What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is the medical term for the occurrence of enlarged breast tissue in men. Caused by a hormonal imbalance, gynecomastia can cause emotional and social anxiety, leading many men to seek treatment when they feel embarrassed. While distressing, gynecomastia is actually relatively common, with about 60% of men worldwide exhibiting male breast tissue to some degree.
Do I Have Gynecomastia?
Swollen, enlarged male breasts
Moveable, fibrous tissue beneath the nipple in one or both breasts
Tissue that feels like a firm mass, distinct from softer fatty tissue
Changes in mood and sex drive due to low hormone levels
Body changes including more body fat
Not all “moobs” (man boobs) are classified as gynecomastia – they can also be pseudogynecomastia, a condition that is characterized by excess body fat in the chest. A gynecomastia specialist can help you properly diagnose your medical conditions.
Sculpt Your Chest Simulator
Most males affected by enlarged breasts desire a more masculine, contoured appearance in the chest region, but it’s difficult to imagine post-surgical results just by looking in the mirror. Fortunately, there’s an easier way to predict what you’ll look like after gynecomastia surgery. Our user-friendly virtual tool simulates results that correlate to your aesthetic goals.
Step 1: Get your camera ready and give it your best shot
Your pictures don’t have to be perfect but they should have adequate lighting and good posture to feature the parts of your body you’d like to correct. Take a few photos of yourself in profile view and upload them to our program.
Step 2: Make yourself look good
Our user-friendly software allows for easy editing. Use the tool to smooth out any flaws and refine your chest until you’re satisfied with the results. There’s always the option to undo or redo your last change, so don’t worry if you mess up. Then, you can save your photo and share the chosen “after” image with us.
Step 3: Contact a board-certified plastic surgeon
Schedule a male breast reduction consultation with Dr. Miguel Delgado. During your consultation, your gynecomastia expert will discuss the best ways to give you a more masculine appearance and maximize the contours of your chest.
What Are the Symptoms of Gynecomastia?
Understanding the symptoms of gynecomastia can help you gain a better understanding of how to cope with the condition and get rid of breast growth. The most noticeable symptom of gynecomastia is enlarged breasts. Some other symptoms might include:
Itchiness of the nipple and underarm area
Breasts that feel tender to the touch
Painful or one-sided swelling
Bloody discharge from the nipple
Feeling feverish or unwell for an unknown reason
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have gynecomastia. If you’re only experiencing swelling and fatty breast tissue, this is referred to as pseudogynecomastia. By visiting Dr. Delgado you can receive proper diagnosis and treatment for gynecomastia or pseudogynecomastia.
The Anatomy of the Male Breast
A normal male breast contains some glandular, or breast, tissue.
The breasts of men and women are both composed of breast tissue, fatty tissue, and connective tissue. Women have a larger amount of glandular (breast) tissue than men, with the amount of tissue present fluctuating throughout the woman’s life.
Men with gynecomastia have more breast tissue present due to changes in hormone levels. Because glandular tissue is located at the front of the breast, an increase in glandular tissue causes a noticeable protrusion on the male breast. This causes the breasts to take on a more feminine appearance.
- Normal Male BreastSmall amount of gland tissue.
- GynecomastiaBreast contains excess gland tissue.
- PseudogynecomastiaSmall amount of gland tissue.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia occurs due to a hormonal imbalance and less testosterone.
Men produce both testosterone and estrogen – the male and female sex hormones, respectively – but in different quantities. When a man’s testosterone levels decrease and estrogen levels increase, it can cause gynecomastia, and breast tissue can develop. This hormone imbalance can be triggered by different risk factors.
There are a number of highly referenced medical conditions and recreational drugs connected to breast tissue growth in men, such as specific congenital disorders and anabolic steroid abuse. Men who drink alcohol may be more likely to experience enlarged breasts. Age and massive weight loss can also be related to breast growth in one or both breasts.
Did You Know?
Quick facts about gynecomastia and testosterone levels:
Adult men can develop enlarged breasts, often between ages 50-80.
After the age of 30, testosterone levels decrease by 1% every year
Up to 70% of adolescent boys can suffer from temporary or permanent swelling of breast tissue
An estimated 10–25% of cases result from the use of medications and certain drugs
How Bad Is My Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia can be classified based on physical features.
When gynecomastia surgeons perform a physical exam, they look at different physical features to determine the severity of the swollen breast tissue. Some features include breast size, breast ptosis (droopiness), excess skin, puffiness in the nipples, skin elasticity, amount of excess breast tissue, and chest shape.
They may also perform a blood test to diagnose any hormone imbalance. This may help influence treatment for other risk factors.
The American Society of Plastic Surgery developed a classification system allowing specialists to evaluate your condition and how to best treat it.*
- Grade 1: Minor breast enlargement, no excess skin
- Grade 2A: Moderately swollen breast tissue, no excess skin
- Grade 2B: Moderate breast enlargement, some excess skin
- Grade 3: Significant swollen breast tissue, excess skin
Medical Treatment for Gynecomastia
There are many resources available online that can help you explore your treatment options. You may find that diet and exercise (when done properly) are effective ways to reduce body fat. While websites are a good place to start, they are not a replacement for a consultation with a doctor who is experienced in treating men with gynecomastia.
However, if your chest contains harder breast gland tissue, it would need to be removed surgically in order to achieve a lean, masculine look. Read patient stories to know what to expect and find out how much surgery can cost.
Are There Non-Surgical Ways to Treat Gynecomastia?
|What effect does it have?
|Minor. May help with excess fat, but will not affect glandular tissue
|Minor to significant. Diet and exercise may help reduce the amount of fatty tissue.
|Non-Invasive Fat Reduction
|Minor. May help reduce excess fat, no impact on glandular tissue
|Minor to significant. It will depend on individual anatomy and responsiveness.
|Minor to moderate. Excellent for fat removal, but will not affect the glandular tissue
|Significant. Liposuction can remove excess pockets of fat
|Gynecomastia surgery (tissue excision)
|Significant. Can help reshape the breast
Gynecomastia Surgery Steps
There are different types of sedation used in male breast reduction surgery, including local and general anesthesia. Your plastic surgeon will detail his preferences prior to surgery.
Incisions: During the procedure, incisions are made, typically around the edge of the areola.
Liposuction: Fat is removed via suction.
Tissue Excision: Excess breast gland tissue is removed.
Suturing: After the breast tissue excision, the incisions are closed.
Bandage and Dressing: One or both breasts are dressed with bandages.
Gynecomastia surgeons share their thoughts on everything from the latest techniques and technological advancements to drug controversies and treatment updates. Read our gynecomastia blog here.
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The content on Gynecomastia.org is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice. It does not replace the need to meet with a physician who will accurately diagnose your condition and suggest treatment options.