Unilateral Gynecomastia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

by Matt on June 26, 2017

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Gynecomastia, a condition wherein a male has unusually large breasts, is actually quite common these days.  In most cases, the person has bilateral gynecomastia, which involves the enlargement of both breasts.  However, there is another similar but slightly different condition: unilateral gynecomastia.

Unilateral gynecomastia case

Obviously, the main difference between bilateral and unilateral gynecomastia is symmetry.  Men who have with bilateral gynecomastia have to deal with the growth and enlargement of both breasts.  On the other hand, in men who have unilateral gynecomastia, only one of the breasts is noticeably larger than the other.  The other breast is usually normal in terms of shape and size.  This condition may also be referred to as asymmetric gynecomastia.

Unilateral or asymmetric gynecomastia may also be used to describe the growth of both breasts, but in different degrees.  In other words, both the breasts are larger than normal, although one boob is noticeably bigger than the other boob.  Depending on the amount of breast tissue present, differences between the nipples and the skin around them it may also be observed.

Contrary to what some people may think, unilateral gynecomastia is not a rare condition.  There are many cases of asymmetrical breasts among males who have gynecomastia.  However, the case of an extreme difference between the breasts is not so common.  When the difference between the two breasts is really obvious, this could affect the person not just physically, but emotionally.  He could develop anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem because of his condition.  Consequently, he would also have a hard time meeting friends and establishing intimate relationships with the opposite sex.

Unilateral Gynecomastia Causes

Generally, gynecomastia can be caused by several things.  First of all, there is hormonal imbalance, a condition wherein the male body is not producing adequate amounts of testosterone or the male hormone.  In contrast, there is a high amount of estrogen or the female hormone, which results in the growth and development of breasts.

Other natural causes of gynecomastia are obesity, puberty, and aging.  When a male has excessive fat in his body, it produces a greater amount of estrogen, which leads to unusual breast growth.

Fat men chests

Meanwhile, when a boy reaches his teenage years, his hormone levels go up, causing breast growth.  This usually happens when he is around 14 years old, and the breast growth could be bilateral or unilateral.  In most cases, though, the condition goes away and the breasts shrink bank to their normal size naturally.  Furthermore, as a man gets older, his body is more prone to hormonal imbalance, which causes the enlargement of one or both boobs.

As for unilateral gynecomastia, the one sided man boobs condition may be attributed to several natural factors as well.  The person may be suffering from scoliosis, a condition wherein his spine is curved.  His posture could also be the culprit, specifically if he carries one shoulder slightly lower than the other.  His rib cage may also be asymmetrical, which causes the chest muscles on each side to be different.  One chest muscle may be much bigger than the other, while the other chest muscle did not develop.  Abnormal development of his breast bone could also be causing the unilateral breast growth.

Aside from natural causes, both bilateral and unilateral gynecomastia can also be triggered by drinking too much alcohol, taking steroids, or taking some prescription drugs.  Too much alcohol consumption can damage the liver, making it more difficult for the body to metabolize hormones.

Meanwhile, when taken into the body, steroids can transform into estrogen, leading to breast growth and development.  Moreover, some prescription drugs, including amphetamines, antidepressants, antibiotics, and medications for ulcer and blood pressure can also result in gynecomastia.

Unilateral Gynecomastia Symptoms

As mentioned earlier, the most obvious sign of unilateral gynecomastia is the growth or enlargement of just one breast. In most cases, though, both breasts have the extra tissue, although one breast has a greater amount of tissue than the other.

In any case, both breasts will have to be examined carefully to see if each will require treatment.  This is very important especially in the case of gynecomastia surgery, as the doctor will have to decide whether to operate on just one or both breasts.  This is because there have been cases where only one breast was reduced, but it turns out that the other breast needed to be worked on as well.

Each case of unilateral gynecomastia is different, as each individual has his own medical history and physical characteristics, to begin with.  If you are not sure about how to deal with your situation, it is best to consult a doctor who specializes in gynecomastia.  Only a certified physician can help you determine the actual causes and the best treatments for your case.

