Gynecomastia: Causes, Development and Treatment

Gynecomastia is a common condition that affects men of all ages but is most commonly seen during puberty or older adulthood. Learn about its causes & treatments.

Gynecomastia: Causes, Development and Treatment

Gynecomastia is a common condition that causes enlargement of male breast tissue. It can be seen in men of all ages, but it usually occurs during the newborn period, puberty, and older adulthood. Puberty gynecomastia that occurs during puberty usually resolves without treatment within six months to two years. The condition sometimes develops between the ages of 10 and 12 and most often occurs between the ages of 13 and 14. The condition persists beyond age 17 in up to 20 percent of people.

There are many causes of gynecomastia, most commonly an imbalance of the hormones testosterone and estrogen. In addition to tumors, other conditions have been associated with excessive aromatization of testosterone and other androgens into estrogens, resulting in gynecomastia. For example, a familial form of gynecomastia has been discovered, in which affected family members have increased extragonadal aromatase activity (3). New gain-of-function mutations in chromosome 15 have been reported to cause gynecomastia, possibly by forming cryptic promoters that lead to overexpression).

from aromatase (3). More recently, the aromatase cytochrome P45019 (CYP1) polymorphism has been found to be associated with gynecomastia (3) obesity is thought to cause excess estrogen by increasing aromatase activity in adipose tissue. That said, most obese men don't have high serum estrogen levels. Hyperthyroidism induces gynecomastia through several mechanisms, including increased aromatase activity (. During puberty, children's hormone levels vary.

If the testosterone level decreases, estrogen can cause breast tissue to grow. Many teens have some degree of breast enlargement. Gynecomastia during puberty usually goes away as children get older and their hormone levels stabilize. Many cases of gynecomastia are caused by hormonal imbalance. Unfortunately, steroid use can trigger hormonal imbalances and, subsequently, gynecomastia.

In the case of certain anabolic steroids, such as Anadrol and Dianabol, the drug is converted to estrogen within the body. This can cause excessive breast growth. In fact, androgen deficiency (hypogonadism) from any cause constitutes the majority of cases of gynecomastia. Similarly, there is an immunocytological presence of ER, PR and androgen (AR) receptors in male gynecomastia and breast cancer. In addition to increased estrogen production, decreased testosterone levels can cause an increase in the estrogen-to-androgen ratio, resulting in gynecomastia.

Sensitivity may be present in patients with gynecomastia for less than 6 months, but is rare in patients with breast cancer. Less common causes of gynecomastia include testicular tumors, liver failure (cirrhosis), hyperthyroidism, and chronic kidney failure. Another cause of gynecomastia due to excess estrogen includes the displacement of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) steroids. Male breast cancer, although rare, has been associated with gynecomastia and needs to be included in the differential diagnosis. Gynecomastia was presumably caused by an excess of circulating estrogens due to the conversion of androgens to estrogens by peripheral aromatase enzymes (4). Some have speculated that gynecomastia is the result of oestrogen overproduction, possibly secondary to increased extraglandular aromatisation of androstenedione, which may result in decreased liver clearance in cirrhotic patients.

Treatment Options for Gynecomastia

The condition usually gets better on its own without treatment.

This can take 6 months to 2 or 3 years. Supplements that increase protein, energy, or testosterone levels can help many people gain muscle mass without risking unwanted or harmful side effects, such as gynecomastia. Fortunately, there are effective treatments available to resolve gynecomastia for those who experience the condition after taking steroids. If you are interested in gynecomastia surgery and want to learn more, even if you are a candidate for surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. More studies must be done on this medication before recommendations can be made regarding its usefulness in the treatment of gynecomastia.

Up to 80% of patients receiving nonsteroidal antiandrogen therapy may develop gynecomastia, usually 6 to 9 months after hormone treatment.


Gynecomastia is a common condition that affects men of all ages but is most commonly seen during puberty or older adulthood. It is caused by an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen levels or due to certain medications or medical conditions such as liver failure or hyperthyroidism. Fortunately there are treatments available for those who experience this condition after taking steroids or due to other causes.

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