Women want nothing more than large breasts; men on the other hand, want nothing less. Gynecomastia, enlarged male breasts, is a common condition that ½ of all men will experience to some degree in their lifetime. Sometimes, large breasts can be attributed to the inevitable hormonal changes of puberty or aging. Other times, though, there may be things you are doing – or not doing – that trigger your symptoms of Gynecomastia.
What medications/drugs are you taking? A wide-spread side-effect of many prescriptions is breast growth. For instance, Procardia, Valium, Zantac, as well as Anabolic steroids, such as those used by professional athletes, commonly cause Gynecomastia. Also, the use of recreational drugs, like marijuana, alcohol, and heroin, will contribute to an increase in chest tissue formation.
Are you ignoring other symptoms? Several conditions can disrupt the production of hormones, all of which can cause breast growth, as well as weight gain, rapid heart rate, hair loss, and fatigue. Hyperthyroidism is one of these conditions, occurring when the thyroid gland’s hormone production declines, eventually depleting testosterone levels. 10-40% of men suffering from hyperthyroidism will experience Gynecomastia.
When was your last physical? If you have Gynecomastia, or begin to notice a change in your breasts, it is important to see your physician so he can determine the cause. During a physical examination, your physician may detect a testicular, adrenal, and pituitary tumor; these can produce extra hormones, eventually altering the body’s male-female hormonal balance.
Do you have a history of liver problems? People with cirrhosis or liver failure will often show tell-tale signs of breast growth. When the liver is compromised, it becomes unable to break down estrogen, which will then build up in the body and cause the breast tissue increase.
How old are you? Up to 70% of boys going through puberty will show signs of ‘man boobs’ and a little more than 40% of older adults will have enlarged breasts. These are two periods in a man’s life where a fluctuation in hormone production may occur, causing a temporary growth in breast tissue.
While the root cause of male breast growth is not always treatable, it is important to determine the trigger. If your Gynecomastia symptoms do not dissolve on their own, or cause increased embarrassment and self-consciousness, visit with your cosmetic surgeon to discuss the option of Male Breast Reduction surgery.