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For many males, at different stages in their lives and for different reason, a condition called gynecomastia develops due to hormonal imbalances in their body. And for many of those with gynecomastia, it comes with a certain amount of embarrassment and even shame. But for those with this condition, they should know that those feelings are completely unwarranted, that they have nothing to be embarrassed about, and that gynecomastia is a very natural and treatable condition.
What is Gynecomastia?
Put simply, gynecomastia is the enlargement or swelling of the gland tissues in the male breast, primarily due to a hormone imbalance.
In the body, during numerous stages in the lifespan of a human male, hormone imbalances occur as a result of larger changes to the body. It’s important to note that all humans, male and female, produce and utilize both estrogens and androgens. These hormones are typically associated with different sexes, because they typically occur in different quantities with regard to sexes – women typically have high levels of estrogens and lower levels of androgens, and men typically have much higher levels of androgens and much lower levels of estrogens.
In the early and pubescent stages of growth in males, the body produces androgens, which are steroid hormones that essentially tell the cells of the muscle and bone tissues in the body that it’s time to accumulate proteins and grow. The most commonly known of these androgens is testosterone, which is found in both men and women, but is usually present in much higher quantities in men.
In the male body, testosterone is processed via a process known as aromatization. One of the common outputs of this process is estrogen. This is a normal process in the body, and typically does not lead to gynecomastia in and of itself. However, there are times when the balance of hormones in the body is altered, leading to effects such as gynecomastia.
Who is affected by gynecomastia?
While gynecomastia can manifest itself in virtually any male, it’s not a random or contagious condition. Therefore, there are some who are more likely to develop gynecomastia and who share common traits leading to the condition. The major groups of males that commonly experience gynecomastia include:
- Infants – Immediately following birth and during early periods of growth, many male babies will experience a surge in androgenic hormones, because they’re growing through such rapid growth, and the steroid properties of the androgenic hormones are required to facilitate that rapid growth. And, as those hormones are processed via aromatization, excess levels of estrogen are also produced, which can result in gynecomastia. In infants, the effects of gynecomastia are often not as pronounced, and my not even be detected, due to the large presence of subcutaneous fat deposits present in most infants. At this stage, gynecomastia is a natural effect of growth, and in almost all cases will clear up as the levels of estrogens and androgens in the infant begin to stabilize, and the body becomes more used to the increased hormonal levels of each.
- Pubescent males – Young males experiencing puberty often experience gynecomastia, as the changes one typically associates with puberty are almost always caused by the surges in androgenic hormones produced during this phase of growth. Puberty is, after all, a process of growth, as the body enters into adulthood. The common signs of puberty, such as deepening of the voice, acne, and growth spurts are all related to a significant increase in the androgenic hormones, primarily testosterone. And with the rise of testosterone, the levels of estrogen also rise via the process of aromatization, leading in many cases to gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is present to some degree in many pubescent males, although specific figures are hard to determine, often due to the reluctance of many young males to admit to having the condition. But those same young men should know that gynecomastia is fairly common, and it almost always goes away on its own. And in the rare cases where it doesn’t go away, any doctor can readily treat the condition, as it’s a very treatable condition.
- Men with Low Testosterone – Many men experience levels of low testosterone at some point in their lives, for any number of reasons – age, diet, stress levels, lifestyle and geneticsall all play a significant role. Regardless of the cause, one of the effects of a deficiency of testosterone can be an abundance of estrogen, which can lead to gynecomastia. In those instances, as opposed to the effects experienced during puberty, it is NOT wise to assume that the levels of testosterone will rise on their own, or that the gynecomastia will fade. While this is possible, it’s highly recommended that those suffering from low testosterone seek medical help. Testosterone is a critical hormone for healthy living, and if someone suffers from abnormally low levels of testosterone, it can have a very negative effect in numerous areas. However, as with pubescent males, gynecomastia is easily treatable.
- Bodybuilders and athletes – Testosterone is the singular, foundational steroid for almost all bodybuilders, and almost all steroids are designed to be used in conjunction with testosterone. For that reason, it’s extremely popular with bodybuilders who use steroids. And with that use, obviously, comes much higher levels of testosterone in the body, which in turn is largely aromatized into estrogen. According to Steroidsforsale.com gynecomastia is very common among bodybuilders, who refer somewhat derisively to the condition as ‘bitch tits’. Bodybuilders who develop gynecomastia typically also take a class of drugs known as aromatase inhibitors, which minimize aromatization, leaving more testosterone available for use by the muscle and bone cells in the body, and reducing gynecomastia. That’s one of the reasons why you don’t see more instances of gynecomastia in pictures of professional bodybuilders in magazines.
What to do About Gynecomastia
The key thing to remember about gynecomastia is that it’s an eminently treatable condition, and there are a number of medications that can reduce and eliminate the condition with relative ease. And you shouldn’t feel ashamed of the condition, because it’s a natural process. If you’re suffering from gynecomastia,don’thesitate to seek medical help, and you’ll almost certainly be glad you did.