Overview - Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia occurs because of excess breast tissue in boys and adult men. Imbalance in the hormones estrogen and testosterone cause excess breast tissue. One or both of your breasts may enlarge and it can happen in different sizes.
Gynecomastia frequently occurs in newborns, adolescents, and middle-aged men. One out of every three men suffers from gynecomastia. It occurs when the level of estrogen in the male body exceeds the level of testosterone. Also, there are other causes of gynecomastia. So, your problem may heal on its own or you may need medication or surgery.
Why Gynecomastia Is Done?
In gynecomastia surgery, they remove the excess tissue and correct the aesthetic problems. Since gynecomastia causes low self-esteem and negatively affects your quality of life, surgery may be a preferable and healthy option.
Also, it occurs due to chemotherapy or certain diseases. Dialysis causes changes in hormone levels. Therefore, half of kidney failure patients suffer from gynecomastia. Similarly, liver failure and cirrhosis are among the causes.
As we age, there are changes in our hormone levels. Gynecomastia may occur with aging, especially in obese patients.
Gaining weight or having fat on your chest does not cause gynecomastia. It occurs due to the accumulation of extra tissue in your breast. Therefore, doing sports or losing weight will not help to get rid of it.
Symptoms of Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia can occur in one or both of your breasts. You may feel swelling and tenderness in your chest. Also, you can see the asymmetry in your breasts. The areola area around the nipple may become enlarged. Furthermore, if you are experiencing problems such as excessive swelling, pain, and discharge, you may have a disease other than gynecomastia. In this case, you should see a doctor.
Moreover, swelling of your breast may not be due to gynecomastia. You may have swelling in your chest because of other diseases. You may experience swelling due to infection in the breast tissue. Excess fat on your chest may look like gynecomastia. Rarely, men also can have breast cancer. As a result, you may experience swelling due to a nodule in one of your breasts.
They examine your medical history, medications, and any health problems in your family. Next, they conduct a physical examination to examine your breast tissue, genitalia, and abdomen. If they observe hormonal imbalance, they recommend that adolescent patients wait a year. If the lump in your breast is extremely large or tender, they perform a biopsy to rule out breast cancer. Furthermore, your doctor will do various tests for other possible diseases.
To diagnose gynecomastia, your doctor will perform blood tests and mammograms. According to the result of these tests, you may also need to have the following:
- CT Scan
- MRI Scan
- Testicular Ultrasound
- Tissue biopsy
Treatment of Gynecomastia
Usually, gynecomastia does not require treatment. So, it would be logical to consider surgery as a last resort. You may have gynecomastia due to another illness, such as malnutrition, hypogonadism, or cirrhosis. In this case, your doctor must treat the illness first. Also, certain medications may cause gynecomastia. Your doctor will recommend that you stop the medication or use an equivalent. If you need the medication for short-term treatment, the gynecomastia will disappear over time. However, if gynecomastia does not go away within 2 years, you may need treatment.
The same is true for adolescent patients with hormone imbalances. Gynecomastia will most likely go away in less than 2 years. If not, surgery is a healthy option.
Your breast is made up of glandular tissue and fatty tissue and the proportions are different for everyone. Gynecomastia means you have more of both tissues in your breast. Your doctor can remove excess fat tissue with liposuction. They do this by inserting a tube through a 3-4 mm cut. Liposuction is useful for removing fat tissues. In addition, your doctor may need to remove your gland tissues. For that, you need to have mastectomy surgery. In this procedure, your doctor cuts off excess glandular tissue with a scalpel. A result of mastectomy is scarring around the nipple. The size of the scar varies with the amount of tissue that needs to be removed. If more tissue needs to be removed, the scar will be larger. In some cases, the doctor may combine mastectomy and liposuction.
Medication for gynecomastia is also an option. Tamoxifen, which inhibits the release of estrogen in the body, is one of them. It is normally used in the treatment of breast cancer. But nowadays it is a suitable treatment option for gynecomastia. In addition, aromatase inhibitors such as Arimidex are also used for the treatment of gynecomastia. Aromatase inhibitors are normally used to treat breast and ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women. Finally, in older men with low testosterone levels, the doctor may administer a testosterone supplement.
Gynecomastia is not usually a problem that requires treatment. Cases often resolve without the need for medication or surgery. In addition, treatment often results in success. Gynecomastia can increase the probability of breast cancer in men at very low rates. But other than that, gynecomastia does not cause any health problems. We leave out the psychological damage it has caused.
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