Male breast enlargement, also known as gynecomastia, is a relatively common occurrence. Its development is related to the absolute and relative levels of the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen in men. These hormones can be affected by such factors as puberty, aging, drugs, medication, alcohol and certain diseases.
Just how common is gynecomastia? During puberty, around two thirds of males will develop some degree of breast enlargement which can often be tender. This is related to the fluctuation of hormone levels that occur as a normal part of adolescent development. Typically, seventy five percent of males with gynecomastia will have resolution within two years and around ninety percent by three years. That leaves around ten percent of pubertal breast enlargements that will persist with some claiming an even higher incidence. Therefore, without any additional precipitating causes, the presence of enlarged breasts in men in their late teens, twenties and up just related to pubertal changes is quite common.
As the production of testosterone decreases with aging, the incidence of gynecomastia increases. This may first be noticed around ages 40 to 50 and then become more prominent with time. As many as twenty five to forty percent of males between ages 50 and 80 do have male breast enlargement. This can further be exacerbated by medications taken to treat common medical problems occurring during this stage of life such as for an enlarged prostate.
Obesity also can result in enlarged male breasts. This is often referred as pseudogynecomastia rather than true gynecomastia but the outcome is the same – undesirably enlarged breasts. Weight loss may resolve most if not all of the enlargement.
The treatment for gynecomastia which is surgery is usually quite successful, physically and mentally.
If you would like additional information on the treatment of male breast enlargement or any other cosmetic surgery procedure, you can contact my office at 480-451-3000.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona