One of the features that distinguish men from women is that men have flatter chests. With gynecomastia, this gender difference line is blurred, as men with the condition have enlarged breasts due to an increase in glandular tissue. While there are several roads to gynecomastia, certain medications present some of the more common.
Understanding that a person's health may rely on certain medications, Dr. Thomas McHugh of McHugh Plastic Surgery offers a solution for men who develop gynecomastia — breast reduction surgery.
In the following, we explore which medications can lead to gynecomastia and how we can help undo this unwanted side effect.
What creates glandular breast tissue in women and minimizes it in men are reproductive hormones — men have more testosterone while women have more estrogen and progesterone.
To give you an idea of the influence of hormones, 50-60% of adolescent boys have gynecomastia, which is a result of the hormonal shifts from boyhood to manhood. As adolescents mature, the extra breast tissue typically recedes as testosterone takes over, leaving them with flatter chests.
If you’re taking medications that alter your reproductive hormone levels, this can lead to gynecomastia. According to GoodRx Health, these medications affect hormones in one of two ways: by negatively affecting androgens (male hormones) or increasing estrogen.
Medications that tamper with your androgens can make you more susceptible to the estrogen in your body and lead to gynecomastia.
Examples of anti-androgen medications include:
- Prostate medications, such as bicalutamide and flutamide
- Spironolactone (Aldactone®)
- Finasteride (Proscar®)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet®)
There are some medications that increase the levels of estrogen in men, which can lead to gynecomastia.
- AIDS medications, such as efavirenz (Sustiva®)
- Diazepam (Valium®)
- Digoxin (Lanoxin®)
- Phenytoin (Dilantin®)
In influencing the balance between the estrogens and androgens in your body, these medications have been known to create more breast tissue.
The third category of medications that can lead to gynecomastia are those that encourage higher-than-normal levels of prolactin in your body. We turn once again to GoodRx Health for the following list:
- Haloperidol (Haldol®)
- Risperidone (Risperdal®)
- Metoclopramide (Reglan®)
- Antidepressant medications, such as fluoxetine (Prozac®) and sertraline (Zoloft®)
- Medications that contain opioids, such as morphine and methadone
As you can see, many of the medications we list above are ones that need to be taken and stopping the treatment isn’t a good idea. In these cases, we can help with gynecomastia through breast reduction surgery.
What happens during gynecomastia surgery
When we perform breast reduction surgery for gynecomastia, we go in and remove the excess tissue to smooth out your chest once again. Depending upon the extent of the excess tissue, we use liposuction, excision, or a combination of the two.
If necessary, we can also resize and/or relocate your nipples.
We make every effort to keep scarring to a minimum so that you can once again bare your chest with confidence.
If you want to explore breast reduction surgery for your gynecomastia, please contact our office in The Woodlands, Texas, to set up a consultation.