Have you noticed how some men have over-developed breasts which tend to look rather odd sticking out from under their shirts? Gynecomastia is a condition wherein a man’s breasts are abnormally enlarged. And while you would think this condition is rare, about 30% of the male population suffers from Gynecomastia.
As is obvious, the condition results in poor self esteem and social anxiety, making a man feel more conscious of his body. In some cases, Gynecomastia also results in breast tenderness and sensitivity, though more often than not this is not a serious medical condition.
Gynecomastia might not pose many health hazards, but it definitely impacts self confidence and causes a lot of emotional distress. Men who have over-developed breasts are rather too embarrassed to use the gym showers or go swimming. And some of them have to give up on well-fitting T-shirts completely and resign themselves to only wearing loose shirts.
The end result – poor self esteem, low levels of confidence, and negative body image. However, Gynecomastia can be corrected. Let’s try and understand the causes of Gynecomastia and the methods to reverse this embarrassing body image condition.
Gynecomastia is a medical term referring to overdeveloped breasts in men. While in some cases there is only a little extra tissue surrounding the nipple, some men have large, more prominent breasts that can make them feel socially awkward.
The condition commonly occurs in boys in their teen years or in older men, though many middle aged men deal with this embarrassing condition as well. It can affect either one of the breasts or both of them.
There are many causes that can result in Gynecomastia, some of which include:
– Hormonal imbalance in middle ages
– Unstable hormone levels during puberty
– Less testosterone production in older men
– Side effects of medications treating heart disease or ulcers
– Regular use of illegal drugs like steroids or cannabis
– Liver disease or kidney failure
– Lumps in the breast tissue
– A genetic disorder called Klinefelter’s syndrome, though this is rather rare
While hormone replacement therapy can cure the condition in the long run, the quickest, most effective and permanent treatment for Gynecomastia is surgery.
Is Gynecomastia Surgery A Good Idea?
In a somewhat unnerving study on the effect of extensive rifle training, doctors made a startling discovery, said The Guardian.
After observing German, male soldiers – who engaged in frequent ceremonial rifle training – the good doctors found that a large percentage of the military men grew breasts… or rather, one breast to be precise.
The study’s authors, Prof. Bjorn Dirk Krapohl, Dr. Dietrich Doll and four colleagues at Bundeswehrkrankenhaus found a possible explanation to this unfortunate ailment. They theorized “the mechanical impact of the carbine against the left side of the body during the regularly performed ceremonial duties” may be the culprit.
In the end, the doctors said the only viable treatment for anyone with Gynecomastia is “surgical resection of excess breast tissue.” In other words, a breast reduction surgery.
There are various surgical procedures available to treat Gynecomastia. The right Gynecomastia surgery depends on the amount of extra breast tissue in the patient and is completely painless, done using anesthesia.
Here are the 6 surgical solutions available:
1. For pseudo- Gynecomastia which is mainly just excess fat deposits around the nipples, Suction Assisted Lipectomy (SAL) or Liposuction is recommended.
2. For swollen glands along with fat deposits around nipples, a keyhole surgery for removal of glands and fatty tissue is performed.
3. For mixed Gynecomastia, open surgical removal is done by making a small incision where the nipple joins the skin. Scarring is minimal.
4. For much enlarged male breasts, a combination Gynecomastia surgery is performed where open surgical removal is coupled with Liposuction for achieving effective results.
5. In some extreme cases where there is not only excess fat tissue but also excessive skin folds around the breast, skin excision is coupled with open removal surgical procedure for desired results
Things To Keep In Mind Before Undergoing Gynecomastia Surgery
Gynecomastia surgery is a very basic procedure, and more often than not the patient can go back home the same day. Only in some cases where the breast tissue was much enlarged and the incision results in excessive collection of blood and other fluids does the doctor recommend keeping a ‘negative pressure drain tube’ for 24 hours under the skin.
The patient is discharged the following day with pressure dressings applied to chest wall. These dressings need to be changed on the 3rd and 7th day by a doctor, which is why your doctor will advise against long distance travel during the first week post the surgery.
Stitches from the incision are removed within 7-10 days of the Gynecomastia surgery, and the doctor will recommend rest for an additional 3-6 weeks to ensure complete healing. Thereafter, you can go back to leading a physically active life and enjoy activities like jogging, swimming and weight training after the doctor has ensured the wounds are completely healed.
Keep in mind that some risk factors are associated with Gynecomastia surgery, for example Seroma and Hematoma. These result in accumulated blood along with blood products around the breast, causing excessive swelling and delayed healing, and will always require medical intervention. However, these risks factors only apply to patients who have high BP, use food supplements, ingest blood thinners or even aspirin before the or continue usage of anabolic steroids before surgery, or those who don’t follow proper post-operative care instruction.
Gynecomastia surgery is usually a safe procedure to find a permanent solution to enlarged male breasts. Not only will it improve your physical appearance, it will also boost your confidence levels and self esteem. However, if you aren’t sure you want to undergo a surgical treatment, hormone replacement therapy could help to some extent, especially if your enlarged breasts are a result of hormonal imbalances.