Gynecomastia is enlargement of the glandular tissue of the male breast. It may occur during infancy and puberty in normally-developing boys and results from an imbalance in the hormonal environment in the body, with a relative excess of estrogens (female hormones) when compared to androgens (male hormones).
Gynecomastia can result as a side effect of numerous medications and drugs of abuse. It is associated with certain medical conditions including hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney failure, and cirrhosis of the liver. Medications and surgical treatments can be used to treat gynecomastia.
Signs and symptoms may occur in one or both breasts:
The diameter of the areola increases, or the chest tissue becomes asymmetrical. The areola is the ring of pigmented skin surrounding the nipple.
You should see the doctor if there is unusual and persistent swelling, tenderness, pain, and/or nipple discharge.
If the doctor determines that it is caused by a hormone imbalance, as may be the case during puberty, and the gynecomastia appears typical for a teenage boy, the patient will be told not to worry and that it will all go away within about a year.
If the breast lump is abnormally large, tender, one-sided, or fixed and hard, further investigation will probably be required, including a biopsy. If the man has an unusual lump in one breast only, the doctor needs to know whether there is a family history of breast cancer.
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