Gynecomastia is a condition that causes an enlargement of the glandular breast tissue in men. It is common in teenage boys, but some people experience it at an older age. While large breasts aren’t typically dangerous, they can detract from a man’s attractive appearance and make the patient lose his self-confidence. At MilfordMD Cosmetic Dermatology Surgery & Laser Center in Milford, PA, we can diagnose and treat enlarged breasts.
Is Gynecomastia Caused by a Hormone Imbalance?
Enlarged breasts in men are more common than you might think. Experts estimate that between 24 and 65% of the adult male population suffers from this issue. Sometimes, men have larger-than-average breasts because they are carrying around excess weight. However, some patients can’t get rid of their breast tissues, even if they work hard to achieve a healthy weight.
Men who aren’t overweight experience enlarged breasts when their levels of testosterone fall while their levels of estrogen remain stable. This hormonal imbalance can be the result of medication, recreational drugs, health conditions, or the natural aging process. Enlarged breasts also occur in babies and teenagers, but these young patients don’t usually need treatment because they outgrow the condition within a few years.
Many drugs affect the way the body functions. They might block the release of testosterone, encourage the body to produce smaller quantities of sex hormones, or encourage the growth of the glands in the chest. Some types of antibiotics, ADHD drugs that contain amphetamines, anti-anxiety drugs, and ulcer medications can lead to enlarged breasts.
Patients undergoing chemotherapy and those who have been prescribed anti-androgens to treat prostate problems might also suffer from the condition. Androgens and anabolic steroids are sometimes used to treat muscle weakness, delayed puberty, or hormone deficiencies. Some HIV drugs have estrogen-like properties. They can also cause enlarged breasts in men.
Men who frequently take recreational drugs or drink excessive quantities of alcohol are at risk of developing enlarged breasts because these substances affect the way the body produces hormones. Patients might experience enlarged breasts after consuming marijuana, amphetamines, heroin, and methadone. Those who take anabolic steroids to enhance their athletic performance or build muscle mass are also at risk.
Men suffering from certain health conditions are more likely to experience enlarged breasts than others. Tumors that involve the adrenal glands, testes, or pituitary gland affect the female-male hormonal balance. Similarly, hypogonadism lowers testosterone production, so it can lead to enlarged breasts as well as infertility, erectile dysfunction, and a decrease in muscle mass.
Patients who suffer from liver or kidney failure are more likely to develop larger-than-average breasts due to hormonal changes and the drugs they have to take. It’s also worth noting that certain types of nutritional deficiencies can cause this condition. When the body is deprived of vital minerals and vitamins, it can no longer produce adequate amounts of testosterone.
Although enlarged breasts are common in babies and teenagers, they don’t affect young men as frequently because the sexual hormones stabilize as patients enter their 20s. However, many men start to experience enlarged breasts in their 50s and 60s because their bodies no longer produce adequate quantities of testosterone. A major risk factor is weight. Older men who are overweight almost always suffer from this condition.
Are Enlarged Breasts Related to Weight?
Two types of tissues can make the breasts appear larger. When the condition is the result of a hormonal imbalance, the breasts are made of glandular tissue, although there are usually some enlarged fat cells, too. When a patient is suffering from gynecomastia as a result of their weight, their breasts are mainly made of fat tissue.
Weight-related enlarged breasts sometimes disappear when the patient loses a lot of weight. That’s why we don’t recommend breast reduction surgery to patients who haven’t yet tried holistic weight loss measures. We ask these men to work with a nutritionist or personal trainer to improve their diet and exercise routines. If their breasts don’t become smaller even after they’ve achieved their target weight, they might be good candidates for treatment.
Is There a Treatment Available?
If you’re worried about the size or shape of your breasts, come to the clinic. We will examine your body and evaluate your hormone levels to determine whether a hormonal imbalance is causing your enlarged breasts. Sometimes, testosterone therapy can help, but this isn’t always the best solution. If you aren’t experiencing any other symptoms of low T, male breast reduction surgery could be the best option.
This treatment involves getting rid of the excess fat tissue with liposuction, removing the glandular tissue, and re-sculpting the chest. The entire treatment is done with local anesthesia, so the patient is awake and doesn’t have to stay at the hospital overnight. Because the excess tissues are removed from the body, the results are instantaneous, and patients walk out of the clinic with a more sculpted chest than before.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Male Breast Reduction Surgery?
Men who have had enlarged breasts for many months or several years are good candidates for surgery. We don’t typically treat teenagers or those who have only just developed the condition because it might go away on its own. We also can’t work with men who are severely overweight since their enlarged breasts could be a result of the excess weight.
When you come to the clinic, we ask you to attend an initial consultation, during which we make sure you’re a good candidate. We review your medical history to check you don’t have a condition that makes cosmetic surgery unsafe. We also ask you about the drugs you take. If you’ve been prescribed blood thinners, you might need to speak to your doctor before participating in cosmetic surgery.
What Is the Recovery Period Like?
Because male breast reduction surgery doesn’t require general anesthesia, patients can leave the clinic and return home on the same day. They typically spend a day or two recovering at home, but they don’t have to take several weeks off work. We always recommend that our patients wear an elastic chest binder for two weeks. During the first week, it has to be worn around the clock, but during the second week, it can be taken off for several hours a day.
After the operation, men can’t take part in certain physical activities, and they have to keep their treatment sites clean and dry. They have to pause blood-thinning medications and supplements, which could interfere with the healing process. Two to three weeks after the surgery, patients can resume most of their activities because their incision sites have healed.
Are the Results Permanent?
During surgery, the tissues that are causing the enlarged breasts are removed from the body, so it’s unlikely that the condition will return. However, men who gain a lot of weight sometimes experience enlarged breasts again. That’s why we recommend that all our patients lead a healthy lifestyle after surgery.
Achieve a Sculpted Chest with Breast Reduction Surgery
Enlarged breasts are often caused by a decrease in the hormone testosterone. This can be genetic or age-related, but it can also be the result of several health conditions. Men who take recreational drugs or certain kinds of medicine are more likely to suffer from gynecomastia. Give us a call at MilfordMD Cosmetic Dermatology Surgery & Laser Center in Milford, PA to book your consultation and find out more about male breast reduction surgery.