Gynecomastia is a common condition that involves swelling of the breast tissue in men and boys. Doctors do not always know the cause of gynecomastia, but there is treatment available. Male breast reduction, otherwise known as gynecomastia surgery, treats the condition to reduce breast size in men and flatter or contour the chest area.
What Is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia causes excessive breast tissue growth, leading to overdeveloped or enlarged breasts in men. The breasts may grow unevenly, and, in severe cases, excess breast tissue causes the areola (dark skin around the nipple) to stretch and sag.
When men have gynecomastia, their breast tissue conceals their pectoral muscles. Even with diet and exercise, men with gynecomastia often cannot make the pectoral muscles stand out, which is why surgery is often the most effective treatment for gynecomastia for men.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
There are many potential causes of gynecomastia. Breast growth is usually the result of a hormonal imbalance, but the root causes may vary among different men. It is important to note that being overweight with extra chest fat is different from gynecomastia. Obesity can lead to hormonal changes that induce gynecomastia, but chest fat alone does not mean a man has this condition.
Some potential causes of gynecomastia include:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Illegal drugs
- Thyroid conditions
- Adrenal or pituitary tumors
These conditions significantly increase the risk of a man developing gynecomastia. Most of these disorders change how the body regulates hormones, leading to increased female sex hormone production. This can cause male breast tissue to overdevelop because these hormones are responsible for female development.
How Do I Get Diagnosed?
A medical professional must run tests to determine whether you have gynecomastia. Sometimes extra chest fat gets mistaken for gynecomastia, but fat is different from breast tissue. It is essential to get a medical opinion before seeking treatment for gynecomastia. Symptoms of the condition include:
- Breast discharge
- Breast tenderness
- Enlarged breasts
There are a few medical tests available to figure out if you have gynecomastia. A list of the tests your doctor may perform may include the following:
- Urine test
- Blood tests (hormone levels)
- Breast X-ray
- Breast tissue biopsy
If your doctor cannot explicitly determine whether you have gynecomastia, they may refer you to an endocrinologist. Endocrinologists are hormone specialists who can figure out the root hormonal cause of your gynecomastia.
What Treatments Are Available for Gynecomastia?
Male breast reduction surgery is one of the most common treatments for gynecomastia. Many men opt for gynecomastia surgery if the condition does not improve with medication changes or continues past puberty.
Male Breast Reduction in Glenview, IL
Dr. Karol Gutowski is a renowned plastic surgeon in Glenview, IL. He performs male breast reductions to help patients achieve toned, contoured chests when diet and exercise aren’t working. If you have gynecomastia and want to reduce your volume of breast tissue, Dr. Gutowski can help.