What is gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is enlargement of the gland tissue of the male breast. During infancy, puberty, and in middle-aged to older men, gynecomastia can be common. Gynecomastia must be distinguished from pseudogynecomastia, which refers to the presence of fat deposits in the breast area of obese men. True gynecomastia results from growth of the glandular, or breast tissue, which is present in very small amounts in men.
What causes gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia results from an imbalance in hormone levels in which levels of estrogen (female hormones) are increased relative to levels of androgens (male hormones). Gynecomastia that occurs in normally-growing infant and pubertal boys that resolves on its own with time is known as physiologic gynecomastia.
All individuals, whether male or female, possess both female hormones (estrogens) and male hormones (androgens). During puberty, levels of these hormones may fluctuate and rise at different levels, resulting in a temporary state in which estrogen concentration is relatively high. Studies regarding the prevalence of gynecomastia in normal adolescents have yielded widely varying results, with prevalence estimates as low as 4% and as high as 69% of adolescent boys. These differences probably result from variations in what is perceived to be normal and the different ages of boys examined in the studies.
Gynecomastia caused by transient changes in hormone levels with growth usually disappears on its own within six months to two years. Occasionally, gynecomastia that develops in puberty persists beyond two years and is referred to as persistent pubertal gynecomastia
Gynecomastia can also be a side effect of a number of medications. Examples of drugs that can be associated with gynecomastia are listed below:
spironolactone (Aldactone), a diuretic that has anti-androgenic activity;
Calcium channel blockers used to treat hypertension [such as nifedipine (Procardia and others)];
ACE inhibitor drugs for hypertension [captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec)];
some antibiotics [for example, isoniazid, ketoconazole (Nizoral, Extina, Xolegel, Kuric), and metronidazole (Flagyl)];
anti-ulcer drugs [such as ranitidine (Zantac), cimetidine (Tagamet), and omeprazole (Prilosec)];
highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) for HIV disease, which may cause fat redistribution leading to pseudogynecomastia or, in some cases, true gynecomastia;
Sometimes, it is just a trait that is inherited. Whatever the cause, there is an easy solution. We specialize in a minimally invasive procedure that is ambulatory, and only uses local anesthesia. You will leave the clinic after a few hours, and resume most normal activities in a few days.
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