Affecting nearly 25% of men, gynecomastia is a development of glandular tissue that causes abnormally large male breasts.
Colloquially (and unfortunately) known as “man boobs”, it can affect one or both breasts (unilateral or bilateral). Although benign, it may sometimes result in pain, sensitivity or discomfort.
What causes gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is the result of a hormone imbalance, with an increased ratio of oestrogen to testosterone. This makes it a separate condition to the fatty deposits found in the breast tissue of obese men, known as pseudo gynecomastia or lipomastia.
There are many potential causes of gynecomastia, with hormone balance affected by:
- Natural life stages
Infants often have the condition as a result of their mother’s estrogen, but it tends to go away on its own. Teenagers during puberty and aging men can all experience changes to their hormone levels.
- Prescribed medication
There are many drugs with the potential side effect of male hormone imbalance. Anabolic steroids, hair loss medication, anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, antibiotics, cancer treatments, and others may all result in gynecomastia. Studies have shown patients with high consumption of anabolic steroids show a higher prevalence of gynecomastia. After suppression of anabolic steroid intake and treatment with tamoxifen, a high remission rate can be achieved. However, if gynecomastia persists, surgery is a good option.
- Health conditions
Although rarer, pre-existing medical conditions can cause gynecomastia, from kidney failure and liver disease to tumours, overactive thyroids, presence of tumours or poor nutrition. Alongside prescribed medications, these conditions may affect the balance of hormones.
- Other drugs
Excessive abuse of alcohol or illicit drugs such as marijuana, methadone and amphetamines may also increase the risk of gynecomastia.
It’s important to identify the root cause of gynecomastia before undergoing any procedures, as it may be indicative of a more complex issue.
For the majority of men with gynecomastia, the treatment could be as simple as replacing or ceasing the use of the medication causing it.
From a dietary perspective, removing meat and dairy products may have a significant effect on your hormone levels. This is because xenoestrogens are absorbed from meat and dairy – a “foreign” estrogen that increases levels of the hormone in the body.
However, if these methods are ineffective, surgery can be considered for eliminating the dreaded man boobs.
If the palpable mass of glandular tissue has a diameter of at least 50mm and has been present for more than 2 years despite medical therapy, surgical treatment may be the only remaining viable option.
Through tiny incisions, surgeons will remove the fat and reduce the size of the breasts, restoring the contour of the chest and profile. The incisions are so small that scarring is minimal and often goes away on its own.
Generally, the procedure is a day surgery.
After male breast reduction treatments, compression garments will need to be worn for at least a fortnight, then this is reduced over the coming weeks. A binder will also be worn after the first week to ensure all liquid has drained.
Is gynecomastia procedure safe?
It is important to remember that any surgical procedure carries some risk, and not everyone is eligible for gynecomastia treatment. We’ll go through all the options available to you and answer all your questions at your consultation.
At Chelsea Cosmetics, we’ve successfully performed this procedure many times and produced highly effective results.
Rarely, fluid can collect in the skin and is known as a seroma, and will need to be drained. This can be treated with antibiotics.
Results from our gynecomastia treatments can be found here.
Why Chelsea Cosmetics
We’ve got over 20 years of experience in the field, and we’re here to make the process as straightforward as possible.