Both men and women have breasts, but those in men do not develop further during puberty. In contrast, breasts in women develop prominently throughout their adolescent years and they serve as mammary glands for breastfeeding infants. However, in some cases, men can develop a medical condition known as gynecomastia where the size of their breast tissue increases substantially. To other people, it would seem that a man suffering from this condition has breasts just as those mature women would have. Some teenage boys develop this condition, but about 75% of the cases resolve themselves naturally within two years or so without treatment.
Here are the signs and symptoms of gynecomastia
The most common symptoms are swollen and tender breast tissue. A man may also feel a rubbery or firm piece of tissue just under the nipple area. Another sign to look out for is possible discharge coming from the nipple. Some symptoms are rare, but they may occur. They include skin dimpling around the breast and nipple retraction. The asymmetry of the chest tissue coupled with an increase in an areola’s diameter may indicate the possible onset of gynecomastia. Men often confuse these signs with the development of male breast cancer. You should not jump to such conclusions immediately if you happen to experience any of these symptoms. Instead, visit a physician as soon as possible and they will advise you appropriately.
Here are the causes of gynecomastia
In infant males, it occurs because the oestrogen passed from the mother to the baby while it was in the womb was proportionally higher than normal. During puberty, it occurs because oestrogen levels in the young male adolescent increases beyond normal levels leading to enlarged breasts. Other factors causing gynecomastia do not stem from within the body, but they come from external contributors such as the abuse of alcohol and the use of drugs that alter the balance of hormones in the body. These drugs include spironolactone and corticosteroids. Being overweight is also a likely cause for gynecomastia.
The treatment for gynecomastia is as follows
The treatment for this medical condition falls along three primary lines i.e. medication, surgery, and radiation therapy. Medication treatment is mostly effective when done within the first two years of its onset. Starting medication two years after the condition started developing does not translate into any tangible results. In this case, surgery would be the best option. It would involve the surgical removal of the patient’s glandular breast tissue. Surgical approaches include laser-assisted liposuction, subcutaneous mastectomy, and liposuction-assisted mastectomy among others.
Gynecomastia is likely to occur in patients using particular drugs meant for treating prostate cancer. For them, radiation therapy is the best option because it is a preventative measure so that they do not develop gynecomastia while under using these drugs for treating prostate cancer.