The primary symptom of gynecomastia is the development of male breast enlargement.
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia, or “man-boobs,” refers to enlarged male breasts caused by an enlargement of breast glandular tissue. The cause of gynecomastia is when there are low levels of testosterone compared to estrogen, the female hormone. Gynecomastia may affect both breasts or may only affect one breast, usually on the left side.
Gynecomastia symptoms occur in males at three times during their lives:
- Male babies are born with gynecomastia due to the effects of the mother’s estrogen. The enlarged breasts usually resolve within three weeks after birth.
- During puberty, gynecomastia develops in the majority of boys. Breast enlargement during puberty is often referred to as teen gynecomastia and will normally resolve within two years.
- Approximately 25% of men over 60 years old can develop gynecomastia. The cause of gynecomastia symptoms is associated with weight gain and the change in testosterone levels that typically begin to fall when men get older, causing “low-T”. The low-T causes enlarged breast glandular tissue, and the weight gain increases breast volume, resulting in enlarged male breasts.
Symptoms of Gynecomastia
Common gynecomastia symptoms include:
- Male breast glandular tissue enlargement. Gynecomastia symptoms can occur in one or both breasts, and the male breast enlargement can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. The glandular tissue is located below the nipple and usually feels firm or rubbery.
- Male breasts may be tender or painful (consistently or intermittently) when touched.
- In young boys going through puberty, a breast bud or disc may be felt under the nipple. This breast bud usually resolves within two years.
- On rare occasions, male breast cancer may develop. Malignant (cancerous) breast masses usually occur in older men, and gynecomastia symptoms often develop on only one side. Additional symptoms of male breast cancer may include skin puckering, nipple discharge, contraction of the nipple, or enlarged lymph nodes in the underarms.
- Another cause of breast swelling can be due to an infection or a breast abscess. Infection is rare and is associated with pain, swelling, skin color changes, and fever.
Diagnosis of Gynecomastia
A gynecomastia diagnosis will include a full review of your medical history and a physical exam. Occasionally blood tests may be requested when there is no obvious cause of your gynecomastia symptoms.
Treatment of Gynecomastia Symptoms
Male breast reduction surgery is a proven treatment to permanently get rid of enlarged male breasts. Breast gland excision with liposuction is the most common procedure for gynecomastia. Before surgery, your surgeon will determine the cause of your gynecomastia symptoms and discuss the different options available with gynecomastia surgery.
Choosing Your Plastic Surgeon
Gynecomastia surgery is performed by various types of surgeons. For the highest likelihood of successful gynecomastia surgery, you should choose a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in treating gynecomastia.
For personalized information about gynecomastia plastic surgery procedures, please complete Dr. Delgado’s inquiry form.
Miguel Delgado, M.D., F.A.C.S is a world-renowned Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon granted by the American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Society. Dr. Delgado has a surgical practice solely dedicated to cosmetic plastic surgery. He specializes in gynecomastia surgery and is the medical director of Gynecomastia.org, the oldest and largest gynecomastia forum dedicated to supporting, educating, and providing solutions for men with breast enlargement. Dr. Delgado celebrates 30 years of practice in San Francisco, California. He was voted the “Best Plastic Surgeon of 2017-2021”.
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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.