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Gynaecomastia: An Embarrassing Male Problem!

By Dr. Sunil Choudhary in Aesthetic And Reconstructive Surgery

Nov 14 , 2017 | 2 min read

What is Gynaecomastia?

Every time a young male patient walks into my clinic and looks healthy but is wearing a very loose shirt or a T-shirt, the diagnosis in 9 out of 10 men is going to be gynaecomastia. In simple terms, “Gynaecomastia” means abnormal enlargement of the breasts in males. In colloquial terms, it is also referred to as ‘male-boobs’. The typical patient is a young adult male between 20-28 years of age. The patient is usually embarrassed with his looks and avoids changing in public or doing activities like swimming. It is quite common to see major changes in the overall appearance in patients with Gynaecomastia, which impact their self-confidence till they achieve the desired treatment results.

What are the Stages of Gynaecomastia?

The severity of Gynaecomastia is classified into Gynaecomastia stages. Stages I to IV are the Gynaecomastia stages that are utilized to mark the progress of the medical condition. The enlargement and excess skin increase as the condition progresses to the next gynaecomastia stage if not addressed and consulted with the doctor at the right time.

What are the Causes of Gynaecomastia?

1. Pubertal Gynaecomastia or Male Breast Enlargement is due to an imbalance between estrogens (female hormones) and androgens (male hormones). Most cases are just developmental during adolescence and no real cause can be found. In pubertal gynaecomastia, which persists in adults, the hormone levels are found to be normal, and it may be due to the difference in sensitivity of circulating hormones. 

2. Obesity is one of the common causes of Gynaecomastia. It has been found that in obese people there is an increased activity of a body enzyme called 'aromatase' which causes the conversion of androgens into estrogens by a process called 'aromatization'. Estrogens are female hormones that cause breast enlargement in males.

3. Steroids—Those wanting to be super fit and trying to ape their superstar's six packs take the shortcut with nutritional supplements laced with steroids, which cause inhibition of our body's natural male hormones (androgens) causing an imbalance between estrogens and androgens. Under the influence of the relatively increased activity of estrogens, there is male breast enlargement.

4. Prolonged use of certain drugs like antacids and antiepileptic drugs can also sometimes cause gynaecomastia. Certain causes associated with hypothyroidism, hypogonadism, and testicular tumors can also cause gynaecomastia. Rarely, it can be malignant, especially if only one breast is involved and the lump is hard.

What are the Treatment Options for Gynaecomastia?

There are two gynaecomastia treatment options:
  • VASER (Laser Surgery)
  • Minimal Scar Surgery
In established cases of gynaecomastia where no other pathology has been found, surgical correction yields excellent results. Recent advances allow us to perform gynaecomastia surgery with virtually no or very minimal scars. A combination of advanced ultrasonic liposuction (VASER) and minimal scar gland excision leads to a fast recovery and normal contour in most cases. These two gynaecomastia treatments are much beneficial for patients with increased breast size and help them get back to their earlier physique.
Satisfaction rates with the surgery are very high, and most of the patients are confident in themselves while choosing the gynaecomastia treatment. It may appear to be just an aesthetic procedure to others, but patients often call it a real ‘life-changing’ surgery. Increased awareness that this condition is correctable in a safe way through minimal scar surgery has made this one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in males.