The Diagnosis, Causes And Treatment Of “Gynecomastia” In Men

Gynecomastia is the development of female-like breast tissue and enhancement of the chest/breasts of a male. Both women and men are born with breast tissue, but this tissue remains very rudimentary and nominal in the male chest. The nipple/areola complex likely represents the most important”reminder” of those tissues in the male which we generally recognize. More than 50% of newborn men have a feminine, plump look to their breasts which is a temporary form of gynecomastia (because of the effects of maternal estrogens) however this condition basically disappears within 2 – 3 months of birth. But several years after, the breast tissues at many young guys will appear to suddenly develop and enlarge.This soon produces a mass-like effect from the breast that is then further accentuated by an increase in fat deposition. The fat which accumulates is really a unique type of fat – it’s distinctively thick, fibrous and dense.It isn’t like the normal, softer fat which is elsewhere on the body. The combination of the increased subcutaneous fat and also increased breast tissue begins to make each breast seem larger, fuller and more prominent. The breast can become so large that it begins to droop a little, just like a lady’s would. The nipple/areola may also grow and eventually become broad, large,”puffy” and casting. A tough lump of breast tissue, sometimes as big as a golf match, may often be felt behind the nipple/areola. The breast or nipple area can get very tender and painful, not unlike what many women experience during their menstrual cycle.

On rare occasions, a milky like secretion may even be expressible in the nipple. Gynecomastia is a physically and emotionally extremely disturbing condition which is diagnosed in thousands of young men each year. Young guys who are increasingly embarrassed to be seen without a shirt on; a number of whom can not even wear an ordinary t-shirt without feeling incredibly self-conscious or humiliated. They bypass pool parties, prevent the fitness center, and pass onto the shore excursion. They can come to be overly silent, isolated, and withdrawn; even anti-social. In fact, there’s recent research evidence revealing that several of these young men will develop attributes of mental illness requiring psychiatric evaluation and treatment. It makes sense – their lives are literally thwarted; Followed with a physical illness that just gets worse with time, which they can’t mend by”working out” by or more dieting, and which undermines their confidence, identity issues and awareness of masculinity.And that is ongoing at the same time – through adolescence – that these issues are already in chaos! Gynecomastia generally first appears during adolescence but it frequently also affects older men. Yet,despite all the negatives, the treatment can be simple, ends in a”cure”, and such men, young or more mature, can then go on to lead normal, healthy happy lives just like the rest of the men!

What causes gynecomastia in so many young men is not very clear but we do understand that it frequently occurs in certain 50 – 60% of adolescent men! Most experts feel it’s connected in some way to the tremendous surges in circulating hormones, maybe an”imbalance”, or perhaps hormones are “mis-processed” for a moment. Luckily, in most (about 75%) of these affected teenaged boys, the gynecomastia will really resolve without any treatment, on its own, within 1 – 2 decades. However, for many the emotional and psychological cost is high and simply demands intervention sooner. Parents are often unaware that some of this is happening and may not understand where the abrupt terrible change in behavior and attitude has come from in their teenage son. After therapy, the shift for the positive is generally just as striking. For about one in four boys affected by gynecomastia, the condition doesn’t spontaneously resolve and continues. Then it slowly gets just a bit worse, year after year. This is due to a repeating vicious cycle of recurrent inflammation, tissue stimulation and increased fibrous fat and breast gland growth happens, becoming nearly self-perpetuating, even in the absence of adolescent hormonal amount swings.

Many commonly prescribed medications have been linked to gynecomastia: Anti-ulcer/reflux medicines (e.g. Pepcid, Prilosec, Zantac, Tagamet), ACE inhibitors for hypertension (e.g. Capoten, Vasotec), Calcium Channel Blockers (e.g. Procardia), and Diuretics (e.g. Lasix, Aldactone). Valium, Proscar, Effexor, Motrin, Pepcid, and Digoxin are other frequent medication examples too. Some chemotherapy agents can also cause gynecomastia, and the”HAART” treatment used for AIDS patients has also been determined for an effect. Interestingly, malnutrition and starvation may also cause gynecomastia – circulating testosterone levels drop off quickly, leaving unopposed estrogen effects on the entire body under such conditions. Self administered and abused anabolic steroids and testosterone supplementation are, unfortunately, possibly the most common cause of gynecomastia today- specific enzymes in the male system convert a good amount of the”extra” hormones floating into estrogens which then immediately stimulate the growth of the breast tissue as well as the development of gynecomastia. Unfortunately, once this process begins, even if the steroids are stopped, the gynecomastia stays or may worsen as the vicious cycle described above begins and permits the gynecomastia to persist and advancement. Alcohol, amphetamines, marijuana, heroin and methadone use are also known as causes of gynecomastia. Plant oils, like Lavender oil and tea tree oil as frequently found in soap, skin lotions, and shampoo, have weak estrogen-like activity and also have been implicated in cases of gynecomastia. Similarly, soy beans, soy containing foods and soy based protein supplements in addition to sweet potatoes in the diet have all been identified as possible links in the development of gynecomastia thought secondary to the effects of the estrogen-like compounds associated with these foods. For more get in touch with us