Gynecomastia case numbers are increasing.
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is the swelling of male breast tissue due to a hormonal imbalance. The condition affects approximately 200,000 males per year in the United States. Although men of all ages may experience gynecomastia, the incidence peaks among males between the ages of 50-69.
In adult males, small amounts of estrogen (the female hormone responsible for developing breast tissue) are tempered by testosterone. Many factors can disrupt this delicate balance, including:
- Natural hormonal fluctuations due to age
- Commonly used medications, including treatments for anxiety, heart disease and acid reflux
- Health conditions that affect the liver, kidney and thyroid function
- Personal care items containing natural or synthetic ingredients that mimic estrogen
- Alcohol and drug abuse, including marijuana and anabolic steroids
In addition to breast swelling, males afflicted with gynecomastia may experience tenderness and pain from the formation of hard nodules in the chest. However, the psychological and social emotional effects are typically more significant than the physical discomfort. Men with gynecomastia often shy away from everyday activities due to embarrassment regarding their appearance.
Do I need Surgery for Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia that persists for longer than one year is unlikely to resolve on its own. For many men, medication adjustments or lifestyle changes that might mitigate the symptoms aren’t possible. In these cases, surgery is a viable solution. Men experiencing significant distress from persistent gynecomastia are ideal candidates for surgical intervention.
Young Male Gynecomastia Case Study
This young male patient came to me seeking relief from both the pain and the cosmetic deformity that had made him self-conscious throughout his life. By surgically removing fat and breast tissue, I refined this patient’s chest, helping him feel more comfortable in his own skin. The scarring is very minimal (5-8 mm from liposuction), as is the recovery period – a few days of discomfort followed by 2 weeks of avoiding strenuous activity. He is enjoying his flatter, more masculine appearance post-surgery.
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