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Gynecomastia is the benign growth of excess breast tissue in males, causes abnormally large breasts. Gynecomastia can occur in one or both breasts and starts as a small lump beneath the nipple, which may be tender. Often, the breasts enlarge unevenly. Gynecomastia that occurs during puberty is not uncommon and 75% of cases resolve themselves over a period of months without treatment.
What are the causes of gynecomastia?
There are two types of sex hormones: androgens and estrogens. Androgens (male hormones) are responsible for hair growth, regulating muscle size, and a developing a deep voice. Estrogens are hormones responsible for female characteristics. All men have both androgens and estrogens.
Generally, gynecomastia occurs from an imbalance in these hormones, where estrogen levels are higher than androgens like testosterone. It is important to note that over half of boys develop gynecomastia during puberty.
Gynecomastia can sometimes occur as an unusual condition associated with disease or metabolic disorders, or as a side-effect of certain medications, due to the natural decrease of testosterone production in older males.
Other causes of gynecomastia include:
- Cancer chemotherapy
- Chronic liver disease
- Exposure to anabolic steroid hormones
- Exposure to estrogen hormone
- Kidney failure and dialysis
- Deficiency of testosterone
- Marijuana use
- Hormone treatment for prostate cancer
- Radiation treatment of the testicles
- Side effects of some medications
What options are available to correct gynecomastia?
A breast reduction, targeted liposuction, or a combination of the two can be performed in order to remove or reduce the excess breast tissue. Your surgeon will assess your particular case and determine what forms of treatment are best for you.