A Look at the Causes and Symptoms of Gynecomastia

Parker Center for Plastic Surgery

Gynecomastia is the condition in which a man has oversized breasts, and it can either affect one breast or both. Gynecomastia may be more common than you think with a reported 35-40% of men experiencing symptoms. This condition has been linked to a number of possible causes, though it’s typically a combination of factors that contribute to the issue.

Gynecomastia may present itself temporarily or permanently depending on the individual situation, and there is no known cause of the symptoms in majority of patients. One possible cause results from a hormonal imbalance in which unnaturally high levels of estrogen are present in comparison to testosterone. This can happen during puberty, and many times the hormones eventually regulate themselves and symptoms disappear.

Things that contribute to an elevated estrogen level can include various medications, treatments, and even other medical conditions. Medications that can lead to chemical imbalance include anti-androgens, such as those used to treat prostate cancer, certain antidepressants, ulcer medications, and chemotherapy drugs. The use of illegal drugs and alcohol can also increase the likelihood of developing larger male breasts.

Health conditions that can cause gynecomastia include those that influence testosterone levels, hyperthyroidism, kidney failure, the presence of tumors, and cirrhosis. General aging also plays a role, and approximately 1 in 4 men between the ages of 50 and 80 have oversized breasts.

Symptoms of this condition include swollen breast gland tissues. In some cases, this is isolated to the nipple area, while in other cases the entire breast is enlarged. The breasts may also be sensitive or may give a discharge. If the breasts are sensitive or have a discharge, it’s important to see a doctor to ensure there isn’t another medical problem causing these changes.

Many men choose plastic surgery as a treatment option in order to improve their overall look and self confidence when it comes to gynecomastia. It’s important to consult with a doctor to determine the best method of treatment. Dr. Parker and the Parker Center staff are experienced in male breast reduction surgeries. Contact our office today for more information.

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