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Gynecomastia

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Definition

Gynecomastia is a condition in which breast tissue develops in males. The breast tissue may develop either on one or both sides and may make the breast tender.

Pseudo-gynecomastia or false gynecomastia is a condition where there is deposition of fat over the chest or there is over-development of pectoral muscles, giving the appearance of gynecomastia.

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Causes

  • Hormonal changes at puberty or as part of aging.
  • Imbalance in the body's production of estrogen and testosterone.
  • Male breast cancer
  • Prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines

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Implications

Breast cancer is a very rare disease in males. However, any lump or growth of tissue underneath the nipple is a cause of concern and can potentially be a serious problem. Lumps caused by cancer are usually not underneath the nipple however, breast tissue from gynecomastia grows in this area. Breast cancer feels different than the breast tissue of gynecomastia. With cancer, there sometimes is dimpling of the skin or a bloody discharge from the nipple. If a suspicious lump or enlargement of breast tissue is present, it is necessary to have a mammogram or biopsy done.

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What You Can Do

  • The problem may be solved by stopping the medication if that is the cause of gynecomastia
  • Male breast cancer is treated in the similar manner as female breast cancer.

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Gynecomastia