As a man, having gynecomastia, or excess breast tissue, can be embarrassing. It can occur even in otherwise fit, muscular men, and it can leave men afraid to take off their shirts at the pool or in front of an intimate partner. Up to 70 percent of men will experience this during their lifetime.
Gynecomastia is also an unforeseen side effect of the rapid boom of recreational marijuana in Colorado. Pot has become the most common cause of enlarged male breasts among 18-to-35-year-olds. Since recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2012, gynecomastia procedures have increased by 8 percent.
At Grossman | Caparo Plastic Surgery, we understand the pain that men with gynecomastia endure on a daily basis. We also believe that men in Colorado should be able to enjoy legal recreational substances without worrying about the social stigma of developing large breasts. We're proud to offer male breast reduction surgery to our patients in Denver and throughout the state.
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is not caused by excess fat developing on a man's breasts. Instead, it is the result of changing hormone levels that can have a variety of triggers and lead to the development of excess breast tissue.
Men are born with a combination of male and female hormones. Typically, male hormones like testosterone, which spurs muscle and body hair growth, far outweigh small traces of female hormones such as estrogen, which dictates breast size.
When a man's hormonal balance is thrown off, his testosterone levels can decrease, or his estrogen levels can increase. This may lead to gynecomastia as the now-higher percentage of estrogen in his body causes him to develop more breast tissue.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
The hormonal imbalance that triggers gynecomastia often occurs at one of three stages of life:
- Infancy: More than 50 percent of male infants are born with enlarged breasts because of their mother's estrogen. These usually return to their standard size within three weeks of birth.
- Puberty: Hormone changes during puberty can cause gynecomastia that usually goes away without treatment within six months.
- Old age: At least one in four men between the ages of 50 and 69 develop gynecomastia as their testosterone production decreases in old age.
Besides those instances where gynecomastia may occur as part of your body's natural changes throughout your life, the condition may also be caused by certain illnesses and medications, including:
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Anabolic steroids
- Heart medications
How Does Smoking Weed Cause Gynecomastia?
Like many of the medications listed above, marijuana can act as an estrogen stimulator. Preclinical studies by the National Institutes of Health found that pot use can both increase estrogen production in men and decrease testosterone production.
The exact reason for this is not yet known. One theory is that THC, the psychoactive component of weed, blocks the release of GnRH. GnRH is a hormone that triggers the production of other hormones, including testosterone.
Contact Our Denver Gynecomastia Surgeons Today
At Grossman | Caparo Plastic Surgery, our team is dedicated to helping men live free of the embarrassment of gynecomastia. We use state-of-the-art techniques and technologies to help our patients achieve the bodies they've always wanted to have.
We serve Denver, Aurora, Littleton, Highlands Ranch, and nearby areas of Colorado. Call (303) 320-5566 today to schedule your consultation.