What is the cause of gigantomastia?

What is the cause of gigantomastia?

Every human wants to live the best life they could possibly have. We all know that in reality there is no perfect life as we humans will always be faced with problems and issues. If you are born with a normal human body and able to live a good life, you should be grateful and always count your blessings. In this DoctorOnCall’s article, we will learn about gigantomastia which can cause great worries to people as it may seem weird or even causing discomfort.

Before learning more about gigantomastia, you may want to understand more about breast itself as this condition affects the specific body part. Breast is usually associated with women as the main function of it is to feed the offspring. It is also regarded as an external identification of femininity or part of sexual attractiveness. Surprisingly, men also have breasts but it is usually not that visible and not functional like in women. The main part of the breast is the nipple, lobes, milk ducts, areola and tissues which is the fatty and fibrous one.

Gigantomastia is an uncommon condition characterised by a large breast size. This breast growth may occur spontaneously, developed in pregnancy or when a person hits puberty. It may also occur as side effects from certain medications. Gigantomastia is often referred to as the particular weight of excess breast tissue. Breast growth in gigantomastia may occur for a few years but there are cases where it occurs only within a few weeks. Gigantomastia can be considered as a benign condition which means it is rarely a cancerous disease.

What is the cause of gigantomastia? It is not fully known why and how gigantomastia occurs but it is said due to the female hormones such as estrogen. This means that a person may have increased sensitivity towards the female hormones or have genetics making them easily affected by the hormones. However, some women may have the condition spontaneously without any apparent causes. Gigantomastia has been associated with puberty, pregnancy, medication such as cyclosporine and certain autoimmune diseases such as SLE and myasthenia gravis.

Even though gigantomastia is regarded as a benign condition, the symptoms can be a great challenge to those affected by the condition. Symptoms such as breast pain (mastalgia), ulceration or infection to the skin surrounding the breast, skin abrasion, back pain, posture problems and loss of nipple sensation due to the chronic traction injury, are among the common symptoms experienced by those with gigantomastia.

Those with symptoms of gigantomastia might want to get checked by a doctor. This is to ensure it is not something serious. Doctors diagnose gigantomastia based on the patient’s history and physical examination. In most cases, another diagnostic test is not needed, with exception of there is suspicion of other underlying problems.

There is no standard treatment for gigantomastia. Treatment provided will depend on the case or symptoms. If there is a sign of infection, doctors may prescribe antibiotics to curb the infection. Pain can be dealt with over-the-counter medication. Ulcers can be relieved with warm dressing to improve the condition. In most cases however, patients might want to consider surgery to reduce the breast size. Common surgery is the reduction of mammoplasty. This surgery reduces the breast tissue. Doctors may also prescribe medication that help to slow down or stop the breast growth such as bromocriptine and medroxyprogesterone. These drugs can be given before or after the surgery. In some cases, patients may be considered to go for mastectomy. Mastectomy is a procedure of removing all breast tissues. Implant can be given following mastectomy. For pregnant women with gigantomastia, treatment usually is not needed as it usually goes away after giving birth but may consider surgery to reduce the breast size.

While it is true that gigantomastia is harmless and its symptoms are not life-threatening, patients with this condition may want to consider getting medical advice to treat it. This is to avoid the many complications that could arise such as difficulty to be physically active and emotional distress such as depression, anxiety, body image problems and avoidance towards social settings due to embarrassment and harassment. Gigantomastia in women who have just given birth may have problems in feeding the baby and are likely to get breasts sore when feeding the baby. This will affect the baby’s growth and development due to lack of nutrition.

It can be concluded that gigantomastia is a condition of excessive breast growth. It is a harmless condition as it does not cause cancer or spread to other parts of the body. Despite it not being a dangerous condition, its complications such as posture and back problems, likelihood of infections and even emotional distress, are valid reasons for patients to get treated. Treatment such as reduction surgery is often recommended in most cases. Mastectomy is the definitive treatment for gigantomastia but this may not be recommended in most cases.

Caroline Frazier

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