Gynaecomastia – Why Do I Have Man Boobs?
Gynaecomastia: Causes, Effects and Treatment
Gynaecomastia is a condition that occurs when the male mammary glands enlarge leading to protrusions that resemble breasts.
It is also referred to as ‘man boobs’. It is not normal for men to have breasts and this makes this condition very embarrassing and may cause low self-esteem especially in teenagers.
Gynaecomastia is very common in adolescents. It occurs due to hormonal imbalance in the male body during puberty between the ages of 12 and 18 where oestrogen is sometimes produced in large quantities leading to enlarging of the mammary glands. It also affects infants both male and female due to oestrogens acquired from the mother. Therefore, it is somehow hereditary.
It can also occur in older men due to the reduced production of testosterone in their bodies as they grow age. Adults in their middle ages are affected by this condition mainly due to obesity. There are different forms of gynaecomastia. One of them is known as pseudo- gynaecomastia or lipomastia. It occurs in obese people where a lot of fat is stored around the breast area and the man appears to have breasts. There is also unilateral and asymmetrical gynaecomastia. Unilateral gynaecomastia is where one of the mammary glands is enlarged while the other one remains normal and asymmetrical is where both mammary glands enlarge but in different degrees.
Most of the time gynaecomastia causes are usually unknown but some factors have been found to be responsible for this condition. Obesity can lead to a lot of fat being deposited around the breast area thus lipomastia. A mother can also transfer oestrogen to her infant child, which would cause the infant’s mammary glands to enlarge. The use of some medication; such as some antibiotics used to cure stomach ulcers, antidepressants and some medication used body builders, may also lead to the development of gynaecomastia.
Other causes include the use of illegal drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines, as well as alcohol abuse. Thyroid and hormonal imbalances are also recognized as possible causes. Gynaecomastia treatment exists in various forms. A person suffering from this condition can be given medication that inhibits the production of oestrogen while at the same time canceling out the effects of oestrogen on the mammary glands. Ointments containing dihydrotestesterone can be applied on the breast area leading to male breast reduction.
Lipomastia can actually be cured by exercises such as aerobics, strength training exercises, chest presses, chest flies and push-ups as well as low fat diets to enable weight loss. Gynaecomastia surgery can be performed to remove the fat and tissue forming the breasts. Male breast reduction surgery is however very expensive since it is considered to be a cosmetic surgery. In adolescents, the breasts usually disappear on their own as the body achieves hormonal balance. The presence of gynaecomastia can indicate more serious conditions such as Gilbert’s syndrome, tumors of the adrenal or pituitary glands, testicular tumors or cancer, and chronic liver disease. It is therefore important to visit a doctor once this condition is detected.
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