What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is an enlargement of the breast tissue in men of any age. It can affect one or both the breasts and is a result of heredity, hormonal changes, use of drugs or obesity. Even though breasts don't develop in the male the way they do in women, all men are born with a considerable amount of breast tissue.
Gynecomastia can evoke different emotional discomfort in men and even causes a little pain. It is not a serious problem which may also go away on its own. However, if the problem persists, it is better to consult a doctor.
Gynecomastia surgery candidates include:
- Men who want to gain back their confidence
- Men whose condition has not improved by alternative medical treatments
- Men who are healthy and have elastic skin for the surgery
- Non-drug users and non-smokers
- Men who are unhappy and think their breasts are too large
- Men with stabilized breast growth
What is the risk?
There is a certain degree of risk involved with every surgery. Skin injury, infection or excessive bleeding are some of the risks associated with Gynecomastia. Along with that, the surgery may lead to pigment changes in the breast area, scars, numbness, loss of breast sensation, and mismatched breasts or nipples. However, a second attempt with the procedure may correct unevenness.
How is the surgery performed?
Nonsurgical procedures like gyming, dieting and Ayurvedic medicines should be preferred to heal mild gynecomastia. If these cures don't help the patient, it is better to consult a doctor. The first step is to opt for a complete medical evaluation and understand the whole procedure. The surgery is suitable for any male above the age of 18 years who are medically fit. The duration of the surgical procedure is around one and a half hour or two and usually takes place after the patient is made comfortable with the use of local anesthesia plus sedation.
After that, an incision is made around the nipple by the doctor to remove excess fat and/or glandular tissue from the breasts. In some cases, it becomes necessary to remove excess skin also for which additional incisions are made. Further, your plastic surgeon may also suggest performing liposuction along with gynecomastia surgery.
What about recovery?
Few days after the surgery, the patient may feel a little discomfort for which the doctor will prescribe medication. There are chances, one can experience swelling and bruising which will take some time to heal and can be minimized by wearing a pressure garment. Besides, within a month, the patient can resume to his/her normal activities.
Causes for gynecomastia
One major myth that is associated with gynecomastia is that it occurs in males who have extra fat from being overweight. Gynecomastia results from a hormonal imbalance in the body which leads to enlargement of male breasts. The human body is blessed with male hormones, androgens, and female hormones, estrogens to a certain extent. Gynecomastia is very normal and occurs when estrogens are more compared to androgens in the male body. Besides, 70% of boys get it during puberty, and the same resolve on its own as hormone levels return to normal.
Medications that can cause gynecomastia:
- Anti-androgens such as flutamide, spironolactone (Aldactone), and finasteride (Proscar, Propecia).
- Anabolic steroids and androgens
- Gastric motility medications, such as metoclopramide (Reglan).
- Tricyclic antidepressants.
- Anti-anxiety medications, such as diazepam (Valium)
- Heart medications, such as digoxin (Lanoxin) and calcium channel blockers.
- AIDS medications.
- Cancer treatment (chemotherapy).
Other causes for gynecomastia:
- Alcohol consumption
Certain health conditions can cause gynecomastia such as follows:
- Malnutrition and starvation
- Liver failure and cirrhosis
- Kidney failure
Precautions to take into considerations:
It is necessary to understand that gynecomastia caused by health conditions that can be prevented. In cases where the hormonal balance goes off in the male body, gynecomastia cannot be prevented. However, it is best to take a few precautions from one's end.
- Avoid the use of illicit drugs
- Don't drink alcohol
- Always keep a check on your medications