Gynecomastia is a medical condition in men that is characterized by an enlargement of male breasts. The glandular tissues in male breasts become enlarged, leading to a lateral expansion of the breasts almost making them look like female breasts.
Gynecomastia is a more common condition than you might think, especially among adolescent boys. Gynecomastia that is caused during puberty or adolescence is usually only temporary due to the normal hormonal changes that take place at this time. In most cases, adolescent gynecomastia will resolve on its own in the span of few weeks to a few months. In rare cases, adolescent boys may experience enlarged breasts for a year or more. If the condition continues to persist beyond the age of 17, it is unlikely to resolve on its own and medical intervention may be necessary.
What Causes Gynecomastia to Develop?
Before looking at gynecomastia causes, it is necessary to understand the differences between gynecomastia, physiologic gynecomastia and pseudo gynecomastia.
• Pseudo gynecomastia is not a medical condition but enlargement of breasts due to the accumulation of excess fat.
• The medical condition of gynecomastia is caused due to an excess secretion of the female hormones known as estrogens. Men have more male hormones known as androgens but men also have estrogens. When the latter is more in number than the former, a man can develop gynecomastia.
• Physiologic gynecomastia is the temporary enlargement of male breasts particularly seen in adolescent boys because of a sudden hormonal fluctuation. As discussed previously, this hormonal fluctuation, which can cause estrogens to outnumber androgens, will typically be rectified naturally as the boy grows from an adolescent to a young adult.
There are a number of different gynecomastia causes. One of the most common gynecomastia causes is hormonal imbalance in the male body. This can be caused naturally, due to lifestyle choices or as a result of medications the individual is taking.
There are many other gynecomastia causes among which malnutrition, disorders of the testes, genetic conditions, infections and certain medical conditions are very common. There are few types of cancers which can cause gynecomastia, especially testicular tumors. There are several different types of medicines that can lead to gynecomastia, including spironolactone (Aldactone), nifedipine (Procardia), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec) and isoniazid, ketoconazole and metronidazole. Drug use and abuse such as alcohol addiction, marijuana and heroin are also among the potential gynecomastia causes. HIV can also cause enlargement of breasts in males.
Additionally, there are some cosmetic products, foods and chemical exposure that can be counted among gynecomastia causes as well. However, due to lack of extensive research and unanimity, there isn’t enough conclusive evidence as to which products and synthetically processed ingredients in particular cause this condition.
Interested in Male Breast Reduction?
To schedule a consultation to discuss gynecomastia treatment, please call (281) 282-9555. Dr. Clayton Moliver of Houston is a Gynecomastia treatment expert who and performs a high number of successful male breast reduction procedures every year. Visit our photo gallery to see the results of some of Dr. Moliver’s previous patients.