Having excess breast tissue isn’t generally a serious health threat for men. But that doesn’t mean it can’t cause significant problems for your self-esteem or make you self-conscious in—and out of—your clothes.
At Brooks Plastic Surgery in Hollywood, Florida, board-certified surgeon Christopher Brooks, MD, understands how frustrating and isolating living with excess breast tissue can be for men. That’s why Dr. Brooks offers personalized treatment solutions for men struggling with gynecomastia.
Keep reading to learn more about the condition and the ways we can help.
Gynecomastia: A common problem
Men naturally have some breast tissue, but it typically isn’t very pronounced. When it grows in excess or swells and becomes noticeable, you’re diagnosed with a condition called gynecomastia.
If you have overdeveloped male breasts, it’s easy to feel like you’re all alone. But gynecomastia affects 50-65% of males around the world. Knowing you aren’t alone might be reassuring, but it doesn’t solve the issue or explain what causes it in the first place.
Causes of gynecomastia
The most common reason men develop excess breast tissue is hormone imbalance. Men and women have both estrogen and testosterone. When men have low testosterone levels or if their levels of estrogen rise too high, it can lead to breast development.
This can happen when male babies are affected by the hormones from their mother, during puberty, and during andropause (male menopause). Sometimes medical conditions, like kidney failure or tumors that affect the glands that regulate hormones (e.g., the pituitary gland) can cause hormone imbalances that lead to gynecomastia.
Hormone imbalances linked to gynecomastia can also be triggered by prescription medications. For example, some medications can influence your hormone levels and throw them out of balance. This can trigger the growth of breast tissue. These medications include drugs such as:
- Some antibiotics
- Some heart medications
- Some ulcer medications
- AIDS and HIV medications
- ADHD medications with amphetamines
- Some anti-anxiety medications
- Anti-androgens prostate medications
- Anabolic steroids and androgens
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Some types of chemotherapy
- Some medications to empty your stomach
If you’re an adult male and started to develop breast tissue after taking medication, talk to your provider as soon as possible.
Alcohol use has also been linked to excess breast tissue. A beer now and then isn’t likely to trigger gynecomastia. But research shows heavy drinking is linked to the condition for several reasons:
- Heavy drinking increases caloric intake, increasing fatty tissue in the chest.
- Ethanol in alcohol reduces testosterone while other components increase estrogen.
- Heavy drinking leads to alcohol-induced liver disease, which affects hormones.
Researchers have also linked recreational drugs—such as amphetamines, methadone, heroin, and marijuana—to gynecomastia, as have the use of certain herbal products.
Solutions for gynecomastia
If you’re ready to say goodbye to excess breast tissue for good, Dr. Brooks and the team at Brooks Plastic Surgery can help. Our team offers different gynecomastia treatments depending on the cause of your condition and your physique.
For many men, Dr. Brooks recommends liposuction. During this minimally invasive surgery, Dr. Brooks makes a small incision, inserts a cannula (small tube), then suctions out the excess tissue.
Another common gynecomastia treatment is an excision surgery called a mastectomy. During this treatment, Dr. Brooks makes small incisions and surgically removes the unwanted breast tissue. Dr. Brooks may also remove excess skin, if necessary.
In some cases, a combination of liposuction and excision. Dr. Brooks has extensive experience reducing male breast size to create a more naturally male physique and will recommend the best solutions for your unique situation.
Learn more about excess male breast tissue and how we can help by scheduling a consultation at Brooks Plastic Surgery in Hollywood, Florida.