Gynecomastia. What is it?

Gynecomastia comes from the word woman and the word breast meaning women-like-breasts.

It is an excessive development of the male mammary glands that leads to breast enlargement.

The breast of an adult male resembles that of girls before puberty and is composed of small pores coated with level cells which are surrounded by connective tissue.

These cells in girls respond to the adolescent hormones. The increase of pores and that of the adjacent tissues lead to the enlargement of the male breast and as a result to gynecomastia. This condition can occur physiologically in neonates (female hormones passed from mother to infant), in adolescents and in the elderly.

In adolescents it may be caused due to an imbalance of hormones. The 40% will present gynecomastia due to hormones secreted by the testicles. This generally regresses on its own within 2 years in most of the cases but if it persists (10% of the cases) a surgery is required.

The removal of glandular tissue in gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is distinguished in idiopathic which actually accounts for the biggest percentage of the patients and in secondary which is due to diseases and medications.

A separate category is the pseudo-gynecomastia which involves only fat deposition and is also called lipomastia. In obese people, lipomastia generally involves mammary gland hypertrophy.

Gynecomastia should be distinguished from muscle hypertrophy of the pectoralis major muscle caused by exercise, swimming, (weights) bench press, etc.