What Are The Causes Of Gynecomastia?

man-black-shirt-Small-(1)It is estimated that up to 60% of men suffer from gynecomastia or “man boobs.” Sometimes gynecomastia causes a tiny lump under one or both nipples; sometimes it results in large, pendulous breasts. Regardless, the condition can be embarrassing and inhibiting. Weight loss may help, but cosmetic surgery, or reduction mammoplasty – may be the best solution.

Most cases of gynecomastia are “idiopathic,” meaning there is no obvious cause. But they can also arise from a variety of factors:

  • Obesity. Being overweight is a problem for guys concerned with the size of their breasts. When extra fat gets deposited on the chest, as it often does, the breasts become larger. Excessive fat also stimulates the body’s production of estrogen, spurring the growth of breast tissue.
  • Men often develop man boobs as they age. This is typically the result of hormone imbalances.
  • Hormone levels surge at puberty, causing breast tissue to swell in boys as well as in girls. Doctors often recommend “watchful waiting” for gynecomastia that arises during puberty, because many cases go away on their own. But if the condition persists for more that a couple of years, it’s unlikely to go away without treatment.
  • Bodybuilders who abuse anabolic steroids sometimes develop breast enlargement. Steroids can be chemically changed into estrogen inside the body, resulting in the growth of breast as well as muscle tissue.
  • Alcohol abuse. Drinking which is severe enough to cause liver disease can alter the way the body metabolizes hormones, resulting in breast enlargement.
  • Drug side effects. Some prescription medications can cause man boobs, including amphetamines, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, antibiotics, and ulcer medications.
  • Hereditary. Some cases of gynecomastia are inherited. One disorder that can cause man boobs is Klinefelter’s Syndrome, in which there is an additional X chromosome in addition to the usual X and Y chromosomes.

If you have concerns or questions about gynecomastia, call to schedule a consultation appointment, today: (508) 334-5990.

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