Learning More About Gynecomastia and Its Causes

Gynecomastia is a condition that is experienced by 60% of the male population. It occurs when the breast tissues in men and boys swell, leading to the appearance of male breasts. The swelling is generally caused by hormonal imbalances. If you’re someone living with gynecomastia, then you might have an imbalance of testosterone and estrogen.

This condition can affect one or both breasts. It causes a lot of embarrassment, resulting in further self-esteem and self-confidence issues. Although it isn’t a serious issue medically, it can still be pretty tough to cope with, especially when you’re going through puberty. In many cases, the only treatment for gynecomastia is male breast reduction surgery.

What Are the Causes of Gynecomastia?

The general cause of gynecomastia is when there is an excess of estrogen in the male body when compared to testosterone. This can be caused by a wide variety of factors.

Changes in Your Natural Hormones

Estrogen and testosterone are hormones that are necessary for growth and development. While the testosterone controls the male traits like body hair and muscle mass, the estrogen is in control of female traits such as the growth and development of breasts.

Estrogen is not exclusive to females and testosterone is not exclusive to males. Everyone produces these hormones in different levels. When men produce an excess of estrogen, it can lead to the development of male breasts.

Certain Medications

The development of breasts can be a side effect of many types of medications, including

• Anti-androgens
• Androgens
• Anabolic steroids
• AIDS medications
• Anti-anxiety pills like valium and diazepam
• Antibiotics
• Tricyclic antidepressants
• Cancer treatments like chemotherapy
• Ulcer medications like cimetidine
• Gastric motility medicines like metoclopramide
• Heart medications like calcium channel blockers and digoxin.

Men who are HIV positive could also develop gynecomastia if they’re going through a treatment called highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART.

Alcohol and Drugs

There are certain substances that put you at risk of developing gynecomastia. These include:
• Alcohol
• Marijuana
• Amphetamines
• Methadone
• Heroin

Certain Health Conditions

These health conditions affect normal hormonal balance:

Hypogonadism: If you have any condition that might interfere with the normal production of testosterone, you might be at risk of developing gynecomastia.

Tumors: Certain tumors, especially those that involve the testicles, pituitary glands, or adrenal glands, could produce certain hormones, causing an imbalance in the natural ratio of male-to-female hormones produced by the body.

Aging: Men who struggle with weight issues are more at risk of developing gynecomastia as they age. There is already a hormonal imbalance caused by natural aging. This, in addition to weight problems, only makes matter worse.

Kidney failure: Almost half of the people who are treated with hemodialysis have gynecomastia.

Hyperthyroidism: The thyroid glands produce too much thyroxine, which adds to the development of gynecomastia.

Malnutrition: When you’re not giving your body enough nutrition, your testosterone levels tend to drop, causing an imbalance.

Cirrhosis and liver failure: Liver problems come with their own hormone fluctuations, sometimes also leading to gynecomastia.

Male Breast Reduction

Schedule a consultation for male breast reduction surgery to treat your gynecomastia – contact our office to get started. Dr. Mitchell D. Kaye, a well-respected surgeon, will be happy to help.

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