How Common Is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is an embarrassing medical condition that results in the appearance of male breasts. If you’re living with gynecomastia, know that you’re not alone. A surprising number of men have — and make efforts to hide — gynecomastia.

Prevalence of Gynecomastia

Man With Gynecomastia Holding His Chest

All males are born with a small amount of breast tissue; an amount far less than females have. Gynecomastia occurs when this breast tissue swells and grows.

Hormonal changes are often at the root of the condition, which is why half of all teenage boys have gynecomastia. However, it can afflict males of any age. Nearly half of all males will experience gynecomastia at some point in their lives, and approximately two-thirds of men over age 50 have swollen breast tissue.

Causes of Male Breasts

We’re all born with a certain level of sex hormones in our bodies. The female hormone estrogen is responsible for the production of breast tissue, while the male hormone testosterone stops breast tissue from growing. An imbalance of estrogen or testosterone can lead to the appearance of male breasts.

While puberty and aging are often the cause of hormonal imbalances, there are a number of other factors that can affect your estrogen and testosterone levels. These include:

  • Testicular injury or tumor
  • Tumors or cancer in the adrenal or pituitary glands
  • Hyperthyroidism and other thyroid problems
  • Obesity and excessive weight gain
  • Certain medications for heart disease, cancer, depression and ulcers
  • Alcoholism and recreational drugs, including anabolic steroids, marijuana and heroin
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Klinefelter syndrome

Breast cancer, while it can affect males, is not the same as gynecomastia. If you have enlarged breasts or lumps on your chest, it’s important that you rule out breast cancer before seeking cosmetic solutions.

Male Breast Reduction Surgery

Gynecomastia is a benign condition, but the source of the condition may not be. While a quarter of gynecomastia has no known cause, you should always seek medical treatment to determine if you have any underlying problems that could affect your health and well-being.

When caused by a period of hormonal change, gynecomastia may go away on its own. However, if your gynecomastia persists a year or more, plastic surgeon Dr. Dean Kletomay be able to restore your masculine chest.

The following signs also indicate that it’s time to visit Dr. Kleto for a consultation:

  • You feel ashamed or embarrassed by your chest
  • You hide your chest under baggy clothing
  • You avoid being shirtless
  • You have back pain or chest pain brought on by your gynecomastia

Dr. Kleto will perform male breast reductionsurgery to remove excess fatty and glandular tissues from your chest. This includes using liposuction to shape and contour your chest.

In cases where tissue buildup is more severe, surgical excision may be needed. Surgical excision can also treat stretched, sagging skin around your breasts.

While losing weight may reduce the appearance of your breasts, it cannot remove the excess tissue that’s at the root of your condition. Male breast reduction surgery is the most effective treatment for gynecomastia.

Treat Gynecomastia in Knoxville, TN

To schedule a consultation and to learn more about male breast reduction surgery, call 877-907-0747. Dr. Kleto serves patients in Knoxville, Sevierville and nearby areas of Tennessee.


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