Gynecomastia is the abnormal enlargement of mammary glands in males leading to puffy breast. The condition is found in new born male children, as well as in adolescent and elderly people. In new borns male babies the condition occurs due to the female hormones in the mother. In grown up males, this is attributed to disorders due to certain diseases or disturbances in body metabolism. In gynecomastia there is enlargement of glandular tissue of the breast rather than fatty tissue. Also the enlargement usually occurs in both the breasts, but sometimes it is unilateral also.
The exact cause is uncertain, but the condition occurs due to the high levels of SHBG – sex hormone binding globulin, which leads to low levels of male hormone –testosterone. Body metabolic activities that lead to an unopposed action of female hormone estrogen on the breast tissue also trigger gynecomastia. The factors leading to Gynecomastia can be listed as under:
- Cirrhosis of liver and corresponding change in hormone level
- Abnormality in male sex organs –testes which alters level of male hormone
- Chronic renal failure
- Side effect of certain drugs
Pubertal occurrence of gynecomastia retards on its own within a period of six months to one year. If it doesn’t, the same has to be brought to the attention of a doctor. After thoroughly diagonising the disease the doctors decides on the hormonal treatment to be given which will improve the condition.
It is to be noted that men with gynecomastia are more susceptible to develop male breast cancer as compared to other people. Researches put them at a risk factor 5 times higher than general male population.