Gynecomastia and Male Breast Tissue

Published on August 10, 2016 by

Gynecomastia is a common endocrine system disorder associated with an abnormal enlargement of the breast tissue in males. The condition is caused due to an imbalance in the release of hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.

Infants and adolescent males sometimes experience gynecomastia temporarily, owing to the pubertal hormonal changes in their bodies. Nearly 75% of the individuals with pubertal gynecomastia do not require any kind of the treatment, since the symptoms disappear within two years of the onset.

Causes Associated with Gynecomastia

As mentioned, some newborn babies display symptoms of short-term gynecomastia due to the presence of large amounts of their mother’s estrogen in their blood stream.

Some middle-aged men exhibit symptoms of a more serious version of gynecomastia, which can require surgical treatment in the form of male breast reduction surgery.

Although a majority of such cases arise due to the hormonal imbalances associated with aging, there may be several other factors that might lead to the onset of this condition. A few of the external factors include consumption of alcohol, marijuana or psychotropic drugs such as heroin, amphetamines, and steroids.

Apart from this, intake of certain medications such as antibiotics, tri-cyclic antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, or heart medicines might also cause hormonal imbalance leading to swelling of male breasts. Heavy doses of certain herbal products containing lavender oil or tea tree oil, which contain natural estrogen, might also lead to gynecomastia.

In addition to this, there are several other ailments such as kidney disorder, overactive thyroid, or the presence of a tumor in the lymphatic glands that can upset the hormonal balance of the body and cause the male breasts to increase in size.

Symptoms Associated with Gynecomastia

The most visible symptom of gynecomastia is swollen or enlarged male breast tissue, commonly referred to as man boobs. In addition to this, the individual might experience some kind of tenderness or a slight pain in the breast.

In more severe cases, you may further notice some kind of fluidic discharge from the nipples of one or both the breasts. In some cases, the patient might also develop a hard, rubbery mass or lump underneath the nipple area which might feel tender to touch.

What Is the Treatment for Gynecomastia?

More often than not, pubertal gynecomastia in teenage boys does not require any treatment. The swelling or enlargement of breasts is reversed within two or three years without the use of any medication. Boys suffering from tenderness and pain in their breasts may use ice packs or analgesics such as ibuprofen to ease the discomfort.

In cases where gynecomastia has developed due to a certain medication for any other ailment, discontinuing the medication after a doctor consultation might help in reversing the condition. In some cases, the doctor might prescribe certain medication to reduce the level of estrogen in your body.

Severe cases of gynecomastia can require a surgical removal of the excess breast tissue from the affected breast. Male breast reduction, or male reduction mammaplasty, is a common technique used to restore more masculine contours to the chest.

Although your gynecomastia case may not require any serious considerations, you might want to see your medical practitioner if you develop any discomforting symptoms along with it.

Schedule a Consultation

To address the causes and symptoms of your gynecomastia, we recommend setting up a consultation by contacting our office. Dr. Tal Roudner, a double-board-certified plastic surgeon with years of experience, will be happy to answer your questions.