enlargement with increased breast gland tissue in men is called gynecomastia. Gynecomastia can occur
during early childhood, puberty, or older age (60 years and older), which can
be a normal change. Men can also have gynecomastia due to hormonal changes, or
medication side effects. It can happen to one or both breasts. Pseudogynecomastia
will not be discussed here, but it is caused by obesity and by more fat in the
breast tissue, but not increased gland tissue.
cases of gynecomastia don’t require treatment. However, for cosmetic reasons, the
condition can affect self-esteem and cause someone to withdraw from public
activities. Gynecomastia can be treatable with medication, surgery, or by stopping
use of certain medications or illegal substances.
What Are the Symptoms of
Breast Enlargement in Men?
symptoms of gynecomastia include:
- swollen breasts
- breast discharge
- breast tenderness
on the cause, there may be other symptoms as well. If you have symptoms of male
breast enlargement, contact your doctor so they can determine the cause of your
What Causes Breast
Enlargement in Men?
decrease in the hormone testosterone usually with an increase in the hormone
estrogen cause most cases of breast enlargement in men. These hormone
fluctuations can be normal at different phases of life and can affect infants,
children entering puberty, and older men.
is a phase in a man’s life that’s similar to menopause in a woman’s. During
andropause, production of male sex hormones, especially testosterone, declines
over several years. This usually occurs around middle age. The resulting
hormone imbalance may cause gynecomastia, hair loss, and insomnia.
boys’ bodies produce androgens (male sex hormones), they also produce the
female hormone estrogen. When entering puberty, they may produce more estrogen
than androgens. This can result in gynecomastia. The condition is usually
temporary and subsides as hormone levels rebalance.
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 their levels of estrogen.
such as steroids and amphetamines can cause estrogen levels to increase
slightly. This can result in gynecomastia
Other Medical Conditions
common causes of gynecomastia include testicular tumors, liver failure
(cirrhosis), hyperthyroidism, and chronic renal failure.
How Is Breast Enlargement
in Men Diagnosed?
determine the cause of your swollen breasts, your doctor will ask questions
about your medical history and your family’s medical history. They will also
physically examine your breasts and genitals. In gynecomastia, the breast
tissue is greater than 0.5 centimeters in diameter.
the cause of your condition isn’t clear, your doctor may order blood tests to
check your hormone levels and a mammogram or ultrasound to view your breast
tissue and check for any abnormal growths. In some cases, further tests such as
MRI scans, CT scans, X-rays, or biopsies may be necessary.
How Is Breast Enlargement
in Men Treated?
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.
cases of gynecomastia causing severe pain or social embarrassment, medications
or surgery may be used to correct the condition.
can be used to remove excess breast fat and glandular tissue. In cases where
swollen tissue is to blame, your doctor may suggest a mastectomy, a surgery to
remove excess tissue.
that affect hormone levels, such as tamoxifen and raloxifene, can be used.
may cause you to feel embarrassed or self-conscious. If you feel it’s making
you depressed or you’re too self-conscious to take part in your normal
activities, speak to your doctor or a counselor. It may also help to talk with
other men who have the condition in a support group setting.
can occur in boys and men of any age. Talking to a doctor can help you discover
the underlying cause of the breast enlargement. Depending on the cause, you
have several options for treatment and for managing the condition.