Unilateral gynecomastia treatment

Treatment for Unilateral Gynecomastia

There are few possible treatments for unilateral gynecomastia.  The first option is surgery, while the other options include pills, creams and the use of compression clothing.  Of course, the choice of whether to undergo an operation or to go for alternative treatments will depend on the person’s individual case and preference.

Surgery

Some people may think that acquiring treatment for unilateral gynecomastia is easier than getting treated for bilateral gynecomastia.  They couldn’t be more wrong, however, as both cases are not so easy to deal with.  When it comes to surgery, both types require liposuction for removing breast tissues; meanwhile, excision is used for removing deeper tissue.  Moreover, while surgery can help make the breasts as equal in size as possible, it is not always easy to achieve perfect symmetry.  The cost for having one breast reduced surgically is also just the same as the cost of operating on both breasts.

Among all the options, breast reduction surgery offers a permanent result.  However, like any other type of surgery, it involves risks.  There is the risk of excessive bleeding during and after the operation.  The person will also have to deal with scarring and possibly infection after the surgery.  In other words, men who are thinking about undergoing surgery should think carefully and consider the risks before going through with the operation.

Pills

Unitaleral gynecomastia in most cases is a form of gynecomastia which is caused by hormonal imbalance, therefore the same pills can be used that are recommended for both sided gynecomastia. I already covered the use of pills in other articles you can read here or here.

Creams

SImilarly to pills, creams can be used in the same way as in case of bilateral gynecomastia. To learn about this topic read this article about creams for gynecomastia.

Compression Clothing

A person with unilateral gynecomastia can also turn to compression clothing.  Also referred to as gynecomastia garments, compression clothing includes body suits, shirts, and vests that are meant to hide man breasts.  These are typically worn under regular clothes, in the same way that women wear bras and girdles to modify their body shape.

Compression clothing comes in different fabrics, sizes, thickness, and compression ability – but they are all designed to conceal man boobs.  They can be worn daily under regular shirts, office suits, and other types of clothing.

The only drawback to compression clothing is that it can only provide a temporary solution to unilateral gynecomastia.  Nonetheless, compression clothing is still one of the options for those who do not want to undergo surgery.  They can go out without having to worry about their condition.  Teenage boys who have boobs will not have to face bullying or teasing, while young men will not be afraid to socialize or go out on dates.  They can face the world with greater confidence while eliminating the fear and anxiety that often accompanies gynecomastia.

Compression clothing for gynecomastia

Before you buy compression clothing, though, you should consider the quality, as some shirts offer more elasticity than others.  Consider also the size of the compression shirt; make sure that it suits your body and is neither too loose nor too tight.  Opt for fabric that can help keep your body dry instead of materials that tend to absorb sweat.

After buying a compression shirt, make sure that you take care of it properly to prolong its elasticity and quality.  As much as possible, wash the shirt manually using a mild detergent and cold water only, before hanging it out to dry.  If you prefer the washing machine, use a mild detergent and set it on a gentle cycle, before hanging it out to dry.  Do not soak the compression shirt in hot water, as this will affect the elasticity.  With careful washing, cleaning, and handling, you should be able to use your compression shirt for a very long time.

Dealing with Unilateral Gynecomastia

If you happen to be dealing with unilateral gynecomastia, consider the root of the problem before choosing a treatment.  Are you dealing with a natural cause, such as hormonal imbalance, puberty, or aging?  Or is your condition triggered by other causes, like alcohol consumption, steroids, and prescription medications?

Once you have determined the cause of your problem, think about your treatment options.  On the one hand, there is surgery, which is permanent yet costly and full of risks.  On the other hand, you could try alternative treatments like gyno pills and creams. You can also wear compression clothing, which is temporary but more affordable.

Remember that the choice is up to you, based on your personal needs and preferences.  In any case, keep in mind that to every problem, there is a solution.  You can overcome unilateral gynecomastia once you set your mind to it!

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