What is the Most Common Cause of Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a common benign disorder of male breast tissue that affects 35% of men. Learn about its causes & treatments.

What is the Most Common Cause of Gynecomastia?

Being significantly overweight (obese) is a frequent cause of gynecomastia, as being overweight can raise estrogen levels, which can lead to the growth of breast tissue. If you're overweight, you're also more likely to have extra fat that can enlarge breast tissue.


is triggered by a decrease in the amount of the hormone testosterone compared to estrogen. This decrease may be due to conditions that block testosterone's effects, reduce testosterone levels, or increase the level of estrogen.

Gynecomastia is defined as the benign enlargement of glandular breast tissue in men. Physiological gynecomastia is common in newborns, adolescents, and older men. It is self-limiting, but can be treated to reduce emotional distress and physical discomfort. Non-physiological gynecomastia can be caused by chronic conditions (for example, discontinuation of medications that contribute to the disease and treatment of the underlying disease are the mainstays of treatment).

Medications such as estrogen receptor modulators and surgery play a role in treating gynecomastia in certain patients. Treatment should be done promptly and should be patient-led. The agents associated with gynecomastia are listed in Table 2, 7, 9 to 11.The most common contributors include antipsychotics, antiretrovirals and long-term prostate cancer therapies.Gynecomastia is the most common benign disorder of male breast tissue and affects 35% of men, being more prevalent between 50 and 69 years old. Gynecomastia is more common than bilateral gynecomastia, although one-sided symptoms may occur and are usually left-sided.

Gynecomastia is a common side effect of treatment with bicalutamide (Casodex) that may lead some men to stop treatment for prostate cancer. The causes of common gynecomastia remain uncertain, but are thought to result from an imbalance between the actions of estrogen, which stimulates breast tissue growth, and androgens, which inhibit breast tissue growth. Because androgen deprivation is one of the most commonly used treatments for advanced prostate cancer, its potential role in the development of gynecomastia is particularly concerning for physicians.After persistent pubertal gynecomastia, drug and substance use are the most common causes of non-physiological gynecomastia. Male breast cancer, although rare, has been linked to gynecomastia and needs to be included in the differential diagnosis.

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