Both men and women have mammary glands or breast tissue underneath the skin of the chest. However, when the mammary glands in a male enlarge to a noticeable size, it is not favorable at all. Male breasts are called gynecomastia. It is understandable why gynecomastia (commonly referred to as “man boobs”) can be a significant source of embarrassment for men. This soft, teardrop shaped breast tissue can cause men to avoid taking off their shirt at the pool or gym or even feel self-conscious wearing certain clothing.
Fortunately, gynecomastia isn’t something you have to live with. Men can turn to a plastic surgeon for gynecomastia treatment – or male breast reduction surgery. The technique used to reduce the size of male breast tissue is dependent on the cause and severity of gynecomastia.
What Causes Breasts in Men?
First and foremost, it is important to determine that you actually have gynecomastia. If you are an overweight male, you may simply have extra fat instead of breast tissue. In such cases, liposuction or a better diet and exercise can improve the appearance and size of your breasts.
However, when the presence of excess breast tissue is confirmed and gynecomastia is diagnosed, it can be attributed to a wide range of causes, including the following:
Hormonal imbalance is a primary culprit to male breast tissue. When testosterone is low, it can create a host of symptoms along with gynecomastia. You may also suffer from issues within your sex drive and fertility as well as fatigue, mood disorders and attention problems.
In many cases, when testosterone is low, estrogen is high (but not always). High estrogen can also contribute to gynecomastia. This hormonal shift can be genetic or caused by xenoestrogens in your environment. Symptoms of high estrogen can involve belly fat, loss of muscle, fatigue and urinary tract infections.
It is common for men to develop excess breast tissue and a skyrocket in testosterone when using anabolic steroids. These are the steroids that many males use in to build muscle or improve athletic performance. In fact, bodybuilders refer to gynecomastia as “gyno”.
Marijuana usage, certain medicatons, testicular tumors and liver disease have also been associated with male breast enlargement so it is important to rule out more serious causes.
It is important for a plastic surgeon to determine the cause of gynecomastia so that male patients realize the likelihood of their enlarged breasts returning after surgery. Dr. Spence of Hillcrest Plastic Surgery performs a detailed evaluation to identify possible causes of gynecomastia, which may include blood work, a mammogram or hormonal evaluations. If hormones are balanced and steroid usage is stopped, male breast reduction surgery can often be a long-lasting fix. In most cases, liposuction and/or a staged removal of breast tissue can be performed with well-hidden scars. To understand what your male breast reduction procedure will involve, please schedule a consult at our Orlando office today!