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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Gynecomastia (Man Boobs): Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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The mammary glands are naturally bigger in women than they are in men. However, sometimes, men may begin to notice an increase in their breast size, which can cause them to become worried.

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In this article, we will be discussing gynecomastia, possible causes of gynecomastia, and treatment options. Gynecomastia is a term Breast to describe breast enlargement with increased breast gland tissue in men.

Gynecomastia is known to not be age-specific as it can occur anytime in a man’s life from during early childhood, during puberty, or from as old as 60 years and above, which can sometimes be a normal change.

It is also possible for men to have gynecomastia as a result of hormonal changes, or as a side effect of certain medication. The enlargement can happen to either one or to both breasts. Pseudogynecomastia is also another related topic, but will not be discussed here.

Pseudogynecomastia is caused by obesity, and can be caused by the presence of more fat in the breast tissue, but never increased gland tissue.

The truth about most cases of gynecomastia is that they do not require any treatment. However, some people have a problem with it for cosmetic reasons, as the condition can lead to low self-esteem and also cause a person who has it to withdraw from public activities.

Gynecomastia is treatable with surgery, medication, or by stopping the use of specific drugs or the use of illegal substances.

What are the common symptoms of breast enlargement in men?

Some of the most popular symptoms of gynecomastia are:

  • Swollen breasts
  • Breast discharge
  • Breast tenderness

Depending on the cause of the increase in breast size, there may be other mild or discomforting symptoms as well.

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If you notice any of the listed symptoms of male breast enlargement, it is advisable to consult your doctor so that they can quickly determine the cause of your gynecomastia.

What are the common Causes of Breast Enlargement in Men?

A decrease in the male hormone, testosterone usually accompanied by an increase in the female hormone estrogen is responsible for most cases of gynecomastia or breast enlargement in men.

These hormone fluctuations can be healthy at different phases of life and can affect infants, children entering puberty, and older men.


Andropause is a compulsory phase in a man’s life that is a lot similar to menopause in women. During andropause, there is a gradual production of the male sex hormones, especially testosterone, over several years.

While the symptoms do not always have the same effect on every person, this stage is a compulsory one and usually occurs around middle age. The hormone imbalance that results from this may cause insomnia, gynecomastia, and hair loss.


For the treatment of this bodily change, medications that affect or help to balance hormone levels, such as raloxifene and tamoxifen, can be used.


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For a lot of people who have gynecomastia, there is a high tendency to feel embarrassed, self-conscious, or even begin to avoid friends and family members.

If you feel like this bodily change is making you feel depressed, or if you are too self-conscious to engage in your normal daily activities such as schooling or going to work, it is safe to speak to your doctor or a counselor.

If you know other men or boys who are dealing with the same condition, it is also alright to talk to them about how you are feeling in a support group setting.

Important facts to remember

Gynecomastia is not age-specific and can occur in boys and men of all ages. Talking to your doctor early enough, or as soon as you start feeling bothered, can help you find out the underlying cause of the gynecomastia or breast enlargement.

While gynecomastia doesn’t always need treatment, there are a number of available treatment or management options you can choose from depending on the cause.

Puberty can be a cause

Although the body of boys’ naturally produce androgens (male sex hormones), their bodies also produce estrogen, which is the female hormone.

When getting into puberty, boys may produce more estrogen and less of androgens. This imbalance can result in gynecomastia.

There is usually no cause for alarm when this happens, as the condition is usually a temporary one, and quickly subsides as hormone levels begin to rebalance.

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Breast Milk may be a cause

Infants may also develop gynecomastia when feeding solely on their mother’s breast milk. This is also not a cause for worry.

The hormone estrogen is a natural part of breast milk, so it isn’t strange for nursing babies to experience a minor increase in their estrogen levels. Drugs such as amphetamines and steroids can also cause a slight increase in estrogen levels as well.

This can also be the cause of gynecomastia

Other Medical Conditions

There are a few medical conditions that can lead to gynecomastia. Less common causes of this bodily change include hyperthyroidism, testicular tumors, liver failure (cirrhosis), and chronic renal failure.

How do doctors diagnose breast enlargement in Men?

To find out the cause of your swollen breasts, the doctor will have to ask a number of questions about your family’s medical history and your medical history.

The doctor will also have to physically examine your genitals and breasts. In gynecomastia, the breast tissue is usually more than 0.5 centimeters in diameter.

If your doctor is not sure about the cause of your condition, he or she may order a few blood tests to check your hormone levels and also order a mammogram or ultrasound to examine your breast tissue and also check for any abnormal growths. Sometimes, further tests such as X-rays, MRI scans, CT scans, or biopsies may be required.

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How to treat Breast Enlargement in Men

As earlier mentioned, gynecomastia does not usually require any treatment and will go away on its own. However, if the condition results from any underlying medical condition, there will need to treat that condition to resolve breast enlargement.

In situations where gynecomastia causes disturbance to daily activities, severe pain, or even social embarrassment, there may be a need for medications or surgery to correct the condition.

We hope that we found this article useful. Kindly leave a comment below.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.
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