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Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Cause Male Breast Growth?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in hypogonadal males has become more prevalent. That is because doctors became more knowledgeable of andropause and the advantages of testosterone therapy. The peripheral transformation of testosterone to estradiol by the enzyme aromatase causes gynecomastia. The condition is humiliating for males and may lead to the abandonment of effective hormonal therapy.

So does hormone replacement therapy cause male breast growth? Generally, hormone therapy for prostate cancer is well-enforced. But, it is frequently associated with gynecomastia and breast swelling or tenderness. The excessive use of antiandrogens as monotherapy is increasing the number of patients with gynecomastia.

Understanding Gynecomastia

The male body releases both testosterone and estrogen, though estrogen level is typically low. Male breast growth may develop if a man has a low testosterone level compared to estrogen; or if a high estrogen level is present in contrast to testosterone. 

Gynecomastia is an unusual growth in the volume of the male breast, which is thought to be caused by an increased estrogen/androgen proportion. Natural diseases and medication are pathological causes of gynecomastia, such as administering estrogens and antiandrogens.

They distort the ratio of hormone distribution in the body. 

Pubertal gynecomastia appears in teenagers when they reach adolescence. There is a significant change in reproductive hormones in the body. Unlike metastatic breast cancer, hormone imbalance and physiologic gynecomastia may resolve themselves over time and without therapy. 

Breast tissue overproduction may be the same in both breasts or more in one breast than the other. As testosterone levels decline in older men, gynecomastia may develop and remain unless treated. Based on research, one out of every four males around the ages of 50 to 80 suffers from gynecomastia. 

The condition is usually not harmful or severe. In some cases, it can cause sore breast tissue. Medical treatments are available to prevent the formation of gynecomastia. Some prescriptions may contain an estrogen blocker and an aromatase inhibitor. 

Conversely, mastectomy with gland excision, liposuction, or a combination of two methods can be efficient. Radiation therapy provides an efficacious remedy for gynecomastia-related breast pain. There are positive outcomes of a lower semicircular periareolar incision mastectomy in men with gynecomastia.

What Causes Male Breast Growth

Muscular shirtless male body part

Gynecomastia is caused by a reduction in the amount of testosterone in comparison to estrogen. Circumstances that block the impacts of testosterone, reduce testosterone, or boost the estrogen level can all cause a low testosterone level. 

Testosterone and estrogen; regulate sex behavior in both males and females. Testosterone modulates male characteristics such as body hair and muscle mass; estrogen receptor regulates female traits such as breast growth and possibly prevent vaginal dryness. 

Most people may think of estrogen as a female hormone. However, males produce it as well - albeit in small amounts. Gynecomastia can be caused by a high estrogen level or hormonal imbalance in males. Low testosterone levels are frequently the result of aging. Implicit medical conditions can also be the source of the problem. 

Consult the doctor to see if the low testosterone is the symptom of an underlying condition, including:

  • damaged testes cells that produce testosterone
  • traumatic accident
  • testicular cancer
  • radiation and chemotherapy
  • swelling
  • brain diseases that affect the hypothalamus and pituitary gland

Furthermore, anabolic steroids may be harming the body's capacity to produce testosterone. The growth of prostate cancer is typically dependent on testosterone. Hormone therapy inhibits or reduces the amount of testosterone in the body. When combined with other medications, this can reduce the risk of early prostate cancer returning. 

It can also shrink or slow the progression of advanced prostate cancer. Breast enlargement can occur in one or both chests. It could be excruciating. It all starts with fatty tissue. However, it has the potential to develop into denser tissue. 

Before proceeding with testosterone replacement therapy, the doctor will discuss the possibility of swollen breast tissue. Certain types of male hormone therapy can cause more breast swelling. It includes bicalutamide when taken for an extended period of 6 months.

There are some risks associated with testosterone replacement therapy. Men who are at risk of developing breast or prostate cancer should not use testosterone replacement therapy. There has been some debate over whether the treatment increases the risk of producing prostate cancer. 

In addition, it may significantly raise the risk of cardiovascular disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and an increase in the production of red blood cells. It's important to talk to a doctor about more recent studies, as well as the risks and benefits of testosterone treatment.

