered a serious medical concern, it can often lead to embarrassment and feeling self-conscious. In some cases, breast tissue may be tender and painful, with increased nipple sensitivity.
Common Causes of Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia is most commonly caused by an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone. In infants, increased levels of estrogen from the mother at birth can cause the formation of breast buds that usually resolve on their own. Hormonal imbalances during puberty are often another time when gynecomastia may occur but will again usually resolve on its own. When gynecomastia occurs later in life, it is often caused by various medications or conditions that can include:
- Cancer medications
- Cardiovascular medications
- Tea tree oils
- Live disease
- Kidney disease
- Certain cancers
- Thyroid disorders
- Obesity (though this is usually considered pseudogynecomastia, as it is caused by excess adipose tissue and not breast gland changes)
While these can all be potential causes of gynecomastia, many cases are considered idiopathic, or without a known underlying cause.
What Treatments Are Available?
In most cases, gynecomastia does not require treatment. In cases of hormonal imbalance, such as during puberty, the changes often level out in time. If medications or conditions are to blame, medication changes and treatment of the underlying condition will often be enough for the breasts to return to normal. However, if reversal is not possible, many men opt to have breast reduction surgery. Similar to traditional breast reduction surgery, male breast reduction surgery for gynecomastia removes breast tissue, fat, and skin to reveal a more natural, masculine chest profile.
At Columbia Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Dr. Chang specializes in breast reductions and helping men regain their self confidence after gynecomastia. To talk with Dr. Chang and explore how he can help you restore your self-confidence and achieve the masculine chest you desire, call 410-740-9330 to schedule your consultation today.