Gynaecomastia (sometimes referred to as man boobs or simply moobs) is a common condition that causes boys’ and men’s breasts to swell and become larger than normal. It’s most common in teenage boys and older men.
What are the signs of Gynaecomastia?
Signs vary from a small amount of extra tissue around the nipples to more prominent breasts. It can affect one or both breasts.Sometimes, the breast tissue can be tender or painful, but this isn’t always the case.
What causes Gynaecomastia?
Gynaecomastia can be caused by an imbalance between the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen – oestrogen causes breast tissue to grow. Whilst all men produce some oestrogen, they usually have much higher levels of testosterone, which stops the oestrogen from causing breast tissue to grow. If the balance of hormones in the body changes, this can cause a man’s breasts to grow. Sometimes, the cause of the imbalance is unknown.
Being very overweight or obese is a common cause of Gynaecomastia because being overweight can increase levels of oestrogen, causing breast tissue to grow. Also being overweight means more excess fat that enlarges breast tissue. For some people losing weight or doing more exercise can help but this may not always improve the condition if it’s more hormonal.
Treatment for Gynaecomastia
If weight seems to be the issue, then obviously losing weight through diet and exercise may help. If there is no improvement after weight loss, then make an appointment with the GP. They may recommend medication to adjust the hormone imbalance or surgery to remove the excess breast tissue
The surgery is not usually available on the NHS, unless there is a clear medical need such as lack of response to other treatments or excess distress or pain. If none of these are the case, then it may need to be paid for privately.
How much does it cost?
In the UK, breast reduction surgery for men costs £3,500-£5,500, plus the cost of any consultations or follow-up care that may not be included in the price.
Always see a GP if the area is very painful or there’s an obvious lump. Gynaecomastia isn’t related to breast cancer, but in very rare cases, men can sometimes get cancerous lumps as well as women.
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