Gynecomastia, which is the excessive growth of breast tissue in the chest, can be classified in four different grades. Each grade is based on the severity of the condition. You can have some cases that are mild and will usually go away on their own after some time. In other cases, gynecomastia can be more severe and may require an extensive treatment plan to take care of the issue. Knowing which grade you are can guide you in what course of action to take. Here are the four different grades of gynecomastia.

Grade 1

Grade 1 indicates a small breast enlargement with a localized tissue around the areola or surrounding nipple area. Due to a slight swelling, the localized tissue will have a different color from the breast tissue in the area. In general, the condition usually isn't noticeable when wearing clothing, and may not require much treatment if it doesn't persist.

Grade 2

Grade 2 gynecomastia is defined as a mild or moderate enlargement of the breast that expands to the width of the chest. At this grade, some males wear loose clothing for their chest to not be as noticeable. Sometimes, a doctor might suggest surgery at this stage, but there are also other non-surgical treatment options you can try, such as abstaining from certain drugs, weight loss, and compression shirts. You can learn more about a gynecomastia compression shirt from confidence body wear.

Grade 3

When gynecomastia reaches grade 3, the breast enlargement becomes more moderate to significant. The chest's width is expanded, and there's an increase in excess skin. At this stage, the condition can become highly visible, even with wearing loose clothing. As the condition is more visible, it may increase the sense of insecurity men feel about their bodies.

Grade 4

Grade 4 is the most severe stage of gynecomastia a male can have. This stage is defined as having a significant breast enlargement with a large amount of excess skin. The chest in this condition has more of a feminine breast appearance. Surgery may potentially be unavoidable at this stage, but non-surgical treatment options should always be considered first.

What factors contribute to the grade of gynecomastia?

The grade of gynecomastia can be affected by a few different factors. If gynecomastia runs in your family, you’ll be more likely to develop it. Young males have more elastin in their skin, which holds the breast tissue more upright and makes it less likely for cases of gynecomastia to be severe. Those who are older have less elastin in their skin, which makes it more likely that gynecomastia may become severe. Additionally, sun damage can cause a breakdown of the skin, increasing skin laxity, and increasing the severity of the condition. 

Knowing the grade of gynecomastia that you have will help you better understand what specific treatment plan will be best for you. If you're unclear what grade your condition is in, you can contact a medical professional to get a proper diagnosis.