Enlarged breast in men is a major concern nowadays. It is most commonly caused by male estrogen levels that are too high or are out of balance with testosterone levels.
Gynecomastia is a major problem nowadays, and the majority of men are suffering from this problem. Gynecomastia decreases the overall look and personality of men. This condition is also known as swelling or enlargement of breast tissue in males. There are certain causes behind this condition in males. Sometimes there is an imbalance in the hormones or testosterone levels, and sometimes there is an imbalance in the male estrogen levels.
There is sometimes an enlargement in the breast tissues of males. The enlargement is because of many environmental and hormonal factors. Sometimes gynecomastia affects one breast, while in other cases, both breasts are affected by gynecomastia.
Causes of gynecomastia
The major reason behind gynecomastia is the hormonal imbalance. Sometimes there is a hormonal imbalance between the levels of testosterone and male estrogen. Basically, estrogen is a female hormone that controls certain characteristics in females. The most important role of estrogen in the female is breast production and growth. Testosterone is responsible for controlling male characteristics such as massive body and hair growth. Both these hormones are responsible for any function or other in both genders. However, males also produce a small estrogen level, and testosterone production is also seen in females. Sometimes estrogen levels in males are produced higher than usual, and these are associated with gynecomastia involving an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen levels.
Different phases in Men’s lives
Gynecomastia is a global problem, and the majority of men are suffering from this undesired condition. There are certain phases in a man’s life in which he is associated with gynecomastia. The detail of these phases is as follows.
1. After birth
Children are more likely to have estrogen from their mothers after the mothers give birth to them. When in the womb, a child receives certain estrogen levels from their mothers required for their development. Some babies are still under the estrogen that they have received from their mothers even after their birth. The effects of estrogen are associated with enlarged chest and breast. This type of gynecomastia goes on three to four weeks after their birth.
2. Puberty phase
Puberty is the time during which major hormonal changes happen in a person’s life. There is a continuous change in the hormonal levels during puberty. Puberty is the time when a child becomes 12 or 14 years of age. Some males are seen having enlarged breasts during puberty, and this condition goes on its own after two years or sometimes within six months after puberty is achieved.
3. Mid-life or beyond
Breast enlargement often peaks in men between the ages of 50 and 80. About one in four men in this age range have breast enlargement.
Men of 50 or 80 years of age are also seen to have bigger and enlarged breasts. Every one out of four men is seen to have enlarged breasts during mid-age or males.
Conditions behind gynecomastia
Many other conditions can cause gynecomastia. These include:
- Kidney failure
- Improper nutrition
- Liver diseases
- Tumors in adrenal glands or testicles
Drugs responsible for gynecomastia
Some drugs are also associated with gynecomastia. These are listed below.
- Anabolic steroids
- Calcium channel blockers such as Spironolactone, Digoxin, and Amiodarone
- Drugs for enlarged prostate such as Finasteride
- Proton pump inhibitors such as Cimetidine
- Drugs sued for anxiety, such as Diazepam
- Drugs used for bacterial infections such as Metronidazole
- Drugs used for fungal infections such as Ketoconazole
Association with Low testosterone
Imbalance in testosterone levels is associated with gynecomastia. There is a certain reduction in the production of testosterone hormones as the age proceeds. This condition is known as hypogonadism. Hypogonadism is also known as low T.
Hypogonadism or Low T can have adverse effects on a man. Some of the most observed effects are as follows.
- Low sperm count
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced libido
Causes of low T and gynecomastia
Low T is mostly associated with age. As the age of men increases, testosterone production decreases. There might be some underlying conditions of Low T, which are stated as follows.
- An accident
- Inflammation or swelling
- Testicular cancer
- Brain affecting diseases
- Some anabolic steroids are also associated with low T.
Treatment of Gynecomastia
There are certain treatments available for gynecomastia. Moreover, if all treatments fail, then gynecomastia surgery is still an available option for this condition.
Some medicines, such as Raloxifene and Tamoxifen, are used to treat gynecomastia. Moreover, these drugs are approved by The U.S Food and Drug Administration as an effective method to treat breast cancer but not proved for treating gynecomastia. Using unverified drugs for a certain condition is called off-label use of drugs. It is safe to some extent, but surgeons and healthcare physicians’ consultation and prescription are quite necessary.
However, there are surgical treatments available for gynecomastia. Male breast reduction surgery methods involve the removal of excess fat from the body. This method is known as liposuction, which might remove excess fat from the breasts; however, breast glands remain unaffected by liposuction. Liposuction is the most used excess fat removal method from the body. Moreover, corrective and cosmetic surgeries are also used to get rid of enlarged breasts and to get the desired body shape.
Treatment side effects
A person might suffer negative side effects by undergoing breast enlargement treatments. There are certain negative effects of testosterone replacement surgeries. Those men who are suffering from prostate cancer or breast cancer should not undergo testosterone replacement surgeries. Moreover, there are risks of increasing developing prostate cancer in men. There are also chances of developing heart diseases, overproduction of red blood cells, and obstructive sleep apnea. These symptoms might worsen the overall health of a man. Therefore you should have a complete prescription and a detailed discussion with your doctor. Moreover, the effects and side effects of gynecomastia treatments and surgeries should also be discussed.