Enlarged Breasts In Men(Gynecomastia) – Overview!

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By Dr Sachin Yeole , Dermatology

Gynecomastia is the swelling up of the breast tissue in men or boys caused by imbalances in the hormones ‘testosterone and estrogen’. It may affect either one or both the breasts, at times in an uneven manner. It generally occurs with boys undergoing puberty or with elder men due to hormonal changes. Gynecomastia is sometimes accompanied by breast pain and may be a cause of embarrassment among men.

Gynecomastia is not that severe a problem and may subside on its own. If it persists, then medication or surgery may come to your aid.

Symptoms –

  1. Swollen breast gland tissue
  2. Breast tenderness

See your doctor if you have –

  1. Swelling
  2. Pain
  3. Tenderness
  4. Nipple discharge in one or both breasts

What is the effect on the personality of suffering boys?

A large number of boys do not share their male breasts condition with their parents out of shyness. Gynaecomastia or Male breasts can cause severe mental tension in boys leading to various unwanted personality disorders like-

  1. Withdrawal from friends groups.
  2. Become introvert to the extent that some boys may go into depression as well. Rarely, it may lead to suicidal tendencies.
  3. Boys start walking with drooping shoulders in an attempt to hide the chest bulge.
  4. They stop participating in outdoor sports activities like walks, running, and tennis.
  5. Their lack of confidence is very obvious in their walk.
  6. Some boys start wearing over-sized clothes or tight inner wears to hide male breasts.
  7. They tend to sleep more on their belly.

Treatments-

If gynecomastia is caused by an underlying condition, such as hypogonadism, malnutrition or cirrhosis, that condition may need special treatment.

Medications –

Medications used to treat breast cancer and other conditions may be helpful for some men with gynecomastia.

Surgery to remove excess breast tissue-

If medications do not work, your doctor may advise surgery. Two gynecomastia surgery options are:

  1. Liposuction: This surgery removes breast fat, but not the breast gland tissue itself.
  2. Mastectomy: This type of surgery removes the breast gland tissue. The surgery is often done endoscopically, meaning only small incisions are used. This less invasive type of surgery involves less recovery time.

Prevention-

There are a few factors you can control that may reduce the risk of gynecomastia:

  1. Don’t use illegal drugs.
  2. Avoid alcohol.
  3. If you’re taking medication known to cause gynecomastia, consult a doctor if there are other choices.