Gynecomastia is a physical abnormality in almost 40 percent of men which involves development of abnormal mammary gland on the breasts. It has several causes with some proven while others are still debated.
The common theory is that the major causes of gynecomastia are because of the imbalance of sex hormones. The breast tissue in men is normally atrophic. It implies that male breasts may be enlarged due to various pathological reasons.
To a certain extent, even the regular usage of some medications can cause gynecomastia. In addition, it’s also common due to many genetic disorders.
What causes Gynecomastia?
Obesity – this is the most popular cause
As males gain more weight, there is a typical tendency to have a lot of excess fat on their chest and bellies. This leads to an imbalance in the distribution of fat thus creating an appearance of breasts just like that of females.
However, the kind of gynecomastia can be reversed easily if the affected individual is willing to adopt certain methods that can significantly reduce the body fats such as eating a well-balanced diet or exercising.
There are two hormones responsible for control of female and male organ development; estrogen and androgens. Androgens contribute to the secondary sexual characteristics in males as well as function and normal development of male genitalia.
On the other hand, estrogen is usually present in females but very low in men. However, if it’s present in a level that exceeds the normal amount, then a man may have enlarged breasts because estrogen enhances the growth of breast tissues.
In some cases, gynecomastia may affect newborn male babies due to transfer of estrogen through the placenta. The condition is just temporary and can never last for more than a few weeks. Gynecomastia may even affect young boys in puberty.
This is due to the hormones which is typically normal during puberty. As males grow older, the amounts of testosterone reduce. This explains why gynecomastia can be considered as a normal condition during the aging process in men.
In certain cases, the development of a female-like breast in males could be as a result of adverse reaction to drugs containing hormones. Some medical conditions whether congenital or acquired need to have medications that are capable of alleviating the symptoms of a given disease. In hormone therapies, a particular type of hormone is normally injected into the body.
Whether it’s done for a particular purpose or not, the fact remains that changing the natural hormone supply of the body can certainly bring changes to a given individual. Some tend to generate characteristics that are typically present in the opposite sex only. There are also some instances that the person inflicted may have either a lower or higher levels of the kind of hormone being utilized.
It’s one of the major causes of gynecomastia. Primarily, hormonally active tumors usually lead to gynecomastia. In addition, gynecomastia may even occur due to tumors that do not generate hormones.
Gynecomastia may sometimes occur as a symptom to certain diseases. For instance, liver cirrhosis disease in its advanced stages is followed by gynecomastia. It may even be present in thyrotoxicosis and kidney failure. Even some diseases that attack adrenal glands can result in breast enlargement.
Breast enlargement occurs in numerous congenital disorders such as enzyme-defects of testosterone production, androgen resistance syndromes, klinefelter syndrome and many more.
Other causes of gynecomastia
Although not medically proven to cause breast enlargement in men, these factors are related to gynecomastia since they commonly feature in most occurrences. They include spinal cord injury, chest trauma, fibrosis, HIV, muscular disorders, psychological stress and even alcoholism. However, some studies are still being done to prove the contribution of these factors.
Most people usually confuse having excess body fat with gyno. Excess body fat may have a similar appearance to that of gyno but it’s not the actual gyno case. If the problem is just an excessive body fat then dieting and regular exercise will effectively get rid of it.
Distinguishing the two is very essential since gyno can never be cured by exercise. Gyno cases are normally treated with a prescribed medication by a qualified medical personnel. As more individuals get to know more about breast enlargement, they are equally encouraged to ascertain the causes of gynecomastia.