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What causes gynecomastia?

Big breasts are a dream for many women. Not so much for men. However, gynecomastia, or man boobs, causes an enlargement of the breasts in up to 60% of men aged 44 and above. Occasionally, gynecomastia can cause a small lump under the nipples. Breasts can become large and pendulous in others. People with this condition suffer from self-esteem issues and don’t want to take off their shirt in fear of judgement, whether in the bedroom, at the beach or at the pool. Losing weight and undergoing cosmetic surgery can eliminate gynecomastia. But why do they occur in the first place? It is common for these cases to be "idiopathic," which means they have no obvious cause. However, other factors can contribute to these cases as well.

Well-known causes of gynecomastia

Men who suffer from gynecomastia feel they are alone because they believe the condition is embarrassing. Rarely do they even know what their condition is called or what it means. However, if you face these problems, it's not your fault. Gynecomastia may develop at any age, though it usually affects young, otherwise healthy men and boys. The most common symptom outside of the physical appearance is tender, swollen, or painful breast. Gynecomastia may result from several factors, such as:
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Lung cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver disease
  • Tumors of the adrenal glands or pituitary gland
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Hereditary disorders
  • Certain types of drugs
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Poor nutrition
  • Aging
  • Obesity
There is even evidence that using certain essential oils topically increases your chances of developing this disease. In particular, lavender and tea tree oil support estrogenic and antiandrogenic hormone functions. However we need to distinguish here between gynecomastia, which refers to enlarged glandular tissue in the male breast, and lipomastia, which is fat deposits under the breasts of obese men. Lipomastia has different causes and symptoms, so it needs to be treated differently.

Known drugs that can cause gynecomastia

As many men are unaware of the condition, yet its cause and name, they don't know the solution. First and foremost, you should look into whether the medications you're taking can cause gynecomastia. A number of medications can lead to gynecomastia by reducing testosterone production, either directly, by preventing testosterone synthesis or by blocking the androgen reaction. These drugs create hormonal imbalances. Among the drugs to watch out for are:
  • Drugs that help lower blood pressure, such as alpha-blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and nitrates.
  • Drugs that have psychoactive effects, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and drugs for infectious diseases
  • As well as illicit drugs such as marijuana, heroin, and amphetamines

How is gynecomastia diagnosed?

A physical exam is first needed as well as digging through your health and medication history. To rule out other diseases or conditions, you may also have tests including:
  • A blood test of your liver function and hormones, 
  • Urine test
  • Mammogram or a low-dose X-ray of your breast
  • A biopsy or removing a small tissue sample from your breast to check cancer cells

Can breast reduction surgery treat gynecomastia?

Your diet is on point, you've been working out to the point of exhaustion. Despite all your efforts, you can't seem to reduce the size of your breasts. Surgical intervention may be necessary. The most effective way to surgically reduce breast size is liposuction, which reduces breast size by flattening your chest contours and enhancing your chest cosmetically. The procedure improves the appearance of your breasts by making them more natural-looking.  When you have severe gynecomastia, you may experience sagging and stretching of the areolas due to excess weight. An experienced surgeon can adjust your areolas to fit the new contour of your chest in that case. However, it is not suitable for everyone to undergo gynecomastia surgery. Your body weight must be normal and your breast development must have stabilized. Nevertheless, it is a great option for men who have already done everything possible to reduce the fat in their chest, but have seen no real progress and are embarrassed. A breast reduction surgery can help you to feel more confident about your chest, improve your appearance and boost your self-confidence.        If you plan to undergo a Gynecomastia procedure in Miami soon, don’t hesitate to book a quick consultation or visit our plastic surgery locations in Miami, FL, Fort Lauderdale, FL.  

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