Gynecomastia is a condition of excessive development or enlargement of breast tissue in men or boys. The main symptom of this condition is an enlargement of one or both breasts, which may be uniform or irregular with respect to the nipple. It may feel rubbery or firm to the touch. Other signs and symptoms include pain or tenderness, which may increase over time, swelling, a small rubbery lump under the nipple, sensitivity in the breast area, and a resemblance to that of a woman's breasts.
In some cases, gynecomastia can be caused by lifestyle factors such as obesity, alcohol consumption, and the consumption of estrogen in medicines or foods that contain soy. It can also be caused by other health problems that affect the balance between testosterone and estradiol. Gynecomastia is often confused with the expected presence of adipose tissue, especially among overweight young men. To differentiate between the two conditions, it is important to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
A doctor may order blood tests to measure hormone levels and imaging tests such as an ultrasound or mammogram to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment for gynecomastia depends on the underlying cause. If it is caused by a medication or lifestyle factor, then stopping or changing the medication or lifestyle factor may be enough to reduce symptoms. If it is caused by a health problem, then treating the underlying condition may help reduce symptoms.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove excess breast tissue. It is important to note that gynecomastia is not the same as breast cancer and does not increase your risk of developing breast cancer. However, if you experience any changes in your breasts such as lumps or pain, it is important to see your doctor for further evaluation.