Gynecomastia is an embarrassing condition for both men and boys. The growth of fatty breast tissue causes an unsightly enlargement of the lower chest area. The situation develops as a result of a variety of hormonal and lifestyle factors affecting the way the body manages testosterone and estrogen output.
Fortunately, the condition is not life-threatening. Most cases disappear on their own, without the need for medication or surgery. However, in some severe cases, drug therapy or surgery is the only option to get rid of the excess breast tissue and return the chest to its regular appearance.
While gynecomastia may not adversely affect your health, it may affect your self-confidence and self-image. Individuals suffering from gynecomastia may avoid activities that force them to reveal the condition, such as taking your shirt off at the beach. If you’re concerned about developing breast tissue, here are eight causes of gynecomastia men need to know.
1. Natural Shifts in Hormone Production
Testosterone and estrogen are the “sex” hormones in men and women. The male hormone, testosterone, kicks in during the beginning of puberty. It’s responsible for muscular development and various other biological changes in boys, such as deepening of the voice and the growth of pubic hair.
Estrogen is known as the “female hormone,” but it also exists in men as well – but in smaller quantities. Gynecomastia develops when an imbalance of these hormones occurs. When too much estrogen is present in the body, fatty tissue begins to grow under the nipple area and sidewalls of the chest muscles. This growth continues until the hormone balance returns to homeostasis.
Gynecomastia affects teenagers undergoing puberty. The changes in hormones may cause the condition to develop, but it typically goes away after 6 to 24-months as hormones rebalance. Gynecomastia affects 1 in 4 men above the age of 50-years and usually takes surgery or medications to eradicate the condition.