What Is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia (guy-nuh-koh-MAS-tee-uh) is an increase in the amount of breast gland tissue in boys or men, caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts, sometimes unevenly.

Newborns, boys going through puberty and older men may develop gynecomastia as a result of normal changes in hormone levels, though other causes also exist. Generally, gynecomastia isn't a serious problem, but it can be tough to cope with the condition. Men and boys with gynecomastia sometimes have pain in their breasts and may feel embarrassed.

Gynecomastia may go away on its own. If it persists, medication or surgery may help.

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Symptoms, Cause & Medications



  • nose shaving surgery costSwollen breast tissue

  • nose shaving surgery costBreast tenderness


When to see a doctor

  • nose shaving surgery costSwelling

  • nose shaving surgery costPain or tenderness

  • nose shaving surgery costNipple discharge in one or both breasts



Gynecomastia is triggered by a decrease in the amount of the hormone testosterone compared with estrogen. The decrease can be caused by conditions that block the effects of testosterone, reduce testosterone or increase your estrogen level. Several things can upset the hormone balance, including the following.
The hormones testosterone and estrogen control sex characteristics in both men and women. Testosterone controls male traits, such as muscle mass and body hair. Estrogen controls female traits, including the growth of breasts. Most people think of estrogen as an exclusively female hormone, but men also produce it — though normally in small quantities. Male estrogen levels that are too high or are out of balance with testosterone levels can cause gynecomastia.

  • nose shaving surgery costGynecomastia in infants.More than half of male infants are born with enlarged breasts due to the effects of their mother's estrogen. Generally, the swollen breast tissue goes away within two to three weeks after birth.

  • nose shaving surgery costGynecomastia during puberty.Gynecomastia caused by hormone changes during puberty is relatively common. In most cases, the swollen breast tissue will go away without treatment within six months to two years.

  • nose shaving surgery costGynecomastia in adults.The prevalence of gynecomastia peaks again between the ages of 50 and 69. At least 1 in 4 men in this age group is affected.



A number of medications can cause gynecomastia. These include:

  • nose shaving surgery costAnti-androgens used to treat an enlarged prostate, prostate cancer and other conditions. Examples include flutamide, finasteride (Proscar, Propecia) and spironolactone (Aldactone, Carospir).

  • nose shaving surgery costAnabolic steroids and androgens, which are prescribed by doctors for certain conditions or are sometimes used illegally by athletes to build muscle and enhance performance.

  • nose shaving surgery costAIDS medications. Gynecomastia can develop in men who are HIV-positive and receiving a treatment regimen called highly active antiretroviral therapy. Efavirenz (Sustiva) is more commonly associated with gynecomastia than are other HIV medications.

  • nose shaving surgery costAnti-anxiety medications, such as diazepam (Valium).

  • nose shaving surgery costTricyclic antidepressants.

  • nose shaving surgery costAntibiotics.

  • nose shaving surgery costUlcer medications, such as the over-the-counter drug cimetidine (Tagamet HB).

  • nose shaving surgery costCancer treatment.

  • nose shaving surgery costHeart medications, such as digoxin (Lanoxin) and calcium channel blockers.

  • nose shaving surgery costStomach-emptying medications, such as metoclopramide (Reglan).


Health conditions

Expect to Several health conditions can cause gynecomastia by affecting the normal balance of hormones. These include:

  • nose shaving surgery costHypogonadism.Conditions that interfere with normal testosterone production, such as Klinefelter syndrome or pituitary insufficiency, can be associated with gynecomastia.

  • nose shaving surgery costAging.Hormone changes that occur with normal aging can cause gynecomastia, especially in men who are overweight.

  • nose shaving surgery costTumors.Some tumors, such as those involving the testes, adrenal glands or pituitary gland, can produce hormones that alter the male-female hormone balance.

  • nose shaving surgery costHyperthyroidism.In this condition, the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine.

  • nose shaving surgery costKidney failure.About half the people being treated with dialysis experience gynecomastia due to hormonal changes.

  • nose shaving surgery costLiver failure and cirrhosis.Changes in hormone levels related to liver problems and cirrhosis medications are associated with gynecomastia.

  • nose shaving surgery costMalnutrition and starvation.When your body is deprived of adequate nutrition, testosterone levels drop while estrogen levels remain the same, causing a hormonal imbalance. Gynecomastia can also happen when normal nutrition resumes.


Street drugs and alcohol

  • nose shaving surgery costAlcohol

  • nose shaving surgery costAmphetamines, used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

  • nose shaving surgery costMarijuana

  • nose shaving surgery costHeroin

  • nose shaving surgery costMethadone (Methadose, Dolophine)

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