How Do I Know If I Have Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a medical term that affects more men than people may realize. This common condition is characterized by enlarged male breasts, which creates the appearance of a feminine chest due to abnormally growing breast tissue. An estimated 50% of men in the United States experience some degree of gynecomastia during their lifetime. Thus, male breast reduction surgery for treatment is ranked as the 10th most common plastic surgery procedure to help men reduce male breast tissue (this sentence doesn’t make sense). If you are concerned about having this condition, it can be tough to cope with the symptoms (also doesn’t make sense). Men who have gynecomastia can sometimes experience pain in their breasts and often feel embarrassed by their appearance. If you think you may have gynecomastia, then leading plastic surgery experts like Dr. Ryan Couvillion can help.

Generally, gynecomastia is treatable with male breast reduction surgery, liposuction, or a combination of both. Dr. Ryan Couvillion is an experienced plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive procedures for the breasts, face, body, and skin. At Luminary Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX, patients with gynecomastia can expect a high level of experience in performing breast reductions as well as liposuction procedures. He works closely with patients to deliver the excellent aesthetic results that they desire. Read below to learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment for gynecomastia.

What is gynecomastia?

An enlargement of the male breast tissue, gynecomastia is sometimes related to a hormone imbalance when testosterone levels in men decrease versus the level of estrogen in the body. Testosterone is responsible for controlling male traits such as body hair and muscle mass, while estrogen controls breast growth and other female characteristics. It may be surprising to learn that men produce small quantities of estrogen. Testosterone levels can be decreased when other conditions reduce or block its effects, or cause estrogen levels to increase.

What causes gynecomastia?

Aside from hormonal imbalances, other factors can contribute to the development of gynecomastia among men. Health conditions such as kidney failure, cirrhosis of the liver, certain tumors, hyperthyroidism, and even the natural effects of aging can cause the male breasts to swell. The use of certain medications may also be responsible. These include anabolic steroids, certain anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants and antibiotics, and medicines that are used to treat cancer, heart conditions, and gastric issues. Alcohol consumption and the use of certain illicit drugs also are known to cause gynecomastia. Even the use of shampoos, lotions, and soaps that contain plant oils, including lavender or tea tree, have been linked to gynecomastia.

What are the symptoms?

The primary symptom of gynecomastia is the enlargement of one or both breasts. While the glandular tissue usually swells in both breasts, only one side may be affected. The growth, which frequently appears behind the nipple, may cause the breasts to feel either firm or rubbery. Nipple pain and tenderness may also be experienced.

It is time to visit with a doctor when you have the following symptoms:

  • Swelling

  • Pain and tenderness

  • Nipple discharge in one or both breasts

Who is a candidate for gynecomastia treatment?

The best candidates for male breast reduction are healthy adult men who have enlarged breasts that have persisted over time and are the cause of self-esteem issues. Men who smoke are advised to quit before surgery, and anyone considering male breast surgery should have a realistic expectation about the results of the procedure. To maintain results, Houston area patients should avoid medications or substances that could trigger breast re-growth and maintain a stable weight following surgery.

What to expect during male reduction surgery

Dr. Couvillion and the team of expert medical professionals at Luminary Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX are dedicated to providing the highest level of patient service and care. During your private one-on-one consultation, Dr. Couvillion will take the time to evaluate your case thoroughly, answer all of your questions fully, and recommend a course of action that best meets your needs.

The surgical approach varies based on the cause and size of the gynecomastia. For men with small amounts of fat, liposuction is the preferred method during surgery. General anesthesia is employed to ensure comfort levels, while liposuction removes excess fat from the chest. For other patients with more significant amounts of tissue, the extra tissue is removed surgically, the skin is tightened, and the nipple may need to be repositioned.

Gynecomastia recovery

This same-day surgery is highly effective for men who have been diagnosed with this condition. Male patients can typically return to work in a week and regular activities within a few weeks once cleared by Dr. Couvillion. Once the postoperative swelling starts to recede by the second week, patients can start enjoying their new, more masculine look. This surgery offers the opportunity for a permanent solution for men struggling with gynecomastia as long as their ideal weight is maintained and they avoid and problematic medications.

Men in Houston, TX who are concerned about the appearance of their chest due to enlarged breasts find breast reduction surgery a real option for dealing with the condition of gynecomastia. Houston, TX plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Couvillion has the experience and skillset required for the desired outcomes his male patients seek in restoring confidence in their appearance. During a personalized consultation, Dr. Couvillion will determine the severity of your gynecomastia condition and devise a surgical plan to give you the masculine chest you seek. If you are concerned you may have gynecomastia, contact Luminary Plastic Surgery and schedule a consultation today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.