What is gynecomastia?
Most gynecomastia is idiopathic, meaning that no cause for the condition can be isolated. Enlarged male breast tissue typically starts early in life and persists. Most men do not get treatment until later in life when they are financially independent, as the majority of insurance plans do not cover male breast reduction.
All men have glandular tissue, which is supposed to involute (gland cell death and tissue remodeling). In gynecomastia, this male glandular tissue persists and even grows. Ultrasounds to confirm the presence of glandular tissue as well as some hormonal tests may be necessary, but in many cases, a clinical diagnosis involving palpation and history is sufficient.
In cases where the condition has not changed for years, and the treatment is for cosmetic and confidence concerns, a medical workup may not be necessary. There are two forms of gynecomastia affecting the appearance of male breasts:
- True gynecomastia: True gynecomastia is when a man suffers from enlarged glandular tissue that creates breast-like tissue growth on their chest
- Pseudo-gynecomastia: In some cases, men suffer from a buildup of fatty tissue in their chests but don’t have the underlying enlarged glandular tissue.
Gynecomastia may be caused by hormonal imbalances, including natural hormone changes, medications, prescription drugs, recreational drugs, and alcohol.