What Is Gigantomastia?
Gigantomastia is a condition where the skin on your face, neck or chest becomes abnormally thick and hard. It may appear like acne scars or calluses. Some people with gigantism have their body parts grow larger than normal. Others develop other conditions such as enlarged hearts, enlarged spleens, enlarged kidneys, or extra fingers and toes.
People with gigantism often feel embarrassed about their appearance. They may even avoid eye contact and speak slowly. Sometimes they don’t want to go out in public because they fear being stared at. There are no known cures for gigantism but doctors do treat some of its symptoms:
Treatment Options For People With Giganticism
There are several treatments available for people with gigantism including surgery, hormones, laser therapy, and even dieting. Surgery is usually reserved for those with congenital deformities (genetic disorders) or severe cases of gigantism. Hormones are used to increase muscle mass and fat deposits around the body. Laser therapy uses lasers to burn away excess tissue, which can sometimes result in scarring.
Dieting can help reduce weight and improve overall health.
How Is Gigantomastia Diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you questions about your medical history and examine your body. You may be referred to a thyroid specialist who may run a blood test to measure the level of certain hormones in your blood. Other hormone levels may also be measured to determine if there is an imbalance. If gigantism is suspected, an ultrasound of the chest area will usually be used to check for abnormalities in the heart and surrounding organs.
Types of Gigantomastia
There are three main types of gigantism: Acute, Familial, and Acquired. Acute Gigantism is when someone experiences rapid growth during puberty. It’s usually caused by a tumor on the adrenal gland or the pituitary gland. Gigantism is also passed down through families and is called familial gigantism.
One-third of people with this type were born with it. Gigantism can also be acquired later in life due to an injury, tumor, or hormonal imbalance such as Cushing’s syndrome.
Gigantomastia is caused by tumors on the pituitary or adrenal gland, which produce growth hormones. Other causes can be the side effects of certain medications or excessive intake of protein and creatine.
A physical exam and a review of your symptoms are performed. Your doctor may also ask about any family history of growth abnormalities or tumors. You may undergo blood tests to check hormone levels and imaging tests such as ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRI.
Treatment of Gigantomastia
Treatment is usually reserved for people with gigantism who experience medical complications that don’t respond to non-surgical treatments. Pituitary tumors may be treated with chemotherapy and radiation. If you have gigantism that is acquired later in life, your treatment will focus on treating the underlying cause of the gigantism.
Gigantism in children can’t be prevented. Gigantism caused by medication can be prevented by not taking the medication that causes it. Preventing side effects from other medications can be done by adjusting the dosage or replacing the medication altogether.
Gigantomastia in History
Gigantism has been around since the beginning of mankind. The condition has been found in certain species of dinosaurs and was mentioned in the Bible. Several historical figures such as Robert Pershing Wadlow (the tallest man in history) and Patricia Walker (the tallest woman in history) had gigantism.
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