An Intro to Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia is growth of breast tissue in males. Typically, this is caused by a hormonal imbalance between the amount of estrogen and testosterone that is being produced by the body.
Men can have it each breast, or both, resulting in an uneven proportion of fatty tissue. Sometimes, it’s uneven.
Any man can have this happen to them.
Gynecomastia isn’t life threatening predicament and it’s treated as a superficial condition. However, it can and will affect men’s ability to function. Men diagnosed with gynecomastia can experience intense pain in their breast area, similar to the soreness as a woman would endure during her menses. Of course, the most obvious issue is the insecurity and embarrasment gynecomastia breeds in men who suffer from it.
Gynecomastia can go away on its own if hormones stabilize, but most cases require medication or a surgical procedure.
Do You Have It?
Symptoms of gynecomastia typically include:
- Swollen breasts glands
- The appearance of “man boobs”
- Breast tenderness
Call a doctor if you notice:
- Discharge or lactation from one or both breasts
Types of Gynecomastia
Type 1 Gynecomastia is also called “puffy nipple.” Many Type 1 gynecomastia patients have a lean body fat percentage and are young. Surgically removing the glandular tissue is the preferred treatment.
Type 2 Gynecomastia is the most common form. Most men with this type developed an excess breast volume. The size can range from a tennis ball-sized mass to a softball-sized mass.
Liposuction is the most effective treatment. That being said, some have a combination of both glandular tissue and fat. For these particular cases, a combination of both liposuction and surgery is ideal.
Type 3 Gynecomastia is extremely noticeable, and has a chest angle of up to 60 degrees. Tissue may start to sag at this point, depending on age and muscle mass.
Treatment for for this level depends on your age and skin quality. Surgical removal is standard.
Type 4 Gynecomastia is a more pronounced version of Type 3, with a chest angle as large as 90 degrees. Sagging is already present, and surgery is a must. Liposuction alone is not an effective option for eliminating Type 4 gynecomastia. Skin reduction is also required.
Type 5 Gynecomastia exhibits an very obviosu sagging breast tissue. Males with Type 5 have extra skin, sagging, and can no longer hide their chests under their shirts. Both liposuction and skin reduction is mandatory.
Type 6 Gynecomastia has extreme breast sags and can often be seen extending under the armpits towards the back. Surgical removal of skin, gland tissue, and fatty deposits are necessary for this level of gynecomastia.
Type 7 Gynecomastia has noticeable breast volume and the top of the areola visible over the chest line. Surgical removal of all the breast tissue as well as excess skin removal is necessary for this to be fully treated.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
Natural Hormonal Changes
Both men and women have testosterone and estrogen. These two hormones control the development and preservation of sexual traits.
Testosterone enhances male characteristics, like body hair production. Estrogen, on the other hand, is the key supplier of female virtues, including the growth of breasts.
When men have excess estrogen or an imbalance betwen the two, gynecomastia can happen. It often hits during three stages of growth:
- Infancy. More than half of boys are born with enlarged breasts due to exposure to their mother’s natural estrogen. The swelling goes down on average two or three weeks after birth.
- Puberty. With all the changes boys undergo, it’s not surprising that many boys exprience this during puberty. Most of the time, it subsides. If it continues to progress for more than a year, it may be time to call a doctor. Seniority. 25% of all men between 50 and 80 will experience this. Most will not have many symptoms and will barely notice it.
- Steroids, hormonal medications, and androgens can all cause gynecomastia
- HAART AIDS treatments
- Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills
- Heart medications
Recreational Drug Usage and Alcohol Consumption
- Alcohol in large quantities
- Kidney and Liver failure
Certain herbal products, such as lavender or tea tree oil, mimic estrogen’s functions. This can cause mild cases of gynecomastia.
Testing for Gynecomastia
A quick trip to the physician is all you need to get diagnosed. He may ask about your family history as well as medical history. This will assist the doctor in providing the proper treatment options and help determine the main cause of this condition.
In some cases, blood tests and mammograms might need to be administered to confirm suspicions of gynecomastia. Some potential additional tests may include: CT scans, MRI scans, testicular ultrasounds, and biopsies.
These will help to determine if you are misdiagnosed, or if it’s a more worrisome issue like cancer.
Treatments and Medications
If hormones stabilize, gynecomastia can go away on its own.
However gynecomastia that is caused by an underlying condition, such as hypogonadism, drug use, or cirrhosis, won’t go away without treating the underlying problem.
In teenagers, boys showing symptoms should undergo continual evaluations every 3 to 6 months. Most teens will recover in two years. If they do not improve, they need to get treatment before it worsens.
Can I Get Gynecomastia Shirts?
Gynecomastia Shirt are shirts that act as a compression vest to hide your breast tissue. They offer instantaneous support and reinforcement while being comfortable and non-restricting to daily activity.
However, they are a short-term solution to a long-term problem.
While some medications could potentially help gynecomastia sufferers, they have not been approved by the FDA to do so. Under no circumstances should you take medications without the approval of your physician.
Surgical Procedures Are Available
In most cases, surgical procedures are the only guaranteed way to resolve gynecomastia. When done by a quality doctor, recovery time will be quick and the solution will be permanent.
The two major procedures used to treat gynecomastia are liposuction and a mastectomy. Sometimes, they will need to be done together.
A mastectomy disposes of the breast gland tissue, while liposuction compensates by removing breast fat. Surgery is usually done endoscopically, using only small incisions. This reduces recovery time.
The surgery takes about two hours and can be done using local or general anesthesia. You may be required to wear a special compression shirt during recovery. This helps support your new chest. Downtime is roughly one week, and the effects are permanent.
After your surgery, you can expect to see some swelling, bruising and temporary sensitivity loss in the chest and the nipples. This is normal and will subside in weeks. Discomfort post-surgery is often described as “an intense chest muscle burn,” but it mostly disappears within 2–3 days. You’ll get painkillers and antibiotis to help you out during recovery.
Scarring is minimal, with many people barely noticing any scarring at all. Sports and strenuous activity will need to be avoided for about a month post-op. Full recovery can be expected within three to six months.
The post-operation perks you’ll notice include:
- Better posture
- More confidence
- A more optimistic attitude
- A better physique
There are a few factors you can control that may reduce the risk of gynecomastia. If you want to reduce the risk, make sure you:
- Avoid alcohol. Moderation is key, here. Large quantities of alcohol can throw off hormonal balances.
- Don’t do street drugs. Marijuana, amphetamines, and other street drugs can cause this.
- Stay fit. Obesity and gynecomastia are linked.
- Check your medications. Always ask your doctors if gynecomastia could be a side effect of your medications. This can help you be aware of what can cause swelling.
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