Gynaecomastia – Facts You Should Know

You might have seen some males with abnormally large breasts. Or unfortunately, if you or your dear one are a male and have such a physiology, you should know that it’s a condition known as gynaecomastia.

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Gynaecomastia occurs due to enlargement of glandular tissue in the male breast. This condition can happen in males of any age, i.e. during infancy, adolescence, middle age or old age.

Gynaecomastia is different than pseudogynaecomastia or lipomastia, which is caused by fat deposits in the breast of obese men.

Actual gynaecomastia develops due to growth of breast or glandular tissue, which exists in very small quantities in men.

Who can Develop Gynaecomastia?

Usually developing adolescent males may be prone to develop gynaecomastia which is a part of their developmental process. Developing gynaecomastia in infants is not abnormal.

Here are some risk factors:

  • Aging, because aging may bring down testosterone production and cause the problem
  • Certain medications that may increase the risk of having this problem
  • Particular conditions and diseases (e.g. liver cirrhosis) that may be related to developing enlarged male breasts

Signs and Symptoms

The most obvious sign of gynaecomastia is the enlargement of breasts in males. As said earlier, this condition is the result of enlargement of glandular tissue and not of fatty tissue.

It is usually symmetrical in location in terms of nipples and may develop a firm or rubbery feel. While the condition arises on both sides, it may also sometimes be unilateral.

If both sides develop it, one side may grow bigger than the other. There may be tenderness, though usually there is no severe pain.

Differentiating from Male Breast Cancer

It’s very important to ensure that the growth of breast is not due to male breast cancer. Around 1% of gynaecomastia cases may be of breast cancer.

Typically cancer is limited to one side, feels firm and hard, is not always centred around nipple, and can be connected to retraction of nipple, dimpling of skin, enlargement of axillary (underarm) lymph nodes and nipple discharge.

Gynaecomastia During Adolescence – Causes and Duration

Gynaecomastia during puberty is caused by an imbalance in hormone levels, i.e. level of the female hormone, estrogen, is increased as compared to that of the male hormones, androgens.

This type of gynaecomastia is known as physiologic gynaecomastia and should not be a great concern because it resolves over time.

All people, whether female or male, have both types of hormones, i.e. estrogens and androgens. During adolescence, their levels may fluctuate and if estrogen increases, gynaecomastia can arise.

If this type of gynaecomastia persists beyond two years, it’s known as persistent pubertal gynaecomastia.

Treatment

Gynaecomastia, particularly in pubertal males, usually subsides on its own within around six months; hence in many cases, observation is preferred.

If the condition has been caused by certain medications, stopping those medications of existing medical problems can also be a line of treatment.

Medications work effectively only in the early stages, because scarring usually occurs after around 12 months.

Once the tissue becomes scarred, medications can rarely be effective and then surgical removal of gynaecomastia Melbourne such as Chelsea Cosmetics Melbourne, for example, is the only available treatment.

Breast reduction surgery or reduction mammoplasty is usually used in severe forms of the condition, long-term gynaecomastia or whenever drug therapies have not been effective.

Fortunately gynaecomastia is usually not connected to any long-term problems.

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Is it Related to Cancer?

Males with gynaecomastia have around five times higher risk for developing breast cancer as compared to the general population.

Gynaecomastia itself is not cancerous, but the hormonal changes that cause it in adult men increase the risk of breast cancer.

As options like reduction mammoplasty and laser liposuction from Chelsea Cosmetics Melbourne are available, you should not worry and discuss with your doctor to get the condition treated if required.