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You probably have heard all the terms: moobs, man boobs, gyno, bitch tits, and probably made all the excuses why you won’t take your shirt off at the beach or pool or in front of your significant other.

You have what we medically define as gynecomastia – or “man boobs” commonly. What exactly does that really mean?

You have excess breast tissue or enlarged breasts that occurs in some men due to several factors and becomes similar to the appearance of female breasts. This enlargement of a man’s chest is medically known as gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is the excessive growth of breast tissue in men and is caused by high levels of the female hormone estrogen. The root cause of excess estrogen can be medication side effects, reliance on steroid and hormonal supplements for muscle building, a pre-existing medical condition, or even right down to genetics and a genetic disorder.

Estrogen is actually normal for men to have in their body, but only a certain amount of estrogen in their body and it occurs naturally in much lower levels. With this condition, there is an abnormal and excessive level of estrogen hormones which causes breast development.

Generally, gynecomastia isn’t a serious health or medical problem, but it can be tough to cope with the condition psychologically.

How do you know if you have gynecomastia?

Some of the signs and symptoms of gynecomastia include:

  • Swollen breast gland tissue
  • Breast tenderness
  • Puffy areolas
  • Discharge from the nipples
  • The breast bud in one or both breasts is around the size of a nickel or quarter.

What are the Causes of Gynecomastia?

  • Medications – Several medications can cause gynecomastia. Some of the medications that can cause man boobs are: anabolic steroids, AIDS medications, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, antibiotics, ulcer medications, chemotherapy, and heart medications.
  • Street drugs and alcohol – illegal drugs such as amphetamines, marijuana, heroin and methadone, have all been reported to increase male breast tissue in chronic users.
  • Health conditions – conditions such as hypogonadism or any of the conditions that interfere with normal testosterone production.
  • Aging – Hormone changes that occur with normal aging can cause gynecomastia, especially in men who are overweight.
  • Tumors – Some tumors, such as those involving the testes, adrenal glands or pituitary gland, can produce hormones that alter the male-female hormone balance.
  • Hyperthyroidism – In this condition, the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine.
  • Kidney failure – About half the people being treated with regular hemodialysis experience gynecomastia due to hormonal changes.
  • Liver failure and cirrhosis – Hormonal fluctuations related to liver problems as well as medications taken for cirrhosis are associated with gynecomastia.
  • Malnutrition and starvation – When your body is deprived of adequate nutrition, testosterone levels drop, but estrogen levels remain constant, causing a hormonal imbalance.

What Do I Do For My Gynecomastia?

If you are considering gynecomastia surgery, contact Dr. Edward S. Kole at The Kole Plastic Surgery Center to schedule a complimentary consultation and evaluation. Liposuction may be recommended to remove the breast fat or mastectomy may be recommended to remove the breast gland. Each case is unique and it is best to have a consultation to determine the best treatment course of action.

The Kole Plastic Surgery Center is Pennsylvania’s premier plastic surgery provider and welcomes patients from Philadelphia, Bucks County and the surrounding areas.

Please contact us at your earliest convenience at (215) 354-1010 to schedule your complimentary gynecomastia consultation. Financing options are available for those who need assistance with their procedures.