Gynecomastia is a fairly common medical condition in which men or boys begin to develop enlarged breast tissue, sometimes to the extent that their breasts resemble female breasts. Although this condition is rarely medically threatening, it can be tough to cope with emotionally.
Gynecomastia: Part of a Natural Process
The main cause of gynecomastia is a decrease in testosterone levels as compared to those of estrogen. Men naturally produce estrogen in their body, but usually in extremely low quantities.
The amount of estrogen produced varies throughout the lifecycle; the estrogen fluctuations that cause gynecomastia are part of this natural variation.
Gynecomastia is common in infants, teenage boys, and middle-aged men — this is because an increase in estrogen levels is common at all of these development stages. In the case of teenage boys and infants, the swollen breast tissue usually goes away without the need for medical treatment. Middle-aged men don’t get so lucky — 1 in 4 men between the ages of 50 and 80 have developed gynecomastia that does not subside on its own.
Other Causes: Medication, Drugs, and Underlying Medical Conditions
There are several medications that have been proven to cause gynecomastia. These include:
- Anabolic steroids
- Heart medication
- Ulcers medication
Some cancer treatments can also cause gynecomastia. Alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, methadone, and heroin use has also been proven to lead to the condition.
If your gynecomastia is not caused by natural hormone changes or drugs, then another underlying health condition is probably the culprit. The following health problems have been known to lead to gynecomastia:
- Liver failure or cirrhosis
- Kidney failure
- Malnutrition and starvation
These problems all have the potential to change your hormonal balance. Treatment of the underlying medical condition that causes gynecomastia will usually eliminate it.
Although gynecomastia is rarely medically harmful, it is still something that’s very difficult to deal with psychologically. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available to remove the excess tissue caused by gynecomastia and make sure that it stays gone.
If gynecomastia is the result of excess fatty tissue, a simple liposuction procedure can be used to fix it. If actual breast tissue has formed, as is common in most cases of gynecomastia, it must be removed completely. This requires a more rigorous and combination-based approach that rules out liposuction alone as an option.
Here at the Plastic & Cosmetic Center of South Texas, we use a combination of excision and liposuction techniques to treat gynecomastia. While excision is a surgical procedure, it can be done endoscopically. This makes the procedure less invasive as a whole, leading to a shorter recovery time. Contact Plastic and Cosmetic Center of South Texas today to schedule your consultation. We offer a variety of services tailored specifically to the needs of our male patients. We’ll work with you to create a treatment plan that’s right for you.