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Gynaecomastia Male Breast and Treatment

May 9, 2016

shalbyhospitals

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What is Gynaecomastia?

Gynaecomastia (sometimes referred to as "man boobs") is a common condition that causes boys’ and men’s breasts to swell and become larger than normal. It is most common in teenage boys and older men.

It can be defined as the presence of >2 cm of palpable, firm, sub areolar gland and ductal breast tissue. It may occur at any time and there are a number of causes, some physiological and others pathological.

Epidemiology

Gynecomastia is common and is thought to be present in at least a third of men in the course of their lifetime.

Pathophysiology

Once breast tissue is stimulated to grow, it leads to proliferation of breast ducts and fibroblastic stroma. If the stimulus to proliferation continues, then the ducts and fibroblastic stroma are replaced by fibrosis and Gynaecomastia becomes well established and irreversible.

What are the signs of Gynaecomastia?

Signs vary from a small amount of extra tissue around the nipples to more prominent breasts. It can affect one or both breasts. Sometimes, the breast tissue can be tender or painful, but this isn’t always the case.

What causes Gynaecomastia?

Idiopathic-

Means usually there are no causes found.

Gynaecomastia can have several causes

Hormone imbalance-

If the balance of hormones in the body changes, this can cause a man’s breasts to grow. Sometimes, the cause of this imbalance is unknown.

Obesity-

Some growth in breast tissue is not due to extra body fat from being overweight, so losing weight or doing more exercise may not improve the condition. However, a common reason for Gynaecomastia is that being very overweight (obese) can increase levels of Oestrogen, which can cause breast tissue to grow.

Other causes-

In rare cases, Gynaecomastia can be caused by:

  • side effects of medication – such as anti-ulcer drugs or medication for heart disease
  • illegal drugs – such as cannabis or anabolic steroids
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • a health abnormality – such as kidney failure or liver disease
  • Klinefelter’s syndrome (a rare genetic disorder)
  • lumps or infection in the testicles

Examination

If there is any doubt ultrasonography or mammography may help

  • Size and asymmetry
  • General Check-up

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