We commonly think about women when referring to breast disorders. Men lack lobular development, making them less susceptible to breast problems such as cysts and fibroadenomas; however, issues can still arise. Just like women, the male breast tissue is composed of adipose tissue, or fat, as well as glandular tissue, with cells affected by the body’s vast hormonal system. This tissue composition means that many men will develop a breast disorder at some point in their lifetime, ranging from a mild problem to a severe health condition. It is a lack of knowledge that makes guys uncomfortable speaking up and seeking help. Four of the most common breast disorders seen in men, each worthy of medical attention, include:
Haven’t heard of Jogger’s Nipple? Maybe not, but you probably know someone who has suffered from it. Jogger’s Nipple, like the name implies, is often seen in men who exercise for prolonged periods. Nipples become red, painful, and swollen from the constant irritation of their shirt rubbing up and down on their chest. Over time, the nipples can become so raw they bleed. This is especially bad in hot, humid weather conditions. There are several solutions to Jogger’s Nipple, including running attire made especially for exercise or small pads that can be placed over this sensitive area. If not addressed, the irritation may lead to a wound that is slow to heal, leading to infection and scarring.
Fluid leaking from the nipple can happen in anyone, not just lactating women. When men are born they have the same milk ducts as females, however during puberty, high testosterone levels will change most of these into fatty tissue. Men can unexpectedly see nipple discharge, from an almost clear color to dark and milky, all of which point to an underlying problem. Nipple discharge can be caused by blocked/inflamed milk ducts, breast cancer, gynecomastia, breast infection, and a pituitary tumor. Any time a man notices discharge from his nipples, it is time for a doctor evaluation, as this could be a sign of a serious infection or illness.
Male Breast Cancer
While fewer men will have a breast cancer diagnosis than women, the number is still significant. It is expected that more than 2,000 men will develop breast cancer in 2018, while 178,000 ladies will have the same diagnosis. For both men and women, early detection and treatment is key to saving lives. Self-examinations are of upmost importance. Look for firm, painless lumps, often appearing under the nipple. Risk factors include age, low testosterone levels, and a strong family history, especially in men with the BRCAx cancer gene.
While many breast issues are rare for men, gynecomastia – enlargement of breast tissue – is extremely common. Up to 70% of all men will experience temporary gynecomastia at some point in their life. True gynecomastia is caused by excessive growth in the breast’s glandular tissue. Pockets of adipose tissue, or fat, can also change the shape of the male breast. Gynecomastia may be the result of a hormonal imbalance, prescription medications, street drugs, chronic illness, or age. Luckily, successful gynecomastia treatment is available. Surgical excision can successfully reduce glandular tissue, flattening the chest and reducing puffy nipples. Liposuction can be used to eliminate unwanted fatty tissue. A combination of both surgical excitation and liposuction is often used to achieve optimal results.
Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery, Experienced in Male Breast Reduction Techniques:
If you or someone you care about is struggling with excess breast tissue, enlist the help of Houston plastic surgeon, Dr. Paul Vitenas. Call Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery at (281) 668-7370 to schedule a gynecomastia consultation.