At least more than half of men in the United States struggle with having enlarged breasts, often caused by a condition known as gynecomastia. Because this issue is rarely spoken about, it leads to a lack of self-confidence, among other things, but we’re here to help. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michelle J. Place specializes in cosmetic surgery of the breast and body and has helped numerous patients in San Ramon, CA who are suffering from gynecomastia. 

In this post, we’ll quickly define what gynecomastia is and give you insight to address this condition.

What Is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a condition where increased glandular tissue forms in the male breasts. This causes the breasts to swell in size. While not a life-threatening condition, it can cause a variety of issues, including:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Nipple sensitivity

Gynecomastia can affect men of all ages, though this condition commonly affects teenage boys and older males. 

What Causes Gynecomastia?

Several factors cause gynecomastia, the most common being hormonal changes and imbalances. Men typically produce higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of estrogen. When this balance shifts, it can cause the glandular tissue to increase and swell, thus enlarging the breasts. In younger men, hormonal changes during puberty can cause this issue. Decreases in hormone production can also trigger this issue in older males.

Some of the other factors that can cause gynecomastia include:

  • Medications – Anabolic steroids, certain heart medicines, anti-androgens, ADHD medications, antibiotics, opioids, and more can cause gynecomastia.
  • Health Conditions – Issues like kidney failure, liver disease, aging, thyroid issues, and more can cause enlarged male breasts.
  • Drugs and Alcohol – The use of substances like alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, methadone, and other illegal drugs can cause gynecomastia.

What is Pseudogynecomastia?

In some cases, enlarged male breasts aren’t caused by an increased glandular tissue. Pseudogynecomastia is a condition where the male breasts become enlarged due to the buildup of excess fat. While this still creates the appearance of a larger chest, the type of tissue causing the issue is different and requires a different approach to correct. In many cases, the patients may suffer from gynecomastia and have excess fat in the breasts–as obesity is a risk factor for gynecomastia.

How To Treat Enlarged Male Breasts

For boys undergoing puberty, gynecomastia may clear up on its own and does not require treatment. If the patient can, they should avoid any medications or substances that cause the issue, which can also help to clear up gynecomastia.

In cases where gynecomastia persists, male breast reduction surgery may be the best course of action. During the procedure, excess glandular tissue is removed through small incisions made along the breasts. This will restore the flat appearance of the chest. If there is also excess fat in the area, it can be removed using liposuction.

On the other hand, liposuction alone can address pseudogynecomastia cases. If the breast skin has become stretched, it can be trimmed so that the chest has a smoother appearance.

Schedule a Consultation

Don’t let enlarged male breasts hold you back from feeling confident and comfortable in your body. Whether you’re dealing with hormonal changes, medication side effects, or excess fat buildup, there are solutions available to help you achieve the chest you desire. If you are looking for a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon to perform your male breast reduction, contact our office in San Ramon, CA today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Place.