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Common Causes of Gynecomastia

Causes of Gynecomastia

If you're reading this, you already know how profoundly gynecomastia affects its sufferers. From feeling embarrassed in social and physical situations to wanting to withdraw and hide from the world; male breast enlargement is no laughing matter. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are five causes for gynecomastia. In this article, you’ll find out what those causes are, how our gynecomastia surgeons treat this condition, and what occurs during this breast surgery for men.

  1. Hormones

Many men don't realize that in addition to testosterone, they also have estrogen (the female sex hormone) in their own bodies. These hormones are responsible for controlling the development of male and female sex characteristics and the balance of each play an important role in muscle mass and hair growth in men. Estrogen is responsible for the development of female traits, including breast growth. When estrogen is out of balance in the male body, one of the side effects can be abnormal breast growth or gynecomastia. We see many Long Island and gynecomastia NYC patients in our offices that aren't aware that this is the cause of their condition. Common Causes of Gynecomastia - HormonesGynecomastia can occur at any stage of life. For more than half of all male infants (Mayo Clinic, 2011), male breast enlargement can occur due to too much of the mother's estrogen remaining in the infant's system. This is a temporary condition and usually remedies itself within a few weeks. Teens can experience gynecomastia at the onset of puberty or during their growth phase as teenagers. It is caused, once again, by the hormones related to the male traits developed during this critical stage of life. For pubescent boys, this condition is common and usually resolves itself within about 6 months to two years with no treatment needed. Adult onset gynecomastia usually develops between the ages of 50 and 80 and is hormone related. The Mayo Clinic also reports that as many as one in four men within this age range are affected. If you're one of the 25% of older men who are suffering from gynecomastia, we hope this article will help you to realize that you're not alone! Our gynecomastia specialists see patients every day with this condition and are experts at performing breast surgery for men.

  1. Medications that Can Cause Gynecomastia (Man Boobs)Medications that Can Cause Gynecomastia (Man Boobs)

The following medications have been shown to cause drug-induced or hormone-altering cases of gynecomastia in men at any age:

  • Drugs for the treatment of prostate enlargement, cancer and other medical conditions.
  • Anabolic steroids as well as androgens.
  • Some HIV/AIDS medications.
  • Diazepam for the treatment of anxiety.
  • Antidepressant therapy using tricyclic medications (ask your doctor about which drugs this includes).
  • Antibiotics.
  •  Some medications used to treat ulcers of the stomach.
  • Certain drugs used to treat heart conditions as well as calcium channel blockers.


  1. Illicit Drugs and Alcohol

  • Any beverage containing alcohol
  • Amphetamines (speed), heroin and marijuana
  • Methadone (generally used in the professional treatment of drug addiction)


  1. Diseases and Health Problems

  • Aging - As men age, hormones levels can change inside the body, especially for men who are overweight (BMI over 25) or considered obese (BMI over 30).
  • Hyperthyroidism - This condition occurs when excess thyroid hormone, thyroxine, is produced.
  • Hypogonadism - This condition includes any of the genetic conditions that can cause gynecomastia (such as Klinefelter syndrome) or pituitary gland under-production.
  • Common Causes of Gynecomastia - Diseases and Health Problems

    Kidney Disease/Kidney Failure - For patients on hemodialysis, the Mayo Clinic reports that about 50% of male patients experience gynecomastia due to changes in hormone levels.

  • Liver Disease/Failure and Cirrhosis - When the liver is under-functioning, the hormone levels in a man's body can become out of balance. Not only are liver disease and cirrhosis associated with gynecomastia, so are the drugs used to treat these conditions.
  • Malnutrition/Starvation - This can be observed in areas where poverty is rampant and can also be seen in males with anorexia nervosa. A return to healthy eating generally resolves the gynecomastia condition.
  • Benign or Cancerous Tumors - When tumors occur in the testes, pituitary gland or adrenal glands a hormone imbalance can occur which can cause male breast enlargement in our gynecomastia New York patients.


  1. Over the Counter Products Containing Certain Herbs

Over the Counter Products Containing Certain HerbsSome herbs can actually cause "estrogenic activity" (the over-production of female hormones in males), even when applied to the skin in a shampoo, lotion or soap product. Herbs such as lavender and tea tree oil have been associated with man boobs (Mayo Clinic, 2011). Though we don't see this very often in our offices, it can be a contributing factor in the development of enlarged male breasts and can lead to the eventual need for breast surgery in men with the condition.

Book a Free Consultation with Our Gynecomastia Surgeons Today!

Get rid of gynecomastia once and for all with a free consultation with one of our gynecomastia experts today! We see men with gynecomastia at both our Manhattan and Long Island offices. Call us today at 212-206-0023 or 631-499-1831 We perform breast surgery for men in our AAAHC accredited surgical facilities for top patient safety.