Men normally produce much more male hormones (androgens) than female hormones (estrogens). Gynecomastia is caused by an imbalance in the female and male hormones. The hormone imbalance can be caused by:
Presence of a condition or medication that decreases androgen or estrogen production
Symptoms of gynecomastia include:
Enlargement of the breasts with firm tissue, usually on both sides
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. You may need to be referred to a doctor who specializes in hormone disorders (an endocrinologist).
Your doctor will be especially interested in other symptoms you have had and your use of medications. He or she will focus on your weight, breast exam, testicular exam, and any other signs of a hormone problem.
Diagnostic tests may include:
Blood sample—to check the function of your liver, thyroid, and kidneys, as well as other hormone levels
—a test that uses sound waves to examine the breasts
—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the breasts
—If the diagnosis or cause remains unclear, a sample of breast tissue may be removed and sent to a pathology laboratory for evaluation.
Usually treatment for gynecomastia is not needed. However, it is important to find and treat the underlying cause of the gynecomastia. For example, if you are taking a medication that causes gynecomastia, your doctor will ask you to discontinue it or change to a different medication if possible. It is particularly important to exclude tumors as a cause of gynecomastia, and, if one is found to be present, to treat it.
If treatment of gynecomastia is needed, medications are sometimes used, though they can produce unwanted side effects. On rare occasions, surgery is used to remove breast tissue.
Prevention of gynecomastia requires avoiding known risk factors. Thus, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, avoiding steroids, and refraining from marijuana use will prevent gynecomastia from those sources.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a