Enlarged breasts in men (gynecomastia) – Causes, risk, and treatment

Gynecomastia, pronounced as guy-nuh-koh-MAS-tee-uh, is swelling of the breast tissue in boys or men.

It is caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone in the body system.

Gynecomastia can unevenly affect one or both breasts sometimes, and newborns or boys going through puberty and older men may develop gynecomastia as a result of normal changes in hormone levels.

Men and boys with gynecomastia sometimes have pain in their breasts and may bring about the feeling of embarrassment.

It is important that gynecomastia is distinguished from pseudogynecomastia or lipomastia. The latter refers to the presence of fat deposits in the breast area of obese men, while true gynecomastia results from growth of the glandular, or breast tissue, which is present in very small amounts in men.

The medical community considers gynecomastia as not harmful to the body and gynecomastia generally does not pose an immediate health risk since most cases of gynecomastia diagnosed in men does not happen as a result of any serious underlying medical condition.

However, a very small percentage of instances of gynecomastia is caused by other underlying conditions such as a tumor.

Causes of Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia can be caused due to a number of reasons but the main culprit is usually an excess presence of estrogen hormones in men.

All males do have some amount of estrogen naturally present in their body but when estrogen becomes dominant, men develop feminine features like breast enlargement, as in the case of men with gynecomastia.

There are other causes as well and they are wide and varied, thus gynecomastia can also result as a side effect of numerous medications and abuse of drugs.

Such drugs include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Corticosteroids and anabolic steroids
  • Herbal drugs like dong Quai, tea tree oil, and lavender
  • Anti-anxiety medication
  • Opioids (narcotic drugs)
  • Estrogen (including those in soy products)
  • Heartburn drugs

The problem also can sometimes be associated with certain medical conditions and treatments, for example:

  • Obesity
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Low testosterone levels

Risk factors include:

  • Aging: aging may promote decreases in testosterone production that can cause the problem.
  • Taking certain medications may increase the risk of developing gynecomastia.

Diagnosis of Gynecomastia

The diagnosis of gynecomastia can be done by your doctor. However, it is best left to a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of this kind of medical condition.

There are also advanced diagnostic tests that can be employed if gynecomastia cannot be confirmed by physical examination alone. Like scanning.

Gynecomastia Treatment Options

Once you have made a proper diagnosis of this medical condition, then you should look at all available options to get rid of it, having effectiveness, affordability, and convenience as the main factors to look at when selecting a treatment option.

  • Gynecomastia Shirts: Gynecomastia shirts are the cheapest treatment option available. Their affordability and convenience are their advantages. However, they are only a temporary option, since once you take them off, the effect is gone. You are also limited to activities like swimming with your shirt on. This treatment is recommended if you are looking for a quick fix.
  • Gynecomastia Pills: There are a number of orally administered products for gynecomastia, and the unique strength of these pills is that they do not require surgery or cuts or staying at the hospital, and they only cost a fraction of surgery.
  • Gynecomastia Surgery: Gynecomastia surgery is an expensive option to get rid of breast enlargement. It is the most personalized and direct treatment option to get rid of gynecomastia, since the gynecomastia surgeon will get rid of unwanted breast tissue and will even shape your chest in the best way possible.
  • Post Cycle Therapy: Post Cycle Therapy involves SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator), AI (Aromatise Inhibitor) and a Testosterone Booster (T-Booster), and is a process used by steroid users to prevent and reverse gynecomastia. 


Low Testosterone and gynecomastia are common conditions among men, especially as they advance in age.

Many treatment options are available, and discussing treatment options with your doctor can help you take charge of your health and body.

Unlike some conditions that have no real treatment options, gynecomastia can often be treated, and your quality of life can improve. 

Naturally addressing gynecomastia comes down to controlling or limiting the intake of estrogen rich foods and increasing food items that contain testosterone or promotes testosterone production. 

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