Gynecomastia is the medical term for when men have enlarged breast tissue. Although it can sometimes only affect one side, it more commonly affects both breasts. It can be caused by several different things and often is a source of embarrassment. Luckily, there are treatment options available for men with this condition. Our experienced surgeon typically opts for liposuction to remove excess fat and tissue, but breast reduction is also an option available to you.
How Do You Know if You Have Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is not considered a serious medical problem, but it can cause emotional discomfort. The condition is characterized by having excess glandular tissue development and localized fat. Sometimes, there is also excessive skin in the area. When it only affects one side, it is said to present unilaterally. When it affects both breasts, it is presenting bilaterally.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
This is a condition that can affect any man. Certain things, however, increase an individual’s odds. They are:
Age: Gynecomastia is relatively common when a male is going through puberty. In these cases, it usually goes away by itself. This condition is actually most common when a man is between the ages of 50 and 69 and often does not go away.
Medications: Certain prescription medications affect hormone levels, potentially causing gynecomastia. Examples of commonly prescribed drugs include:
- Anabolic steroids
- Heart medications
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Anti-anxiety medications
Lifestyle Factors: Both drinking too much and taking illegal street drugs can contribute to gynecomastia as well. Marijuana, heroin, methadone, and amphetamines are all examples of drugs that affect the hormones that in turn can affect breast tissue development.
Other Medical Problems: Many medical conditions result in a hormonal imbalance. Examples of common culprits include:
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Tumors (especially if found on the testes or adrenal glands)
How Gynecomastia Is Treated
There are certain medications that are sometimes prescribed to treat this condition. These medications are safe, but not cleared by the FDA for this particular use. Alternately, men can choose to have surgery. Either liposuction or a mastectomy can be an effective way to remove excess breast tissue.
If you are interested in learning more about what gynecomastia is and how it can be treated, visit Southwest Michigan Plastic and Hand Surgery to learn about your options. We are conveniently located in Portage and Battle Creek, MI. Our educated staff would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!