Gynecomastia is a condition where the male chest takes on a more feminine appearance. There are many causes of gynecomastia. However, there are instances where gynecomastia is a natural part of a male’s life cycle. This is referred to as physiologic gynecomastia.
Physiologic gynecomastia occurs in three phases of a male’s life. The first phase is in the newborn period. Here the newborn still has a high level of circulating estrogens which causes a somewhat fuller chest. This resolves during childhood. The second phase is during puberty and again this is due to hormonal changes. Some studies show that up to 65% of boys going through puberty develop some form of gynecomastia. In most of these boys the gynecomastia resolves within two years. The third phase in middle aged men. As men get older they begin to develop more fatty changes in their chest. Because fat is sensitive to estrogen, it is not atypical to develop gynecomastia at this time. These are the natural phases of gynecomastia formation. Of course men can develop gynecomastia at any time if they are on certain medications, use certain drugs, or develop certain tumors.
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