Gynecomastia, commonly referred to as man boobs, is a condition which causes both boys and men to develop enlarged breasts. The enlargement of the males’ breasts is due to the abnormal enlargement or swelling of the mammary glands, an organ in the female breast that produces milk. Young men will usually begin to show signs of gynecomastia during the early ages of puberty, due to an abnormally large amount of female hormones received from the adolescents mother, and often in adults, due to disease or a metabolic disorder.
Though it isn’t usually considered a “serious problem,” meaning it doesn’t usually have adverse health effects, it is often quite difficult for men and boys to deal with.
Common Symptoms Associated With Gynecomastia
The earliest symptoms of gynecomastia are often found during the early stages of puberty; common signs include the swelling of the breast and sometimes painful nipples. Though it usually occurs in both breasts, it is quite common that one breast often becomes larger than the other, which is a common way to differentiate gynecomastia from male breast cancer, which usually forms in only one breast.
Though gynecomastia usually causes the breasts to become tender and sensitive, there is never usually an intense pain associated with it. One of the most common symptoms are Puffy nipples, which is usually due to the enlarging of the glandular tissue which is located behind the areola.
Known Causes of Gynecomastia
The main cause of gynecomastia is a deficiency of testosterone in comparison of estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. Several things can disrupt this balance between testosterone and estrogen, things such as conditions that increase estrogen production or conditions that cause testosterone to be blocked or reduced.
Aging has also been known to be a major factor in many gynecomastia cases, more so in men who have become overweight.
How Gynecomastia Is Dealt With and Treated
Though gynecomastia usually regresses as boys age, it is quite common for boys to retain it. As of now there are no “sure cures” for for the condition but there are a few ways to treat it and reduce it’s effects.
Drugs, or supplements, are commonly used by patients who are struggling with gynecomastia. These drugs include some forms of testosterone, which is meant to boost the male’s testosterone with the intentions of reducing the size of the gynecomastia, and aromatase inhibitors, which are used in order to block or reduce the amount of estrogen that the body is producing.