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What to Know About the Causes of Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia affects an estimated 50 to 60 percent of American men throughout their lifetime, according to a JCEM study. Infants and pubescent boys of developmental age also experience transient gynecomastia. Outside of this window, male breast overgrowth causes incredible concern. Adult men aren’t often comfortable with their enlarged breasts. Called gynecomastia, here are some things to know about this condition and its treatment options.

What causes gynecomastia?

First, it’s imperative to establish the underlying causes to treat gynecomastia effectively. The receptors that regulate sex hormones in men, estrogen, prolactin, androgen, and progesterone, reside in breast tissue. Androgens act as an inhibitor to balance estrogen levels, which promote breast tissue development. Researchers conclude that an estrogen-androgen (testosterone) imbalance in men is responsible for the growth of breast tissue. It has two primary influences: estrogen dominance, low androgenic activity, or a combination of both.

Hormonal imbalance remains a primary cause of male breast overdevelopment, although numerous studies found various aberrations actively responsible. Besides irregular hormonal activities, genetic anomalies, marijuana abuse, and steroid misuse can stimulate breast tissue overgrowth in men.

Predisposed “man boobs”? A reason to discuss medical history

Some health conditions increase a man’s chance of developing gynecomastia. Numerous experimental studies found that a nutritional deficiency in men, encouraged by malnutrition or poor nutrient absorption, inhibits healthy testosterone production. With an offset of testosterone, there’s not enough androgens to counteract the estrogen action, which remains consistent.

Similarly, renal failure, liver diseases, cirrhosis in particular, and related organ malfunctions stimulate hormonal fluctuations that cause breast tissue overgrowth. Testicular tumors and certain conditions involving the adrenal or pituitary glands predispose males to gynecomastia. Well-documented clinical research links the effects of such disorders to variabilities in androgen-estrogen response.

Hyperthyroidism also creates favorable conditions for male breast overdevelopment. It involves an overproduction of thyroxine hormone, which offsets the estrogen-testosterone dynamic. Hypogonadism encourages hormonal imbalances, brought on by Klinefelter’s syndrome or pituitary insufficiency that impedes testosterone activity.

Schedule a Consultation

Although gynecomastia can be the butt of many jokes, it’s a condition to take seriously with the help of a medical provider. During a consultation at Mosa Surgery, we can discuss your treatment options to reduce male breasts and restore confidence. To get started, contact our office by calling or filling out our online form.


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