Adolescent gynecomastia, also called as “puffy nipples”, is caused by swelling of the tissues of breast and imbalance of estrogen and testosterone in young men. These are the hormones controlling the hormonal characteristics in both women and men. Female traits like growth of breasts are controlled by estrogen while the male traits like muscle mass and body hair are controlled by testosterone.
Estrogen is commonly believed to be restricted in females, but even men can produce which are though in small quantities. New born babies are said to have naturally occurring breast development due to mother’s estrogen effects on them, and in adolescent boys due to the changes in hormone and older men as well, which is known to be physiologic gynecomastia.
A decrease in the level of testosterone compared with the level of estrogen triggers this condition of enlargement of male boobs. Testosterone level might get decreased due to the condition which increase the level of estrogen or block the effects of testosterone.
Usually, hormones fluctuation leads to elevated estrogen during puberty. According to the research, up to sixty-five percent of adolescent boys have to deal with it where in most of the times, this condition go away within two years after its development.
However, the adolescent male boob tissue remains in approximately 5% of males and it is known as adolescent or persistent pubertal gynecomastia. Breast tissue becomes fibrous and firm in nature in such cases where fat ratios of breast content may vary from person to person. Weight loss or gain can decrease or increase the fat content but the volume of breast remains the same. Also steroids and drugs can stimulate the breast tissue which can become painful and large.
Usually, in most adolescent patients, immediate cosmetic improvement is achieved by surgical correction which is considered to be the best approach.
Highly effective surgical treatment like liposuction is the best way for the excision of glandular tissues which are leading adolescent boys to develop male boobs. After removing the glands, the young, pliable and elastic skin settles back to muscle. Correcting the condition as soon as possible is important since the ability gets reduces with age. For achieving best results, one is advised to wait for two years after the development of breast.
Currently, medical treatment of gynecomastia in adolescent is under investigation. No drugs, for treating male boobs have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) till date.