Gynecomastia (Breast Development) in Men
Gynecomastia is the abnormal swelling of breast tissue in men. While gynecomastia is generally attributed to a hormone imbalance, research has shown that certain drugs and medical conditions can cause male patients to develop enlarged breasts. Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts, and can cause milk to be produced in some cases. Gynecomastia may initially be felt as a tender lump beneath the nipple, and is most commonly seen during puberty.
Causes of Gynecomastia
When caused by a hormone imbalance, gynecomastia may go away on its own, however, the condition may have other causes including –
- Use of anabolic steroids
- Excess exposure to the female hormone estrogen
- Testosterone deficiency
- Marijuana use
- Liver, kidney, or thyroid disease
- A side effect of certain medications including
- Ulcer medications
- Cancer medications
- Cardiovascular medications
- Anti-psychotics like Risperdal
Treatments for Gynecomastia
When drugs or medications are determined to be the cause of gynecomastia, stopping their use is the first course of treatment.
There are no drugs on the market that have U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval as viable treatments for gynecomastia. While certain medications, like testosterone replacement therapy, anti-estrogen medications, and some drugs used primarily in the treatment of breast cancer can be somewhat effective at reducing breast tissue when used in the early stages of gynecomastia, surgery may be the only real option.
Emotional, Psychological and Physical Damages Associated with Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia is not generally associated as a cause of other physical issues, however, its affect on young boys and men can be extremely psychologically and emotionally damaging as breast tissue can swell greatly. Those affected may feel great shame and embarrassment and suffer severe humiliation and self-loathing, are often taunted and teased by their peers and may find it very difficult to engage in normal activities including swimming, gym class, and dating Psychological help is often needed to help the victims deal with the mental and emotional scars this condition may cause. Though breast reduction surgery can greatly assist with self-image going forward, emotional damage may remain.