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Men's Health

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Enlarged Breasts in Men: Causes and Treatments

Diagnosis continued...

Your doctor may test your blood or hormones to get more information if a physical exam shows that your breast size is larger than normal, the lump is sore, or your lymph nodes are swollen.

Gynecomastia caused by breast cancer is rare. But if your doctor suspects a tumor, he may send you for a mammogram. Some men also get a biopsy -- a small piece of the lump will be removed, then looked at more closely in a lab.

Treatment

Usually you don't need to be treated. Teenagers' breasts will go back to a more normal shape on their own, often within 2 to 3 years. During that time, ice packs and ibuprofen can lessen any pain.

If a health issue is causing your gynecomastia, treating it will help. And if your breast size has changed because of a medicine you’re taking, you’ll see an improvement once you stop or switch to another drug. (But don’t do so without talking to your doctor first.) It’s also important to give up alcohol and any illegal drugs.

If your condition doesn't go away and you don't like the look of your chest, your doctor may prescribe a medicine that reduces the amount of estrogen your body makes.

Surgery can also restore the shape of your chest and improve your self-image. After making a small cut, a plastic surgeon removes any extra breast tissue. Because your breast will then become smaller and flatter, he may also need to reposition the nipple or areola (the dark area around it). Some guys get liposuction, too. That’s where the doctor suctions out extra fat under the skin.

While surgery is meant to give lasting results, you’ll need to stick to a healthy lifestyle to keep your new shape. Gaining too much weight, using steroids, or taking drugs that affect your testosterone levels can all cause your gynecomastia to come back.

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Reviewed on December 13, 2015

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