Gynecomastia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Introduction – Gynecomastia Specialist in Maryland

As a gynecomastia specialist in Montgomery County, Maryland, I specialize in providing tailored care to individuals experiencing hormone imbalances that result in gynecomastia, utilizing a comprehensive, evidence-based approach.

Conveniently located in Rockville, my practice offers virtual and in-person services, extending support to nearby areas such as Chevy Chase, Bethesda, North Bethesda, Potomac, North Potomac, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Frederick, Silver Spring, Northern Virginia, Howard County, Anne Arundel, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, ensuring comprehensive care.

Overview of Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is a medical condition characterized by the development of enlarged breast tissue in males. While not typically harmful, it can cause physical discomfort and emotional distress. Let’s delve into the details of gynecomastia, including its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.

Causes of Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is commonly caused by an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen hormones in males. Normally, men have higher levels of testosterone, which prevents the growth of breast tissue. However, when estrogen levels increase or testosterone levels decrease, breast tissue can develop.

Several factors can contribute to hormonal imbalances leading to gynecomastia:

  1. Puberty: Hormonal changes during puberty can cause temporary gynecomastia in adolescent boys. This often resolves on its own within a few months to a couple of years.
  2. Aging: As men age, testosterone levels may decline while estrogen levels remain relatively stable, leading to an increased risk of gynecomastia.
  3. Medications: Certain medications can disrupt hormone levels, including some used to treat prostate conditions, cancer, or heart conditions. These may include anabolic steroids, anti-androgens, and some antidepressants.
  4. Health Conditions: Conditions such as hypogonadism (impaired testicular function), hyperthyroidism, liver disease, or kidney failure can contribute to hormonal imbalances.
  5. Lifestyle Factors: Excessive alcohol consumption, use of recreational drugs like marijuana or heroin, and certain herbal supplements can also disrupt hormone levels and contribute to gynecomastia.

Symptoms of Gynecomastia

The primary symptom of gynecomastia is the enlargement of one or both breasts. The breast tissue may feel firm or rubbery and can be tender or sensitive to touch. In some cases, there may be pain or discomfort in the breast area.

Other signs and symptoms that may accompany gynecomastia include:

  • Enlarged or puffy nipples.
  • Asymmetric breast growth (one breast larger than the other).
  • Psychological distress or embarrassment due to breast enlargement.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect you have gynecomastia, it’s important to consult an endocrinologist for an accurate diagnosis. The doctor will perform a physical examination and may recommend tests to evaluate hormone levels, liver function, or other underlying health conditions.

Treatment options for gynecomastia depend on its underlying cause and severity:

  1. Monitoring: In some cases, especially during puberty, gynecomastia may resolve on its own without any specific treatment. Regular monitoring may be recommended.
  2. Medications: If gynecomastia is caused by medications or underlying health conditions, adjusting or discontinuing the medication may help resolve the condition.
  3. Surgery: In cases where gynecomastia persists and causes significant discomfort or psychological distress, surgical procedures such as liposuction or mastectomy (removal of breast tissue) may be considered.
  4. Lifestyle Changes: Addressing lifestyle factors such as reducing alcohol consumption, quitting recreational drugs, and maintaining a healthy weight can help manage gynecomastia.

Summary

Gynecomastia is a common condition that affects males of all ages. While it may not pose a serious health risk, it can impact self-esteem and quality of life. If you suspect you have gynecomastia, seek a specialized endocrinologist for proper diagnosis and appropriate management. Treatment options are available to alleviate symptoms and address underlying causes, helping individuals feel more comfortable and confident in their bodies.

Dr. Tashko