Everything You Need to Know About Gynecomastia

Having gynecomastia, sometimes known as “man-boobs”, can have a huge impact on your life. It can take a toll on your self-esteem and may make you self-conscious to the extent that everything from going on a date to a fun day at the beach becomes uncomfortable.

But you can take solace in the fact that this condition is more common than you think. Do you know that 70% of teenage boys experience gynecomastia? And more than 65% of adult men in the United States have this condition as well.

In this blog, we will demystify gynecomastia and tell you everything you need to know about how you can seek treatment and reclaim your self-esteem.

What Is Gynecomastia?

The word “gynecomastia” is derived from the Greek words “gyne” (feminine) and “mastos” (breast) and refers to the condition of developing excess glandular tissue in the male chest. It starts as a rubbery, stiff lump under and around the nipple and then spreads across your chest. Although it typically affects both sides of your body, sometimes it only affects one. When touched, this developing tissue may feel delicate or painful.

Changes in this part of the body may cause you to be concerned about breast cancer, but gynecomastia is a benign condition that’s not related to male breast cancer. However, this condition can be a source of anxiety and stress for men experiencing it. If gynecomastia is adversely affecting your mental health, seeking treatment may be one of the ways to help relieve your stress about your body.

What Causes Gynecomastia?

GynecomastiaGynecomastia can be caused by a variety of reasons, including hormonal imbalance, certain drugs & medications, and health conditions. The following are some of the most common causes of gynecomastia.

Hormonal Imbalance

Gynecomastia is typically caused by an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone hormones. Both men and women produce these hormones in different ratios.

In men, testosterone is the predominant sex hormone, while estrogen is the primary sex hormone in women. Men can suffer from gynecomastia if there is an excess of estrogen in the body or a decline in testosterone. Keep in mind that hormonal imbalances can happen at any age. A simple blood test can be used to identify it, and medication & lifestyle changes can be prescribed to balance these hormones.


Gynecomastia is most common in teenagers due to hormonal fluctuations. The hormonal balance may briefly change during this time, leading to breast tissue enlargement.

It occasionally appears between the ages of 10 and 12, but usually develops between the ages of 13 and 14. In up to 20% of cases, the condition lasts beyond the age of 17. The good news is that this kind of gynecomastia typically goes away on its own in a few months to a few years.

Drugs and Medications

Certain drugs and medications may directly or indirectly cause gynecomastia as a side effect. Anabolic steroids, anti-androgens, anti-anxiety drugs, some antidepressants, AIDS medication, chemotherapy, and heart medications are a few of them. Gynecomastia can also be caused by the use of recreational drugs like marijuana, heroin, and alcohol.

Health Conditions

Several health conditions can cause gynecomastia by changing the levels of estrogen and testosterone. For instance, problems with the testicles, like testicular cancer or testicular damage, might interfere with hormone production and cause the formation of breast tissue. Gynecomastia can also be caused by other illnesses such as hypogonadism, liver disease, kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism.

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Gynecomastia Treatment 

The treatment for gynecomastia will be determined by the underlying cause of your condition as well as its severity. Additionally, it will rely on your concerns as to how your chest should look. 

Gynecomastia can sometimes go away on its own without any treatment, especially during adolescence. In this case, doctors may advise a period of observation to track the condition and see if it improves with time.

If hormonal imbalance is the cause of gynecomastia, then doctors may recommend drugs to treat it. Surgery to remove the excess tissue is typically considered for severe or persistent situations That haven’t been resolved through other treatments.

What Is Gynecomastia Surgery?

Gynecomastia SurgeryIf you have a severe case of gynecomastia and have not responded to non-surgical therapies, surgery is often recommended. The purpose of the surgery is to improve the contour of the chest and give it a more masculine shape, which will boost your self-esteem and quality of life. 

Gynecomastia surgery employs two major surgical techniques:


Liposuction is often used in cases where gynecomastia predominantly consists of excess fatty tissue. During the procedure, small incisions are made in the targetted area, through which a thin tube (cannula) is placed to suction out the extra fat. After the procedure, you’ll feel uncomfortable for a day or two, but you can ease the pain with over-the-counter medications or those your doctor prescribes. 


When glandular tissue needs to be removed, a mastectomy is performed. With this method, incisions are made to provide access to the extra glandular tissue, which is then removed. The surgeon may also move the nipple if necessary to give it a more natural appearance. In some cases, liposuction and mastectomy are combined to treat both glandular and fatty tissue.

It typically takes two to four weeks to recover from a mastectomy. You should be able to return to work in ten days and to all regular activities, including weightlifting at the gym, in about four weeks with your doctor’s approval.

Eligibility for Gynecomastia Surgery

Surgery is an option for anyone who suffers from gynecomastia in some form. Beyond that, individuals often need to fulfill the prerequisites for any elective operation. This may consist of:

  • Not suffering from any blood disease
  • Not using immunosuppressive drugs
  • No nicotine or cigarette products before surgery or until healing is complete.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight prior to surgery

Risks of Gynecomastia Surgery 

Gynecomastia surgery entails some risks and complications, just like any surgical operation. These may include but aren’t limited to:

  • Infection at the surgical site
  • Bleeding or hematoma formation
  • Poor wound healing or scarring
  • Changes in nipple sensation
  • Asymmetry or uneven contour of the chest
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Blood clots (rare)
  • Need for revision surgery in some cases

Before deciding on gynecomastia surgery, it’s crucial to address these concerns with a licensed plastic surgeon and carefully weigh the benefits and risks. 

Is Gynecomastia Right for You?

Gynecomastia is a common condition that can be quite physically and psychologically distressing for those who have it. While non-surgical treatments such as medication and lifestyle changes may be beneficial in certain circumstances, gynecomastia surgery can provide a long-term solution for those who have significant breast enlargement. 

Talk to our experts to determine your eligibility, learn about possible risks and complications, and create a customized treatment plan that takes into account your unique needs and goals. Regain your confidence with us and improve the quality of your life. Book your appointment today!


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