What Could Cause Gynecomastia?

When there is an imbalance of hormones namely, estrogen and testosterone in a male’s body, it could result in swelling of breast tissues. This condition, in medical terms is referred to as, Gynecomastia. It could affect one or both the breasts. Change in the normal levels of hormone is the biggest culprit however; there are many other factors responsible also.

gynecomastiaAlthough it is not a serious problem, yet it could cause embarrassment to the man or boy.  In many cases, it goes on its own; however, some might even require undergoing medication or surgery.

Symptoms Of Gynecomastia

  • •  Swollen breast glandular tissue
  • •  Tenderness in breast

If there is swelling or pain in the breast, or if you notice nipple discharge in one or both breasts, one should see a doctor immediately.

Causes Of Gynecomastia

The main reason is the difference in the levels of hormones, estrogen and testosterone. When the amount of testosterone is less as compared to estrogen, this condition could arise.  Several things could be behind such a difference, including the following:

Changes In Normal Hormone Levels

Testosterone and estrogen, both the hormones have different roles to play, but there should be a balance between the two. Both are responsible for the development and maintenance of sexual characteristics in both men and women. Testosterone is responsible for managing male traits like facial and body hair and muscle mass. Estrogen controls growth of breasts.

One thing is clear that both estrogen and testosterone are produced in the male and female body. However, when male estrogen levels outgrow testosterone levels, it can cause gynecomastia.

Gynecomastia In Infants: around fifty-percent of infants will be born with enlarged breast. This is due to their mother’s estrogen. However, the breasts come back to their original shape after a week or two.

During Puberty: changes during puberty could cause gynecomastia. This condition is treatable and the enlarged tissue would go within six months of starting the treatment.

In Aged Men: the incidence is higher in men aged 50 and 80. A change in hormonal level is once again the main reason. 25 percent of men suffer from it.


Some medications could lead to gynecomastia. These include:

  •     Anti-androgens
  • •    Anabolic steroids
  • •    Ulcer medications
  •     Antidepressants
  •     AIDS medications
  •     Heart medications
  •     Antibiotics

Drug And Alcohol Abuse

  •    Marijuana
  • •   Heroin
  •    Alcohol
  •    Amphetamines

Health Conditions

  •    Hypogonadism: This health condition adversely affects testosterone production, thus increasing the estrogen levels in the body eventually increasing the risk for gynecomastia.
  • •    Hyperthyroidism: again, with excessive production of thyroxin hormone, there is a hormonal imbalance. The thyroid gland in this condition becomes hyperactive.
  •    Aging: As we discussed earlier, with age there is a change in the hormonal levels of the body. This could increase the risk for this condition.
  •   Kidney Failure: with age, around fifty percent of men undergo treatment for various kidney disorders. Men who undergo hemodialysis usually experience gynecomastia.
  • •   Tumors: tumors of the testes, pituitary gland can alter hormone levels again increasing risk for gynecomastia.
  • •  Malnutrition: when you do not take proper diet that is rich in essential nutrients and vitamins, testosterone levels might drop, but the level of estrogen in the body remains constant. This imbalance can trigger gynecomastia.

Herbal Products

Certain plant oils like lavender, tea tree used in shampoos, soaps, conditioners, lotions could be a possible reason for gynecomastia.

These many things could put you at risk for gynecomastia. Do not put the guns down yet. There is a way to it. Talk to your doctor and get rid of it today!