What causes breast enlargement in men? 8 possible conditions

Viewing 8 of 8 results

Overview

Breast enlargement in men is called gynecomastia. Gynecomastia can occur during early childhood or puberty. Older men can also suffer from gynecomastia due to hormonal changes or medication side effects. Breast swelling can also result from abnormal growths within the breast muscles or tissue or from an injury to the breast. Most cases of gynecomastia do not require treatment. However, the condition can affect self-esteem and cause sufferers to withdraw from public activities. Gynecomastia is treatable with medication, surgery or by discontinuing use of certain medications or illegal substances.

What Causes Breast Enlargement in Men?

A decrease in the hormone testosterone or an increase in the hormone estrogen cause most cases of breast enlargement in men. These hormone fluctuations can affect infants, children entering puberty, and older men for a variety of reasons.

Andropause

Andropause is a phase in a man’s life that is similar to menopause in a woman’s. During andropause, the body’s production of male sex hormones, especially testosterone declines, over several years. This usually occurs around middle age. The resulting hormone imbalance may cause breast swelling, hair loss, and insomnia.

Puberty

Although boys’ bodies produce androgens (male sex hormones), they also produce the female hormone estrogen. When entering puberty, adolescents may produce more estrogen than androgens. This can result in swollen breast tissue. The condition is usually temporary and subsides as the hormone levels rebalance.

Breast Milk

Infants may develop gynecomastia when drinking their mothers’ breast milk. The hormone estrogen is present in breast milk, so nursing babies may experience a slight increase in the level of the hormone. This can result in breast swelling.

Drugs

Drugs such as steroids and amphetamines can cause estrogen levels to increase slightly. This can result in swollen breasts.

What Are the Symptoms of Breast Enlargement in Men?

The symptoms of gynecomastia include:

  • swollen breasts
  • breast discharge
  • breast tenderness

Depending on the cause, additional symptoms may be present. If you have symptoms of male breast enlargement, contact your doctor so that he or she can determine the cause of your condition.

How Is Breast Enlargement in Men Diagnosed?

To determine the cause of your swollen breasts, your physician will ask questions about your medical history and your family’s medical history. He or she will also physically examine your breasts and genitals.

If the cause of your condition is not clear, your physician will order blood tests to check your hormone levels and a mammogram (breast X-ray) to view your breast tissue and check for any abnormal growths. In some cases, further tests such as ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, computed tomography (CT) scans, X-rays, or biopsies may be necessary.

How Is Breast Enlargement in Men Treated?

Gynecomastia usually requires no treatment and goes away on its own. However, if it results from an underlying medical condition, that condition must be treated to resolve the breast enlargement.

In cases of painful gynecomastia, medications or surgery may be used to correct the condition.

Liposuction can be used to remove excess breast fat and reduce the size of the breasts. In cases where swollen tissue is to blame, your physician may suggest a mastectomy, a surgery to remove the excess tissue.

Medications

The drugs tamoxifen and raloxifene can treat breast enlargement in men The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved these drugs o treat breast cancer, but research has shown that they are effective in treating some cases of gynecomastia.

Counseling

Gynecomastia may cause you to feel embarrassed or self-conscious. If you feel that it is making you depressed or if you are feeling too self-conscious to take part in your normal activities, speak to your doctor or to a counselor. It may also help to talk with other men who have the condition in a support-group setting.

Article Sources:

Read More

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Hyperthyroidism

The thyroid gland produces a hormone that controls how your cells use energy (metabolize). Hyperthyroidism occurs when the body produces excessive amounts, causing rapid heart rates, weight loss, and heat intolerance.

Read more »

2

Graves' Disease

Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to hyperthyroidism and causes thyroid swelling.

Read more »

3

Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is severe scarring and poor function of the liver caused by long-term exposure to toxins such as alcohol or viral infections. Certain medications and disorder can also cause cirrhosis.

Read more »

4

Alcoholic Liver Disease

Damage to the liver from excessive drinking can lead to ALD. Years of alcohol abuse cause the liver to become inflamed and swollen. This damage can also cause scarring known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the final stage o...

Read more »

5

Hypogonadism

Hypogonadism occurs when your sex glands produce little or no sex hormones. The sex glands, also called gonads, are the testes in men and the ovaries in women. Sex hormones help control sex characteristics, such a...

Read more »

6

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is cancer that originates in one or both testicles (testes), the male reproductive glands located inside the scrotum responsible for producing sperm and the testosterone hormone.

Read more »

7

Pituitary Cancer

The pituitary gland is a very small gland of major importance to the functioning of the human body. It is located directly behind the eyes and below the front of the brain. It is about the size of a pea. Despite it...

Read more »

8

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is swelling and inflammation of the liver. It's usually caused by a viral infection. There are several types of hepatitis, including: A, B, C, D, and E. Symptoms may not occur until liver damage occurs.

Read more »

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
  • Page 1 of 1
Advertisement
Add another symptom to narrow down the possibilities

I'm experiencing:

Choose from list of symptoms:

Advertisement
Advertisement