A medical condition of swollen breast gland tissues in males due to a hormonal disproportion between estrogen and testosterone is recognised as gynecomastia. Testosterone in males controls particular characteristics like muscle tone and bodily hair (including facial and chest hair), and estrogen in females controls unique traits like breast growth.
When the estrogen out-proportionates testosterone in males, it causes a hormonal imbalance leading to gynecomastia. There are certain phases of a male’s life when he experiences gynecomastia. As a newborn, every male receives estrogen from his mother. That’s why most males are born with swollen breasts. It fades away on its own within 2 to 3 weeks after the birth. While going through puberty, initially, some boys experience enlarged breasts due to the change in hormones. But it goes away in 6 months to 2 years. Between the age of 50 to 80 years, one in every four males suffers from gynecomastia.
The 4 Stages Of Gynecomastia
According to the experts, gynecomastia occurs in 4 stages, which are as follows:
- Grade I: Only a mild swelling over the breasts can be felt in this stage of gynecomastia. There is no extra skin development.
- Grade II: In grade II, there is no extra skin development. But men do feel swollen nipples and enlarged breasts.
- Grade III: In this stage of gynecomastia, males experience considerably swollen breasts and nipples and mild skin tissue growth.
- Grade IV: Relatively large breast and excess skin growth
These stages occur and are identified by the doctors based on the extent of hormonal imbalance.
How To Identify Each Stage?
Identifying a disease or a medical condition is the first step towards its treatment. Knowing which gyno stages you are suffering from can help you choose the best treatment for it. Often gynecomastia goes away on its own within two years. Surgical treatment is a definite solution for it.
The four stages of gynecomastia have a few distinct traits specified as follows:
- Grade I: A stage 1 gynecomastia is very difficult to identify as there are no particular signs and symptoms. There are no swollen tissues around the breasts. However, the area surrounding the nipples begins to have discolouration, and the nipples start to look like the shape of a cone.
- Grade II: In the gynecomastia stage 2, patients start to feel mildly swollen breasts. The chest begins to feel stiffer while wearing loose shirts. According to the doctors, this stage is the most appropriate one for gynecomastia surgery for good results.
- Grade III: There is a considerable protrusion of breasts in this stage. The droopy breasts become visible even over loosely fitted clothes.
- Grade IV: Stage 4 or Grade IV is by far the easiest to identify. In this stage, the breasts grow significantly larger to the point of becoming women-like. The only and definite treatment for Grade IV gynecomastia is surgery.
If you feel like you are developing even the mildest symptoms, you might be in the early stages of gynecomastia. So consulting a doctor for an examination is highly advisable.
What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia in any stage is a consequential condition affecting a man’s appearance massively. It results in embarrassment among peers. Every so often, it might become a cause for an inferiority complex and self-deprecation. More than affecting someone physically, it could affect their mental and psychological healthcare, causing anxiety and stress.
So it is not hard to think that the patient might want to get rid of it as soon as possible. There are non-surgical treatments like medicines and hormone replacement.
The primary reason for gynecomastia is low testosterone which is often due to the natural process of ageing. So, often a hormone replacement treatment is suggested by the doctors. It can be given to the patient in several forms like an injection, a skin patch and gel-like topical ointment.
The most successful treatment for gynecomastia, though, is surgery. Often when gynecomastia is identified, it is in its later stages when non-surgical options become redundant. Gynecomastia surgery is prevalent among men over the age of 50. It involves excision of the glands and liposuction, which reduces the swollen breasts significantly.
After the surgery, it is imperative to follow the doctor’s instructions and prescriptions to the point. A particular diet and regular exercise can make this treatment even more successful.
For any more information on gynecomastia and its treatment, book an appointment with Dr Sunil Arora at the ALCS India on the website alcsindia.com.