Gynecomastia is a medical ailment that affects newborns, adolescents and older men may develop this condition as these are times when hormonal changes occur. This is not a serious condition and sometimes goes away on its own. If it does not go away on its own, medication or surgery may be required.
Symptoms of gynecomastia include enlarged tissue of the breast glands as well as breast tenderness. It is important to see your doctor if you experience tenderness, pain, nipple discharge or swelling.
This condition is caused by the lowering of the testosterone hormone as opposed to estrogen. This testosterone lowering can cause an increase the estrogen level in the body. Natural hormonal changes in estrogen levels which are too high or not in balance may contribute to this condition. More than 50% of males are born with enlarged breasts because of their mothers’ estrogen. This normally goes away about three weeks after birth. Boys going through puberty can also develop gynecomastia due to hormonal changes. This is pretty common and most the time will disappear within a two-year period. In men, this condition can occur anywhere between the ages of 50 and 80. At least one out of every four men develops this condition during those years.
There are certain medications that can also cause this condition. These medications include antibiotics, anabolic steroids, medications used to treat prostate cancer, medications used to control HIV or AIDS, some anti-anxiety and antidepressants, ulcer medications, chemotherapy and certain heart medications. Also, marijuana, methadone, alcohol, and amphetamines and heroin can also cause this condition.
There are certain health conditions that can contribute to this condition. Tumors that affect the testes, pituitary glands and adrenal glands can cause this condition as well as normal aging, kidney failure, cirrhosis of the liver and hyperthyroidism. There are some herbal products that have been known to contribute to gynecomastia. Tea tree or lavender oils that are mainly used in soaps, lotions and shampoos are examples because these products contain weak estrogenic activity.
There are tests that your doctor will run to determine whether you have this condition. These tests include a complete medical and drug history, a history of family health conditions and a complete physical examination that pays specific attention to your abdomen, genitals and breast tissue. Other tests that may be run include blood tests, tissue biopsies, testicular ultrasounds and chest x-rays.
In most cases, this condition will go away over time without any type of treatment. But if it does not go away, there are treatment options available. Medications used to treat breast cancer are often used to treat this condition. Surgery may be an option as well including liposuction and mastectomy.
Men that suffer from this condition will need support in order to cope with the emotional aspects of the condition. Counseling is an option and a good choice because kids who have this may get teased during gym class or they may be embarrassed in a new relationship. Connecting with others who have this condition is a great source of support.