Gynecomastia is a common condition in men that causes enlargement of the breast tissue. It can be caused by hormonal imbalances, systemic disorders, various types of carcinomas, and numerous drugs. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments available for gynecomastia. Stamoxifen (Soltamox) and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) such as tamoxifen or raloxifene are often used to relieve pain and reduce breast size.
These medications have been reported to be effective in two out of three patients.4 Aromatase inhibitors, such as anastrozole (Arimidex) and letrozole (Femara), are also being considered as possible treatments for gynecomastia.4,20,21Aromatase inhibitors work by reducing the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen in the body. This can help to lower estrogen levels and reduce gynecomastia. Tamoxifen is another drug that can be used to combat breast enlargement and pain caused by treatment. However, it has not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), so its safety remains questionable.
Clomiphene is another SERM that is being investigated for the treatment of hypogonadism, which may induce gynecomastia.24 Cosmetic surgery is also an option for those who suffer from painful or severe gynecomastia. In the case of drug-induced gynecomastia, treatment consists of discontinuing the suspected drug. Drugs that have been found to have good or fair evidence of association with gynecomastia include spironolactone, cimetidine, ketoconazole, hGH, estrogens, hCG, antiandrogens, GnRH analogs and 5-α reductase inhibitors. It is important to note that idiopathic and “drug-induced” gynecomastia tend to be more commonly one-sided, while in those with a supposed hormonal etiology it is usually bilateral.
Gynecomastia can be a difficult condition to live with, but there are treatments available that can help reduce the symptoms and improve quality of life. It is important to speak with a doctor about the best treatment option for you.