Herbal products like tea tree oils and lavender in lotions, shampoos and soaps can increase estrogen levels that increase the risk of gynecomastia. Note that most brands containing these herbal products omit this significant side effect.
You can also have gynecomastia by abusing alcohol and marijuana, and using substances like heroin, methadone, and amphetamines.
Certain medical conditions affecting hormones in the body may also cause gynecomastia. Here are those diseases:
Aging causes natural drop in testosterone, especially if the person is overweight
Hypogonadism or too low activity of the testes, and can be caused by pituitary insufficiency and Klinefelter syndrome
Note that breast swelling in men might be a symptom of conditions other than gynecomastia. The breasts may simply grow due to deposits of fat, called false gynecomastia, even though there is nothing wrong with the hormones.
However, the growth of breasts may be caused by inflammation of the breast tissue (mastitis). There is also a minor possibility of breast cancer, which affects both men and women.
Gynecomastia may resolve on its own without treatment. Most cases of gynecomastia, especially in adolescents, tend to improve in six months to two years.
The doctor may only recommend scheduled checkups. However, gynecomastia may need treatment if it causes embarrassment and significant discomfort.
However, gynecomastia with medical causes often persists until the cause has been treated. Conditions like hypogonadism, problems in the pituitary gland, malnutrition and cirrhosis must be addressed to treat gynecomastia. If medications cause gynecomastia, the doctor may look for alternatives or stop the prescription.
There are medications that may work for gynecomastia, though they have not been approved exactly for this use. Such drugs include tamoxifen (Soltamox) and raloxifene (Evista), used for treating breast cancer, may work for some men with gynecomastia. The doctor will carefully consider benefits and risks before prescribing these drugs for you.
If medicines fail or the breast enlargement is particularly huge, the doctor may recommend liposuction or mastectomy. Liposuction involves removal of fat tissues in the breasts, but leaving breast tissue intact, to reduce gynecomastia. A mastectomy removes both the fat and breast tissue. Surgeons may use an endoscope to do the mastectomy, which only requires small incisions for faster recovery.
You can prevent gynecomastia by avoiding factors that cause it, like using heroin, bodybuilding steroids, testosterone injections, amphetamines, heroin, and marijuana.
Do not abuse alcohol, or try to control your intake.
You can also review your medicines. If you suspect that one or more cause gynecomastia, call your doctor to check for alternatives.
7 Lifestyle and Coping
As gynecomastia is particularly embarrassing, it can drastically affect one's lifestyle, and coping can be difficult.
Gynecomastia has a significant effect on self-esteem and body image. Swollen breasts can be difficult to hide, especially if they are relatively large. Things like swimming or changing in the locker room can be a nightmare. Teenage boys are often highly vulnerable to bullying or teasing due to gynecomastia.
Emotional and self-confidence issues caused by gynecomastia require urgent treatment. A talk with a psychologist or counselor can help increase understanding of the condition and deal with negative feelings. In most cases, the whole family also needs psychological therapy as well.
8 Risks and Complications
The following are at risk for gynecomastia:
Use of bodybuilding steroids and androgens like testosterone
Having conditions in the liver, kidneys and thyroid glands, which can cause problems in hormones
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