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Gynecomastia: We Need to Talk About It

Gynecomastia: We Need to Talk About It

Your sense of self-esteem does not begin and end with your appearance. Still, one inevitably affects the other. As a plastic surgeon who has spent many years helping patients address cosmetic concerns, Dr. Buchanan understands the relationship between appearance and self-confidence. He has seen the emotional toll that concerns like gynecomastia have on a person. This condition, which involves male breast enlargement, leads some men to alter their appearance using compression garments, to wear very loose clothing, or to retreat from social situations. Gynecomastia can affect every area of life by reducing self-confidence. It doesn’t have to. Here, we discuss how to correct this concern.

Understanding Gynecomastia

It is important to understand what gynecomastia is and what it isn’t. Many people think that a man gets enlarged breast tissue because he is overweight. Obesity can be one cause of male breast enlargement. However, in many cases, this is what we call pseudo gynecomastia. It’s just excess weight. When a man has pseudo gynecomastia and he loses weight, his chest returns to normal contours. True gynecomastia is more about body chemicals than about weight. It may be triggered by a certain medication (some anti-depressants are associated with this condition). It may relate to a man’s genetics or may occur as a man’s hormones change and his estrogen level increases beyond its normal range.

Men in the latter group hoping to resolve gynecomastia with weight loss and muscle training may be disappointed with their results. Men who take over-the-counter supplements in hopes of minimizing breast size may not only be disappointed but may also experience unnecessary side effects or worsen the problem. For true resolution, it helps to see a plastic surgeon.

Male breast enlargement is treatable. A plastic surgeon devises a treatment plan after performing a thorough examination of the breast tissue. Treatment may involve liposuction to remove excess fatty tissue and sculpt the chest. It may require the removal of the breast gland or even skin tightening, depending on the severity of the laxity. Each of these techniques can be performed using a local anesthetic, minimizing the risks of treatment.

Men often live with gynecomastia when they do not have to. For more information on male breast reduction, call our Highlands, NC office at (828) 526-3783.

The Causes of Gynecomastia

GynecomastiaIt’s true…many women want big breasts…but men who are dealing with “man boobs,” or gynecomastia, dread the thought. Occasionally gynecomastia causes a tiny lump under one or both nipples; sometimes it results in large, pendulous breasts. But no matter the way it manifests itself, gynecomastia can be embarrassing and inhibiting. Weight loss may help, but there is a surgical procedure designed to treat gynecomastia – it’s called reduction mammoplasty, and Dr. Buchanan is a specialist.

What causes gynecomastia? Most cases are “idiopathic,” meaning there is no obvious cause. But male breasts can also arise from a variety of factors, including:

Obesity. Being overweight is a problem for guys concerned with the size of their breasts. When extra fat gets deposited on the chest, as it often does, the breasts become larger. Excessive fat also stimulates the body’s production of estrogen, spurring the growth of breast tissue.

Heredity. Some cases of gynecomastia are inherited. One disorder that can cause man boobs is Klinefelter’s Syndrome, in which there is an additional X chromosome in addition to the usual X and Y chromosomes

Puberty. Hormone levels surge at puberty, causing breast tissue to swell in boys as well as in girls. Doctors often recommend “watchful waiting” for gynecomastia that arises during puberty, because many cases go away on their own. But if a young man’s boobs persist for more that a couple of years, they’re unlikely to go away without treatment

Aging. Men often develop man boobs as they age. This is typically the result of hormone imbalances

Drug side effects. Some prescription medications can cause man boobs, including amphetamines, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, antibiotics, and ulcer medications.

Steroids. Male bodybuilders who abuse anabolic steroids sometimes develop breasts. Steroids can be chemically changed into estrogen inside the body, resulting in the growth of breast as well as muscle tissue

Alcohol abuse. Drinking which is severe enough to cause liver disease can alter the way the body metabolizes hormones, resulting in breast enlargement.

Summer is an ideal time to address your gynecomastia concerns. If you have additional questions, call to schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Buchanan, today: (828) 526-3783.

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