Gynaecomastia is the enlargement of male breast tissue. It is common in newborns, at puberty, as well as in older men.
There is growth of the male breast glands and not just the fat. It may occur in one or both breasts and it is a benign condition.
This may present as a rubbery or firm
mass that starts from underneath the
nipple and then spreads outwards
over the breast area. There may be
discomfort or tenderness. It may occur
in one or both breasts.
Gynaecomastia can be due to the imbalance of the sex hormones, testosterone and oestrogen.
Oestrogen is a female hormone that causes the breast tissue to grow. Men do produce some oestrogen but they usually have more testosterone which prevents the effects of oestrogen.
A careful examination of your history
including the use of medications is
important in the diagnosis.
Blood tests to exclude the rarer causes
may be performed, and investigations
may include mammograms and breast
ultrasound if is there is a suspicion of
and to exclude breast cancer.
In general, treatment is not needed for
most cases. If there is an underlying
cause, treating the cause will decrease
the breast enlargement.
For men with gynaecomastia of
unknown cause or have residual
gynaecomastia after treatment of the
cause, medical or surgical treatment
may be considered.
Medical treatment includes drugs such
as clomiphene and tamoxifen, which
oppose the action of oestrogens. Up to
50 to 80 percent of patients have been
reported to achieve partial reduction in
breast size with these pharmacologic
Surgery can remove the amount of
breast tissue and the various techniques
include reduction mammoplasty, subcutaneous
mastectomies with or
without liposuction and microdebridement.
In these surgeries, the breast is either
partially or totally removed with
the preservation of the nipple and
There is no increased risk of breast
cancer development in men with
gynaecomastia, but the diagnosis of
cancer needs to be excluded in their
The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.
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