Gynecomastia: Causes, Symptoms, And Common Medications

Gynecomastia is a common issue faced by boys and men, caused by an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen. The male traits are controlled by testosterone

As women go for a makeover after pregnancy or breastfeeding, popularly also known to be “Mommy backer”, men also opt for “Daddy Makeover” while aging. Surprised? Let me tell you that around 1.3 million plastic surgeries were carried out in 2018, a 30% increase in the number since 2000, and this is a report posted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and so the data is correct. Men also wish to enhance their physical appearance and boost their confidence, just like women do. 

Gynecomastia is a common issue faced by boys and men, caused by an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen. The male traits are controlled by testosterone, including the growth of body hair and muscle mass, while the female traits are handled by estrogen, which results in breast growth. It is a condition when the breast tissues in males either enlarge or encounter swelling, becoming abnormally large, and Gynecomastia can happen either in one breast or in both. 

Testosterone and estrogen produce hormones in both females and males. The condition of Gynecomastia is when the estrogen level in men is out of balance or too high, compared to testosterone levels. 

Both males and females have breast glands, but in males, they are unnoticeable as they tend to be undeveloped and small. There is no particular age when the breast gland enlargement can get affected. Gynecomastia happens due to additional breast tissues and not always due to extra fat. That is why; if a person tries to reduce weight to eliminate the breast tissue, Gynecomastia will not reduce at times. 

You must have heard people saying the man is suffering from a condition named “man boobs”, but it’s nothing to worry about. It is because Gynecomastia is a temporary condition, and here are a few causes, giving rise to it.

Causes of Gynecomastia

Most of them are unaware that Gynecomastia is a normal condition encountered by 70% of boys at the puberty stage. The condition is caused by natural changes of a female hormone present in men, estrogen, and testosterone. 

. Hormonal imbalance

Due to an imbalance in the sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone, Gynecomastia is caused. As estrogen is responsible for breast growth in men, but they produce a testosterone stopping estrogen so that the breast tissue does not grow. Sometimes the cause of the imbalance is unknown because of which a man’s breast grows. 

. Puberty 

There is a variation in the hormone level during puberty in boys. Estrogen causes the breast to grow in the body when there is a change in the testosterone level. When the boys grow old, the problem gets eliminated as the hormone level becomes stable. 

. Newborn babies

Gynecomastia can happen in newborn baby boys, also as the estrogen passes from the mother’s body to the baby. Some of the estrogens from the mother’s body stays in the baby’s blood for some time after his birth. It is a temporary condition, which dissolves on its own after a certain time. 

. Elderly people

Men tend to produce a lesser amount of testosterone as they grow old. They also have a higher fat level because of which there is more estrogen level, leading to enlarged breast tissues. 

. Herbal products

Most of them rely on herbal products, like lavender oil, tea tree oil, etc. to reduce weight, but doing so can increase the breast size. They have estrogen level present in it that creates an imbalance in the hormone level when you have it. 

. Health problems

Some males can face this issue because of health issues like kidney disease, an overactive thyroid, infection, male sex organ disorder, a tumor, testicular cancers, reduced blood flow, or any glands that control hormones. 

. Malnutrition

Re-feeding and malnutrition create a hormonal imbalance leading to Gynecomastia. Also, “cirrhosis” of the liver affects the normal hormonal mechanism in a person’s body leading to such an issue. Some of the other issues related to Gynecomastia are hyperthyroidism, chronic renal failure, etc. 

. Low testosterone

A low level of testosterone can make it quite difficult for you because many doctors cannot pinpoint it. In case you experience knee pain, tiredness, and carrying extra weight, the doctor might prescribe you to rest for a few days. But you might encounter this situation because of low testosterone. Some of the issues you must think that it is because of low testosterone are Gynecomastia, fertility problems, weight gain, fatigue, mood disorders, attention and concentration problem, etc. 

. High Estrogen

If you encounter that your testosterone levels are low, it indirectly means that the estrogen level is high. Otherwise, you can also have a high estrogen level and adequate testosterone. Symptoms specifying you have excess estrogen in your body are Gynecomastia, urinary tract infections, loss of muscle, belly fat, diabetes, etc. 

. Through-the-roof testosterone

Your testosterone level doesn’t need to climb the chart regularly. Mostly, this situation is encountered while using steroids for athletic performance or building muscle. Consuming steroids frequently can give rise to issues like Gynecomastia, and that is why; it is better to take steroids from your food intake.

. Side effects of medications

Gynecomastia can also happen due to certain side effects of medications, and the list includes: 

  1. A diuretic, named “spironolactone (Aldactone)”, which contains an anti-androgenic activity
  2. The ACE inhibitor drugs used for hypertension such as enalapril, captopril
  3. Some of the things used to treat hypertension like Calcium channel blockers can cause Gynecomastia.
  4. Some of the antibiotics included are ketoconazole, isoniazid, and metronidazole, Anti-ulcer drugs, such as cimetidine, omeprazole, and ranitidine. 
  5. The highly active antiretroviral therapy known as HAART for HIV disease, liver disease, kidney failure, responsible for causing fat redistribution also cause Gynecomastia.  
  6. Drugs like marijuana, alcohol, heroin, cannabis, etc. with skin-care products are responsible for Gynecomastia. 
  7. A rare genetic disorder is known as Klinefelter syndrome

Now that you know the causes, it’s time for you to know the symptoms that indicate you about the same. Once you know the symptoms, it would be easier for you to detect any such condition in the future. 

