Gynecomastia is a medical condition that is characterized by enlarged breast tissue in men. There are a number of potential gynecomastia causes, chief of which being an increase in the level of estrogens in the male body, particularly when it is coupled with a decline in the level of androgens.
As you likely already know, estrogens are female hormones whereas androgens are male hormones. Both men and women have both the male and female hormones present in their body. In men, when androgen declines and estrogen secretion gets a boost, the man can become susceptible to developing gynecomastia.
While the most common of all gynecomastia symptoms is enlarged breasts, the increase in size is not a surefire sign of the medical condition. If a man is obese or puts on weight, then he naturally accumulates excess fat that leads to enlarged breasts. However, this type of breast enlargement is not true gynecomastia. This condition that is caused due to excessive fat in the male breasts is known rather as pseudo gynecomastia, which may at times lead to gynecomastia. Pseudo gynecomastia can usually be resolved through diet and exercise in order to decrease overall body fat.
In the case of true gynecomastia, the enlargement of the breasts would be similar to the shape and form of female breasts. The areola would expand and form an uneven shape, the breasts would protrude outwards and become round and there will be a lateral expansion in size. These symptoms are caused due to the enlargement of the glandular tissue in the male breasts. Glandular breast tissue can be distinguished from fat deposits (pseudo gynecomastia) as a hard disc beneath the nipple that is often freely mobile.
One of the most common gynecomastia symptoms is breast tenderness. If male breast enlargement is a result of excess fat alone, then the breasts would not feel sore or tender. When there is a substantial rise in estrogen levels and the glandular tissue becomes enlarged, the male breasts often become tender and may actually be somewhat painful.
Other common gynecomastia symptoms include soft, palpable breast tissue and swollen nipples. With gynecomastia, there is often unsymmetrical enlargement, wherein one breast grows larger than the other. The skin around the nipples may also become slightly redder or darker than usual. Additionally, due to the rise in estrogen levels, some men may experience a decreased sex drive and mood swings
Treatment for Gynecomastia
The best way to find out if you have gynecomastia is to schedule an evaluation with a physician. If what you have is in fact true gynecomastia and you are over the age of 17, it is unlikely that the condition will go away on its own. The most effective means of getting rid of male breasts caused by enlarged breast tissue is surgical intervention. If you would like to discuss male breast reduction surgery, please gieve our office a call at (281) 809-9901 to schedule a consultation with renowned gynecomastia surgeon Dr. Clayton Moliver.