Contrary to popular belief, women aren't the only ones who can feel insecure about their bodies, men also struggle. Men who have gynecomastia, or enlarged breasts, may especially lack confidence in their appearance. That's where Dr. Matthew J. Lynch comes in. He can suggest appropriate and effective treatment options, so you feel secure in your body.
When breast tissue in a man or boy swells, it’s called gynecomastia. The swelling may be painful, and it can impact one or both breasts. It’s most common in men between the ages of 50 and 69 and may affect as many as one in four men in that age range. However, it can occur at any time during a man’s life.
Gynecomastia doesn’t usually present serious medical issues, but it can certainly impact your self-confidence and body image.
Causes of gynecomastia
When your hormones, especially testosterone and estrogen, are out of balance it can cause gynecomastia. A number of factors can affect your hormone balance, including:
As you go through life, your levels of testosterone and estrogen naturally fluctuate. More than half of male babies are born with gynecomastia because of their mother’s estrogen, but the swelling goes down within two to three weeks. During puberty, gynecomastia is common because hormones are in flux, but again, the swelling usually dissipates on its own without medical intervention.
Some medicines and medical treatments can cause gynecomastia. For example, chemotherapy, antiandrogens that are used to treat prostate conditions, antibiotics, and some heart medications.
Alcohol and some illicit drugs
Amphetamines, marijuana, and heroine have been known to cause gynecomastia. Alcohol overuse can cause the condition, as well.
Certain health factors, such as aging, tumors, hyperthyroidism, and kidney failure can cause your breast tissue to swell.
Can gynecomastia be prevented?
Making some specific lifestyle choices, such as avoiding illicit drugs and only drinking alcohol in moderation, can lower your risk of developing gynecomastia. You may also want to check the side effects of the medications you take and discuss your concerns about gynecomastia with your doctor.
If you choose to have surgery to correct your gynecomastia, it may involve liposuction, excision, or a combination of the two. Liposuction involves suctioning out the excess tissue. Sometimes the tissue has begun to harden, or there may be a large amount of it. In those instances, excision may be the better option.
Following surgery, you’ll need to wear a compression garment to help reduce swelling. You should be able to return to your normal activities about six weeks following your procedure.
If you’d like to learn more about the causes and possible treatment options for gynecomastia, book an appointment with Dr. Lynch. You can schedule online, or you can call us at 609-448-6200.