Breast Swelling Treatments

Cropped shot of a senior doctor giving his male patient a thorough checkup during his consultation

Medications such as raloxifene (Evista) and tamoxifen (Soltamox) can treat gynecomastia. These medicines have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat breast cancer cells but not gynecomastia. 

Any use of drug treatments that are not FDA approved, is referred to as "off-label" use. Off-label medications could be risk-free. However, before beginning treatment, consult a doctor about using these medicines.

There are surgical alternatives available too. An example is liposuction, which eliminates excess belly fat. It can also remove fat from the breasts. Moreover, liposuction does not affect the breast gland. The surgical treatment of breast gland tissue is known as mastectomy. 

It is possible to perform the procedure with tiny incisions and a comparatively short healing process. These therapies may include restorative or cosmetic surgery to help achieve the desired shape and appearance. 

Addressing low testosterone levels is beneficial in treating gynecomastia. Men's testosterone levels start to fluctuate as they age. That is why countless older men experiment with testosterone replacement therapy. Treatments come in a variety of forms: skin gels, patches, and injections. 

Typically, men who obtain a hormone treatment see visible outcomes. They frequently see improvements in some issues like energy loss, poor sex drive, erectile dysfunction, sleep disturbances, and muscle mass. 

They may also notice an improvement in their perspective and mental state. Bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones can help solve gynecomastia in men with low testosterone. Other treatments include radiotherapy and tamoxifen.

Radiotherapy utilizes high-energy x-rays to lessen swelling. It is the primary method of preventing and treating breast swelling. It's known as breast-bud radiotherapy. A patient can only have either one or two sessions with a small dose. 

For several weeks after the treatment, the skin around the nipple may be red and swollen. It is unlikely to have a male breast cancer risk developing in the treated area through the years. The doctor will discuss everything with the patient. 

Tamoxifen works by inhibiting estrogen production. It reduces the swelling of breast tissue. According to research, men who take bicalutamide can keep breast swelling at bay and lessen the pain. Tamoxifen can cause hot flashes and other adverse effects. 

It is unknown how tamoxifen may affect hormone treatments for prostate cancer. Further research is necessary to figure out. If radiotherapy does not relieve the breast swelling, the doctor may recommend tamoxifen.

An expert advises everyone to see a doctor at least once a year. Male breast cancer, while uncommon, does occur and must be ruled out. Other warning signs include unexpected breast pain and one-sided breast enlargement. 

There are some things men can do to lessen the risk of gynecomastia:

  • Don't abuse drugs. Steroids and androgens, amphetamines, heroin, and marijuana are a few examples.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Don't consume any alcoholic beverages. If a patient must consume alcohol, drink in moderation.
  • Examine the medicines. When taking medication for gynecomastia, check with the doctor if there are any alternatives.

Talk to a Doctor

Breast pain and swelling can be distressing and hard to handle. Most men feel ashamed and less confident in themselves. A patient may be hesitant to discuss low hormone levels and gynecomastia. However, the circumstances are not unusual. 

According to the Boston University School of Medicine, between 4 and 5 million men in the United States have low testosterone levels. Gynecomastia is also quite common. Low testosterone and gynecomastia are common issues in men, especially as they get older. 

If a patient hasn't been given any medical advice for breast swelling and notices it's starting, see a healthcare professional as soon as possible. There are numerous treatments available. They can determine the best possible treatment and provide support. 

Addressing therapy options with the doctor can help in regaining control of the body and health. Discussing the issues with a therapist is also beneficial. A support network of other men with gynecomastia may give some perspective on coping up with the condition.

Safe and Excellent Hormone Therapy at Revitalize You MD

Hormone replacement therapy can help postmenopausal women and men to avoid risks of cancer and maintain good health rest of their lives. Before proceeding to the treatment, find a reputable health clinic that will support you in getting on board with the therapy. 

At Revitalize You MD, we ensure that each client obtains the excellent hormone therapy experience possible, tailored to their specific needs. We are a team of qualified medical professionals on staff, dedicated to offering goods and services; that will benefit clients in achieving overall wellness. 

Schedule a free consultation now to know about our HRT treatments and other special offers. 


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