BODY SIGNAL ALERT BREASTS, ENLARGED: DESCRIPTION AND POSSIBLE MEDICAL PROBLEMS

Among men who regularly work out with weights, firm, defined pectoral muscles are a sign of a well-exercised body. Some people think they’re sexy, while others get turned off if they think they look too much like a woman’s breasts.

However, no matter what your personal feelings are on the issue, if you notice that one or both of your breasts have grown larger recently, you need to see your doctor.

If both breasts feel fleshy and firm and the nipples are pointing slightly downward, you probably have a condition called gynecomastia, which is a frequent side effect of anabolic steroid use and heavy weight training. Sometimes, however, gynecomastia can occur if you have too much estrogen in your system. If your breasts suddenly get bigger and you’re not currently taking anabolic steroids as a muscle enhancement or medication, then you should see your doctor.

Gynecomastia can also result from the presence of a benign or malignant tumor, although a tumor almost always affects just one breast, at least in the beginning. An enlargement will feel like a solid mass, while a tumor tends to be both smaller and harder. Especially in older men, when one breast grows larger, it may be a sign of a tumor.

But breast cancer—or any abnormality in the breast—is extremely rare in men, though it does occur. For every 100 women who get breast cancer, for instance, only 1 man will develop it. Since most men aren’t aware that they can get breast cancer, they rarely check for it or even notice changes in their breasts. As a result, when breast cancer is diagnosed in a man, it’s usually too late.

An underlying liver disease or endocrine disorder may also be responsible for your enlarged breasts. If you’re exhibiting other signs of these diseases—such as jaundice and impotence in the case of liver disease, or sudden loss or gain of weight and fatigue in the case of endocrine disorders—see your doctor immediately. Another cause of gynecomastia in men is certain medications, particularly the drug cimetidine, which is commonly used to treat ulcers, and digoxin, which is prescribed for patients with heart arrhythmia.

Frequently, men who are overweight will develop lipomastia, a form of breast enlargement. In this case, larger breasts are due to an increased distribution of fat all over the body, with some of it settling in the breasts.

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