Gynecomastia refers to enlarged breasts in men. The condition is caused by actual growth of the breast tissue and should not be confused with enlarged breasts caused by excess body fat.
Gynecomastia is caused by hormonal imbalances and most commonly affects adolescent boys and middle-aged men.
Although gynecomastia is not medically harmful, it can cause embarrassment and psychological distress. In some cases, the enlarged breast tissue is also painful.
Treatment options for gynecomastia depend on its cause. Approximately half of adolescent boys experience some degree of gynecomastia due to the hormonal changes of puberty, and in these cases, no treatment is usually necessary because the condition spontaneously resolves within 6 to 18 months as puberty progresses.
In adult men, many cases of gynecomastia are caused by medications, recreational drugs, bodybuilding supplements, and herbal preparations, and the only treatment necessary is to stop taking the causative substance.
Some common causes of gynecomastia are drugs used to treat prostate problems, drugs used to treat heart conditions, certain anti-depressants, anabolic steroids, tea tree oil, marijuana, and excessive alcohol consumption.
It is important to not stop taking a prescribed medication without discussing it with the doctor first. If the medication is medically necessary, often a simple switch to a different type of medication can cause the gynecomastia to resolve.
Cases of gynecomastia that are not caused by drugs can sometimes be treated with medications that block the action of estrogen. These drugs are used to treat breast cancer.
Breast tissue grows in response to estrogen, and when estrogen is blocked, often the gynecomastia will resolve.
Breast Reduction Surgery
For intractable cases, the final option is breast reduction surgery. A tiny incision is made and the excess breast tissues are removed.
In some cases, liposuction to remove fatty tissues is combined with surgical removal of the actual enlarged breast tissue. Excess skin may need to be trimmed away.
In instances, the areola will need to be reduced and the nipple will need to be re-positioned to restore a more normal male appearance. Breast reduction surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia.
Full recovery may take several weeks, during which activity, particularly lifting of heavy objects, will need to be restricted. A compression bandage may be placed over the chest during the healing period.
Contact Us Today
If you are suffering from gynecomastia, breast reduction surgery may be a solution for you. Contact the office of Dr. Steven Warnock today to schedule a consultation.