Contrary to popular belief gynecomastia (man boobs) is not a life-threatening condition. For the condition to result to death is very unlikely, but since this condition may be an indication of a serious medical problem, it’s very important that you have your breast assessed by a licensed doctor as soon as you notice any significant changes.
There are several ways of finding out if a man has gynecomastia. Let’s start with the signs and symptoms that the patient can feel and see.
First of course, is the unusual enlargement of the male breasts. Notice that when you check yourself in the mirror, there is an overgrowth tissue on the glandular area compared to an accumulation of excess fat. Simply put, your breasts may look more like that of a woman’s compared to a man’s.
Soreness of the breasts is also possible with Gynecomastia. This is caused by the growth of the breast tissue. Another indicator that the patient may easily see is the development of the nipples. It tends to become puffy with this condition. Bodybuilders and especially those who use steroids are more likely to observe this symptom.
In some cases, men who experiences gynecomastia may also experience scanty white liquid coming out of their nipples. Just like lactating women, men may also produce breast milk when their hormones are severely altered. If this happens, it would be best to contact your doctor immediately.
Gynecomastia symptoms can mean two things: the true gynecomastia which exhibits an excess in glandular tissues or the pseudogynecomastia which is merely a development of too much fatty tissues in the male breast. The latter is mostly due to obesity or being overweight. You can differentiate these two types of gynecomastia by gently pinching the breast tissue together. A glandular tissue usually appears rubbery to firm with concentric circles beneath and around the areola (the pinkish to brownish area surrounding the nipple); while the former usually feels freely mobile and tender.
I’m a Male and My Breasts are Growing: Need Help!
There are many causes of gynecomastia, but the main culprits for this unusual enlargement of the male breast are your hormones. Physiologically speaking, a male’s body contains large amounts of testosterone (male hormone responsible for the development of male features like increase in muscle mass) and small amounts of estrogen (female hormone responsible for the development of female features such as enlargement of the breasts). When the equilibrium between these hormones is disturbed, female characteristics could develop in a male such as an increase in breast tissues in men which is medically termed as gynecomastia.
Why does estrogen level increases?
Increased estrogen levels normally happen in men during infancy (newborns exposed to their mother’s estrogen in utero), adolescence (rapid increase in hormones as boys became men), and old age (between 50 to 80 years old, when testosterone levels start to decrease). When you experience gynecomastia during these stages, you do not have to worry since these are normal phenomenon and would usually resolve on its own without treatment. However, if you observe a significant increase in your breast size not related to the above circumstances, you might need some treatment.
What are the other causes of gynecomastia?
Medicines for prostate cancer, treatment for HIV, recreational drugs and alcohol, some antibiotics, and even few herbal medicines could cause gynecomastia. Other causes also include certain medical conditions such as hypogonadism, liver failure, renal failure, and tumors could also cause male breast enlargement.
Overweight or obese men could also attain gynecomastia as excess fat deposits could accumulate into the adipose tissues of the breast. This also goes true to men who do bodybuilding and taking steroids.
What should I do about it?
There are several treatment options available for gynecomastia. You can either conceal it using breast compression vests or get rid of it through gynecomastia surgery, exercise, diet, or pills. If you have trouble deciding which one to choose, better talk to your doctor about it as he can help you determine which best gynecomastia cure for your condition.
Although gynecomastia is non-fatal, men who suffer from this condition could be affected emotionally, socially, and psychologically. They tend to develop low self-esteem and depression which could result to social isolation. Remember that you are not alone; there are millions of men who has the same condition as you do, try checking out support groups that are intended for gynecomastia. They’ll be able to give you advises, hear your story, and get resources and information from them regarding the latest news that pertains to the said condition.