Gynecomastia is the enlargement of breast tissue in men and may be due to a hormonal imbalance between the hormones testosterone and estrogen. It can have multiple consequences if left untreated including tenderness of the breast, pain, swelling, and sometimes even discharge from one or both nipples. Correcting this problem with hormone therapy can not only help men regain their masculine bodies, but it can also help improve self-image and improve a man’s overall wellbeing.
Perhaps you’ve heard the term “man boobs” used in various contexts. Although not serious in most cases, it can often lead to physical pain and discomfort as well as provide a source of ongoing embarrassment for the person suffering from it. The medical term for this type of case is gynecomastia, also called male breast enlargement. Fortunately, it is not a permanent condition if treated properly.
It is extremely bothersome for men who experience gynecomastia, especially if they’re young and healthy as it may seem almost inexplicable. It can affect their sense of masculinity, and can even impact their sense of intimacy.
Although some men opt for very drastic treatments such as surgery, it is wise to see what’s happening inside the body and what truly is causing their breasts to become large. There are non-invasive therapies that have proven to help men regain their masculine chest.
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a condition suffered by men of all ages where their breast tissue becomes enlarged and tender. This non-cancerous growth of the breast tissue is typically due to the imbalance between the amounts of testosterone and estrogen within the male body.
The condition may present itself in both breasts or only one and because these are the only known gynecomastia symptoms, it can often be overlooked by the men who suffer from it.
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Why Does Gynecomastia Occur?
Every person, both male, and the female has a delicate balance of hormones that control everything from mood to weight. Two of these, testosterone and estrogen, are often lauded as the most important and are often also referred to as the “sex hormones.”
Among the roles that Estrogen plays within the body, the development of breast tissue is chief among them whereas testosterone’s role in the body is to grow muscle and help develop other typically male traits.
Both hormones are produced in both men and women and must be in balance for people to maintain good health throughout their lives. When there’s an imbalance such as in the case of men with gynecomastia, the testosterone level may be overpowered by the amount of estrogen within the body, where it should be the other way around.
Gynecomastia can occur naturally at three different and important stages of a man’s life. Let’s see them in detail:
Directly following birth, a male baby may still be under the effects of his mother’s estrogen from the womb. This common form of gynecomastia occurs in more than 50% of newborn baby boys resulting in enlarged breast development, but in most cases, the condition will resolve itself within two to three weeks following birth.
For young men between the ages of 12 to14, gynecomastia can occur as a result of the young man’s body struggling to equalize the surge of new hormones coursing through his body. Adolescent males who develop gynecomastia typically see the condition resolve itself 6-24 months after the start of puberty.
By far the most prevalent form of gynecomastia occurs within men towards the end of their mid-life and entering into their elder years. Of the men who experience some form of gynecomastia, long-term breast enlargement can occur in as much as 25% of men this age.
In addition to these normal occurrences, there are also certain conditions that contribute to a hormonal imbalance causing gynecomastia or enlarged breast.
Some of these conditions or the factors leading to them may include:
- Poor nutrition
- Tumors in the testicles
- Dysfunction of adrenal glands
- Liver disease
- Kidney failure
Some medications may also cause an imbalance of the hormonal systems of the body, either exacerbating or providing the underlying cause of gynecomastia:
- Anabolic steroids
Typically, only a doctor can diagnose gynecomastia by performing a series of tests which may include breast exam, taking a medical, and providing our doctors your medication and family history. This review will work to identify key symptoms and provide better information to create a comprehensive treatment plan around.
Besides visual confirmation of the enlargement of breasts, tenderness, and pain may be common symptoms. The doctor will also pay particular attention to your nutritional habits to see if you’re consuming foods that can alter or boost the natural levels of estrogen within the body. If the medical team has trouble determining the exact underlying cause of your condition with visual exams and analysis, breast imaging (mammogram) may be ordered to rule out cancer.
Treatment for Gynecomastia
The treatments for gynecomastia are specific to the patient and depend on the uniqueness of their condition. This is why it’s so important to focus on not only treating the condition but the underlying cause creating the condition. Whether it is medications, or disease, or normal aging, the underlying cause has to be determined so that the factors that are causing the problem are directly addressed.
Many men believe that surgery is the only option for treating this condition. With surgery comes the added inconvenience of recovery as well as increased risk of developing complications like infection. Surgery also frequently means scarring, which, although manageable, should also be something to consider. Especially given that there are other less invasive and more effective interventions available.
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Hormone Replacement Therapy for Gynecomastia
One such intervention is the use of hormone replacement therapy for the treatment and long-term management of gynecomastia in men. Although initially less dramatic a transformation than surgery, HRT offers sufferers of this condition many benefits and far fewer complications than with other methods.
Essentially, HRT seeks to give the body its balance back by restoring the natural balance between testosterone and estrogen and help manage those levels, thus addressing the cause of the condition. Once the cause has been fully managed, the effects, both physically and mentally, can be reversed dramatically, improving the overall quality of a patient’s life.
Some benefits of testosterone replacement therapy include:
- Increased energy and stamina
- Healthier libido
- Improved erections
- Better sleep patterns
- Increased density in muscle and bone mass
- Enhanced mood
- The overall feeling of wellbeing
For most men, testosterone replacement therapy is an effective and safe way to treat enlarged breasts and other conditions.
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Considerations Before Starting HRT
Like any medical treatment, there are considerations to be made prior to undertaking this kind of change in their lives. Men who suffer from prostate or breast cancer, for example, should speak to a qualified provider before beginning testosterone replacement therapy as different hormones can affect those conditions in negative ways. Those suffering from obesity, high blood pressure, or other cardiovascular issues should similarly prioritize a comprehensive consultation to determine if TRT or HRT are the appropriate treatments for conquering this condition.
Because HealthGAINS prioritizes patient health and safety, this becomes more of a step along the way for our patients. We provide comprehensive care that includes post-treatment support and management because we know that getting treated for gynecomastia is just the beginning of the healing and not the end of it.
Counseling provides another important component of integrative treatment for men or adolescents that may have a difficult time dealing with this frustrating and embarrassing condition. Anxiety, depression, and stress can ensue when a man doesn’t feel comfortable in situations that require his chest to be exposed such as at the beach, locker room, and during sexual encounters.
Discussing this problem with a counselor can vastly improve the healing process, as his kind of support can be massively influential in the patient’s approach to their healing bodies.
Schedule a Consultation for Gynecomastia
One thing worth knowing is that gynecomastia requires experience to both identify accurately and to provide treatment for. That is why our medical team has widely been lauded for their knowledge and expertise in dealing with a myriad of conditions that men face.
Gynecomastia is a condition that doesn’t need to be permanent. With proper and thoughtful treatment under the supervision of an expert medical team, patients suffering from this condition can not only recover, they often see incredible improvements to their quality of life as a direct result.
If you or someone you know is suffering or suspect that they are suffering from this condition, call us today at 305-682-1818 to speak with one of our knowledgeable wellness advisors who can help answer any lingering questions and get you started on the path to healing.
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