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Enlargement of breasts in men – gynecomastia
In some men and young adolescents, one or both breasts
enlarge, resulting in an unusually large breast. This condition is called
The enlargement of breast in men occur at adolescence
in fifty to seventy percent of all gynecomastia cases. The underlying reason is
mostly natural changes in estrogen and testosterone. A short-lasting
gynecomastia can be observed in infants. This condition occurs when maternal
estrogen hormone persists in blood for a while.
A similar condition is faced in middle-aged and older
men. Aging (resulting in changes in hormone levels) or below listed medications
cause enlargement of breast(s) in men.
Gynecomastia is usually caused by natural changes in
hormonal balance of the body. Therefore, gynecomastia is most commonly
diagnosed in adolescents. Abnormally high estrogen – the hormone that regulates
female sex characteristics – and abnormally low testosterone – the hormone that
regulates male sex characteristics – leads to abnormal enlargement of breast in
In addition, below listed medications and substances
may cause gynecomastia:
Finally, medical conditions that influence blood level
of testosterone, aging, heavy alcohol consumption and liver, kidney and thyroid
diseases are among factors that lead to gynecomastia.
The definite cause of gynecomastia may not be always
Determination of the underlying cause and final
diagnosis requires a detailed examination by an endocrinologist and/or general
The detailed physical examination is usually followed
by analysis of hormone levels in blood and imaging studies (mammography,
computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging) to visualize the abnormal
enlargement of breast(s).
After all those tests and studies are completed, the
underlying cause is determined and the final diagnosis of gynecomastia is made,
but it is possible to determine no etiological factor.
Gynecomastia usually does not cause a symptom,
excluding enlargement of breast and varying degree of tenderness. In some
advanced stage cases, pain and discharge from nipple of one or both breast can
As the condition may spontaneously regress over time without
need to a treatment, your endocrinologist or general surgeon may first consider
treatment of underlying cause or follow-up for a particular period, if no
etiological factor can be found.
Inability to determine a causative factor, absence of
spontaneous regression, occurrence or aggravation of pain, discharge and
tenderness and social reasons may point to surgical treatment of gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia arising out of breast cancer is extremely
rare in men. However, if your doctor has concerns about a tumor, it is
necessary to verify or rule out cancer by mammography and biopsy.
If you want surgical treatment of gynecomastia, please
consult our plastic surgeons for techniques, expectations, and potential risks.
You should discuss aim with our plastic surgeons and
endocrinologists in order to get most realistic and satisfactory outcomes
before deciding surgical treatment of gynecomastia.