September 21, 2021

Causes of Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia refers to the overgrowth of male breast tissue and may be caused by medications, obesity, or by hormonal imbalance. The primary symptom of the condition is enlargement of the breast tissue.  In some cases, the areola will enlarge, and the skin of the breast can sag.

Various factors can combine to cause gynecomastia, depending on a man’s age and physique. Dr. Steele can explain what triggers the condition and outline treatment options for a prospective patient.

How Gynecomastia Develops at Different Ages

Symptoms associated with gynecomastia can present themselves even at the youngest ages. For instance, some newborn males sometimes notice overdeveloped breasts because of exposure to estrogen in the uterus. These chest buds usually recede gradually within six months, but in some cases, they might persist throughout a man’s life.

Meanwhile, some preadolescent males experience gynecomastia during puberty due to hormonal imbalance. A man might notice breast buds that develop and remain visible for up to two years. However, swollen breast tissue associated with puberty usually recedes after 12 months when a young male’s hormones rebalance.

Many males also develop a swollen chest from drops in testosterone levels associated with old age. Furthermore, other health conditions like obesity, cirrhosis of the liver, lung cancer, an overactive thyroid, or estrogen producing tumors can cause a man’s breasts to overdevelop.

Dr. Steele understands how gynecomastia develops at different ages and can help a prospective male patient determine the cause of their symptoms.

What Else Might Cause Gynecomastic Breasts?

In more rare situations, other external factors could cause a man’s breasts to swell and overgrow. For example, drugs that treat conditions like high blood pressure and heart problems can affect hormone levels and cause a man’s chest to enlarge. Hormone therapies for conditions like pituitary, adrenal, or testicular cancer could also cause symptoms associated with gynecomastia. Excessive drug (primarily marijuana) and alcohol use could even make a man’s breasts grow abnormally. Anabolic steroids may also contribute to the development of gynecomastia.

Additionally, medicine that inhibits testosterone production, like treatment for prostate cancer, could cause a man’s chest to swell abnormally. Finally, certain over-the-counter medications like herbal supplements with phytoestrogens or lotions with lavender or tea tree oil are all known to cause a hormone imbalance that may result in gynecomastia.

If a male patient has questions about whether any of their health care products might increase the risk of developing symptoms associated with gynecomastia, they should meet with Dr. Steele to discuss their lifestyle.

Contact Dr. Steele to Learn More about the Causes of Gynecomastia

Many different factors could combine to cause overgrown or swollen male breasts, so anyone suffering from gynecomastia should reach out to our office to learn more about why they may be experiencing the condition.

Once you speak with Dr. Steele about your situation, you could pursue different methods of treatment. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you could switch to a different medication or schedule breast reduction surgery. Regardless, you can learn more about the causes of gynecomastia by calling our office today.