Gynecomastia is a condition in which the glandular tissue in the breast increases due to hormonal imbalance in men. Although gynecomastia is harmless and goes away on its own, it can make a man feel uncomfortable, fearful and ashamed. If you suspect you have gynecomastia, make an appointment with your doctor so that he can make an official diagnosis. Also, be sure to look into all the risk factors for gynecomastia.
Part 1 of 3: Recognizing the Symptoms of Gynecomastia
Step 1. Try to feel for soft lumps in your chest
With gynecomastia, glandular tissue forms in the chest. This tissue can be found just under the nipple. Feel your chest slowly with your fingers. If you do develop gynecomastia, you will feel soft, elastic lumps in your breasts.
- If you feel a lump in your chest, see your doctor immediately. A solid mass may be a tumor.
- Gynecomastia can develop in one or both breasts at once.
- The size of the lumps may vary and may not be the same in both breasts. The rudiments of the mammary gland in puberty guys are about the size of a coin.
Step 2. Notice the pain when touching
Gynecomastia can be painful, especially when you touch or press on your chest. If you experience severe chest pain or discomfort, make an appointment with your doctor immediately.
Step 3. Check for soft adipose tissue indicating false gynecomastia
True gynecomastia is different from breast enlargement caused by an accumulation of adipose tissue. If the enlarged breasts are soft to the touch and you do not feel pain in the breasts or under the nipple, then you most likely have false gynecomastia. As a rule, this disease goes away with weight loss.
Being overweight may well lead to the development of true gynecomastia, since adipose tissue increases the body's production of estrogen
Part 2 of 3: Get the diagnosis from your doctor
Step 1. Make an appointment for a physical examination
Make an appointment with your doctor if you think you have gynecomastia. While gynecomastia is not dangerous in itself, let your doctor examine you to make sure it is not a symptom of a more serious medical condition. See your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following unpleasant symptoms:
- pain and swelling in the chest. These are common symptoms of gynecomastia, but they can also be caused by a cyst or infection;
- discharge from one or both nipples, which may indicate breast cancer, breast tissue infection, or endocrine disruption;
- a hard lump in the breast, which can be a sign of breast cancer.
Step 2. Help your doctor take your history
It will be easier for the doctor to diagnose if he has complete information about your health and medical history. Your doctor may ask you about the following:
- other symptoms you are experiencing;
- similar health problems in the family;
- health problems that you have in the past;
- any medications, medications, dietary supplements, or body care products you are taking.
Step 3. Get tested to confirm gynecomastia and rule out other medical conditions
Your doctor will do a physical exam to determine if you have gynecomastia. If symptoms of gynecomastia are found, the doctor will order further tests to find out the cause of the disease and rule out the presence of more serious problems. These studies may include:
- blood test;
- CT scan, MRI, or chest x-ray
- ultrasound examination of the scrotal organs;
- biopsy of breast tissue if cancer is suspected.
Step 4. Ask your doctor about treatment methods
Gynecomastia usually goes away on its own. If the disease does not go away for a long time or causes you severe pain and suffering, your doctor may advise you one of the following treatments:
- hormone therapy to block estrogen production or increase testosterone production;
- liposuction to remove fatty tissue from the breast;
- mastectomy is a type of surgical intervention in which the glandular tissue is removed.
- For the treatment of gynecomastia, the doctor may also focus on treating the underlying disease. For example, if a testicular tumor is the cause of gynecomastia, surgical removal of the tumor is necessary to treat gynecomastia and other symptoms.
- Your doctor may also advise you to change your dosage or stop taking medications that can cause gynecomastia altogether.
Part 3 of 3: Assess Your Risk for Gynecomastia
Step 1. Analyze your health and other factors
Some men have a higher risk of developing gynecomastia than others. Consider your age, medical history and general health. The risk of developing gynecomastia increases in the following cases:
- You are going through puberty or are between 50 and 69 years old. Newborns are also prone to gynecomastia. In infants, gynecomastia usually resolves on its own by the age of one.
- If you have a medical condition that affects the body's ability to produce testosterone, such as a malfunctioning pituitary gland or Klinefelter's syndrome.
- If you have a liver disease such as cirrhosis or liver failure.
- With hyperfunction of the thyroid gland.
- If you have certain types of tumors, especially in the pituitary gland, adrenal glands, or testes.
Step 2. Consider the drugs you are taking
Certain types of prescription drugs can cause gynecomastia. The risk of developing gynecomastia is increased if you are taking the following medications:
- medicines to treat prostate adenoma or prostate cancer;
- anabolic steroid;
- some types of AIDS medicines;
- tricyclic antidepressants;
- some types of anti-anxiety drugs like diazepam;
- some antibiotics;
- certain heart medications (such as digoxin);
- medicines for intestinal motility, such as metoclopramide.
Step 3. Check for the presence of vegetable oils in your body care products
Some plant oils (lavender and tea tree oil) contain natural substances that mimic estrogen. Because of them, men can develop gynecomastia. Check the ingredient labels on soaps, shampoos, body and aftershave lotions, and other skincare products to make sure they are free of vegetable oils. Gynecomastia caused by vegetable oils should go away soon after you stop using these products.
Step 4. Determine if there is a dependency
Substances such as alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, heroin, and methadone can cause gynecomastia in some men. If you are consuming one of these substances and are concerned that you may develop gynecomastia or other health problems, see your doctor to find out the healthiest way to reduce or stop taking these substances altogether.