Symptoms of Gynecomastia

Some of the symptoms of Gynecomastia are:

. Asymmetric or unilateral breast 

Usually, patients might see that they have unilateral or asymmetric breasts. In this case, the self-examination of breasts demonstrates a tender, palpable, firm, “disc-like mound of tissue,” which may not be hard as breast cancer, locating centrally below the nipple-areolar complex gives rise to Gynecomastia. If you come across such a thing, consult the doctor. 

. Experiencing palpable masses

When you see that the palpable masses are hard, unilateral, fixed, nipple retraction, nipple discharge, lymph node enlargement, change in the skin tone, it is suspected to be breast cancer or Gynecomastia. 

. Firm and rubber mass

A boy with Gynecomastia will have a rubbery, firm mass beneath the nipple area, less than an inch. It can be present in both the breasts or else in one of them. 

. Enlargement of the breasts

One more symptom that you can encounter is the enlarging of one of the breasts. The enlargement can be faced in both, but in most cases, it is seen only in one. It is one of the common symptoms, and in this place, you might not experience any pain, but you might feel some sensitivity and tenderness. 

. Presence of breast bud

A presence of breast buds in both or one of the breasts, like the size of a nickel. It commonly happens during the puberty period in boys, which might stay for two years. 

. Spreading of cancer cells

Sometimes it is difficult to detect breast cancer from Gynecomastia because of the cancer cells. In this instance, only an expert can tell what had happened to you, so without delay, it’s better to book an appointment with them. 

. Breast abscess

A breast abscess is something that can cause breast swelling, but it’s rare, and affected males can experience chills or fever, or can experience swelling and pain. Also, the person suffering from this can see that the skin across the breast has become red. 

Now that you are aware of the causes and symptoms, the next things we are discussing in this article is the common medication. Of course, the best thing to do is consult a doctor, but if the situation is not too serious, you can also follow the common medications listed below. Before you start with the medication, it’s better to inform the doctors, which will help him track your condition. 

. Decrease your inflammation

Inflammation is responsible for holding the body fat and retaining water, affecting the chest tissues’ softness. The best thing that we will suggest here is to maintain a low inflammation diet that will help in naturally reducing the inflammation. If you wish to know how to reduce inflammation, here are a few ways. 

. Diindolylmethane (DIM)

It is a compound present in vegetables like cabbage and broccoli, helping protect against Gynecomastia and breast cancer. It helps in converting testosterone to estrogen, making free testosterone available in your body to use. 

. Calcium d-glucarate

The liver helps in breaking the estrogen when the body produces a proper amount of estrogen. As a result, it helps in eliminating the extra amount of estrogen present in the body. When your body has too much estrogen, it gets burdened on the liver, making it difficult for the liver to efficiently break the estrogen. This is the time when calcium d-glucarate helps in breaking the estrogen that eliminates the cause. 

. Weight loss

Man boobs also result in an imbalance in the hormones and need to be addressed. Losing weight helps eliminate the fat from the body, and it also ensures that your hormones are balanced. However, if you can detect the root cause of the issue, it becomes easier to eliminate Gynecomastia. 

. Exercise targeting your chests

Targeting fat loss in a particular area is not easy, but you can give it a try. There are specific exercises that can reduce the fat present in the chest area, like doing regular cardiovascular exercise, swimming, walking, jogging, or cycling.

You can also try out a decent chest exercise at home that can also help you eliminate the excess fat present in the body. Often in gyms, many weight machines can also help you get rid of Gynecomastia, but it is better to consult an expert before starting anything. One exercise that you can try is: 

. Barbell bench press

It is a popular exercise, where you need to set the barbell on the rack first. After that, position yourself in such a way that you can take a medium grip and lift the bar. While doing so, make sure that you are holding your body straight. As you hold the bar mid-chest, breathe in, and as you return to the starting point, breathe out. The time taken to raise your back should be half the time taken to lower the bar. Once you have completed the entire round, keep the bar in the rack. The most vital thing you must consider is to do it under expert guidance; otherwise, you may hurt yourself. 

. Maintain a proper diet

Maintaining a proper diet will also help you to encounter this issue. Cut out high food calories, such as candy, sugary snacks from your diet and replace it with nutritional food like lean proteins, whole grains, whole foods, etc. Also, instead of eating a lot of food so that you do not feel hungry, it is better to eat nutritious food. Vegetables and fruits are high in nutrients and low in calories, and that is why; you should include all such stuff in your diet. The foods that you must include in your diet are steamed green beans, blueberries, Medium apple, banana, grapes, bell peppers, broccoli, two tablespoons hummus, etc.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, now you know everything about Gynecomastia that can help you to deal with it in case you face it. The most crucial factor to remember is always being under expert guidance and do not follow any medication without their permission; otherwise, it can create more health issues that you would not like to encounter.

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