Medical Professional Publications

How to Diagnose and Treat Macromastia and Gynecomastia

Columbus, OH — November 2017

Gynecomastia: Evaluation, Management and Guidelines for Referral

Gynecomastia is defined as an abnormal growth of breast tissue in males. It is usually caused by an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone. Boys going through puberty can develop temporary gynecomastia as a result of normal changes in hormone levels. Physiologic gynecomastia is a common condition with an overall incidence of 35 percent in males 10-16 years of age, increasing to 65 percent at age 14 and dropping to 15 percent in 16-year-old boys. Pubertal gynecomastia often regresses on its own: 75 percent of cases resolve within two years of onset and 90 percent resolve within three years.

Infrequently, gynecomastia can be caused an underlying health condition (pathological gynecomastia). Causes for pathological gynecomastia can be correlated to medications, diseases related to endocrine abnormalities, tumors, chronic disease, chromosomal disorders and miscellaneous other conditions. In cases of pathological gynecomastia, underlying conditions require treatment.

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Breast Reduction for Macromastia

Macromastia, or breast hypertrophy, is characterized by breasts that are disproportionately large compared to the rest of the body. Young women with macromastia often have problems with upper back and neck strain/pain, shoulder grooving from bra straps, trouble participating in sports or activities because of interference by the breast tissue and, sometimes, skin rashes between and beneath the breasts.

Treatment for macromastia includes weight management, physical therapy and, in some cases, surgical reduction of the breasts.

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