When the breast tissue in men or even boys begins to swell and grow causing an appearance much like female breast, this condition is known as “gynecomastia”. Gynecomastia may affect just one breast or both at the same time and perhaps both but with uneven results. Sometimes it’s merely the result of normal changes in hormones that cause these changes and gynecomastia isn’t usually a serious problem in and of itself medically but it can be a great source of embarrassment for those who are struggling. Sometimes the effects of gynecomastia will disappear gradually on their own while other times medical intervention is the best option for returning the male breast back to a more masculine state.
Some of the most common symptoms of gynecomastia include breast tenderness, swollen breast gland tissue, pain and even nipple discharge in one or both of the breasts. When pain or discharge is present it’s important to see a doctor and to get medical attention.
Gynecomastia is generally triggered by a decrease in testosterone compared with the levels of estrogen that are present within the body. Since testosterone and estrogen levels are what determine the defining sex characteristics in women and men, when these hormonal levels are significantly off it becomes physically apparent.
In infants, male babies are often born with enlarged breast tissue due to the exposure of their mother’s estrogen and usually their swollen breast tissue will disappear within a couple of weeks following birth.
During puberty, gynecomastia is often the result of all of the hormonal changes taking place in the body and without treatment this swollen tissue usually calms down within 6 months to a couple of years as puberty runs its course. Since puberty is already a time fraught with challenges, many young men might seek medical treatment so that they don’t have to wait it out and try to conceal swollen breast tissue in the meantime.
As men age, the chances of developing gynecomastia once again become more prevalent, particularly between the ages of 50 and 80 as at least a quarter of men will notice a swelling during this period of their lives.
There are a number of medications that might also contribute to the development of gynecomastia and the use of drugs or alcohol may exacerbate the situation as well which is why it’s important to see a doctor if you’re experiencing a swelling of the breasts to determine if your consumption of certain medications or drugs is causing this condition and to address the problem.Tweet