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Gynaecomastia

What is Gynaecomastia

Gynaecomastia, also spelled as gynecomastia, is a medical condition that causes the enlargement of male breast tissue. It can occur in one or both breasts and is caused by an imbalance of hormones, particularly estrogen and testosterone. This condition is relatively common, affecting up to 70% of adolescent boys and up to 65% of men aged 50 or older. While it is not a serious medical condition, it can cause discomfort, embarrassment, and psychological distress for those who experience it.

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Symptoms of Gynaecomastia

The main symptom of gynaecomastia is the enlargement of male breast tissue. Other symptoms can include:

  1. Swelling and tenderness in the breast tissue

  2. An asymmetrical appearance of the breasts

  3. Nipple discharge, either clear or milky

  4. Pain or discomfort in the breast tissue

Gynaecomastia can affect one or both breasts and can occur in varying degrees of severity. In some cases, the breast tissue may be so enlarged that it resembles that of a female breast. It is important to consult a healthcare professional if any of these symptoms are experienced.

Causes of Gynaecomastia

Gynaecomastia is caused by an imbalance of hormones in the body, particularly estrogen and testosterone. This hormonal imbalance can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. Puberty: Gynaecomastia is common during puberty as the body undergoes hormonal changes. In most cases, the breast tissue will return to normal within a few months to a few years.

  2. Aging: As men age, their hormone levels change, and gynaecomastia can occur as a result.

  3. Medications: Certain medications, such as anabolic steroids, anti-androgens, and some medications used to treat heart conditions, can cause gynaecomastia as a side effect.

  4. Health conditions: Certain health conditions, such as liver or kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or low testosterone levels, can cause hormonal imbalances that can lead to gynaecomastia.

  5. Substance abuse: The use of alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs can cause hormonal imbalances that can lead to gynaecomastia.

In many cases, the exact cause of gynaecomastia is unknown. It is important to consult a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment options.

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Treatment

The treatment for gynaecomastia depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. In many cases, gynaecomastia will resolve on its own without any specific treatment

  1. Medications: Certain medications, such as tamoxifen and raloxifene, can help reduce the size of breast tissue in men.

  2. Surgery: In some cases, surgical removal of breast tissue may be necessary. This is typically reserved for severe cases of gynaecomastia that do not respond to other treatments.

  3. Lifestyle changes: Making certain lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, reducing alcohol and drug use, and increasing exercise, can help reduce the severity of gynaecomastia.

  4. Hormone therapy: If gynaecomastia is caused by a hormonal imbalance, hormone therapy may be recommended to restore the balance of hormones in the body.

It is important to discuss all treatment options with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate course of action based on the individual's specific circumstances.

FAQs around Gynaecomastia

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