8 Possible Causes of Gynecomastia

8 Possible Causes of Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is a condition that results in the swelling of male breast tissue, which usually remains flat against the chest muscles. Gynecomastia isn’t life threatening, but it can be embarrassing and often negatively impacts the self-confidence of those struggling with it.

At Brooks Plastic Surgery in Hollywood, Florida, Dr. Christopher Brooks understands the frustration gynecomastia brings and offers different treatments to help restore your physique. He also knows that if you’re suffering with excess breast tissue, you’re probably wondering what caused it.    

A decrease in the amount of testosterone compared to estrogen levels usually triggers gynecomastia. But several conditions or behaviors may cause this change by either stopping testosterone from taking effect, reducing testosterone levels, or increasing your estrogen levels.

Here’s a closer look at some of the most common causes of gynecomastia and the treatments available to help. 

1. Naturally occurring hormone imbalances

Estrogen and testosterone work together to control sex characteristics in both men and women. When testosterone levels are too low in men or if estrogen levels become too high, this can trigger gynecomastia. 

Naturally occurring hormone imbalances may be responsible for the development of male breast tissues, including: 

Although gynecomastia can be embarrassing, it’s quite common, affecting 50-65% of males across the globe.

2. Using certain medications

Certain medications can trigger the growth of breast tissue in men, usually because they change hormone levels, including: 

Ulcer medications and some medications used to empty your stomach, like metoclopramide, can also trigger gynecomastia. 

3. Drinking alcohol

Although having an occasional drink isn’t likely to cause your breast tissue to grow, heavy drinking can trigger gynecomastia. Researchers believe alcohol may induce gynecomastia in several ways: 

It’s important to have alcohol use under control before considering treatment for gynecomastia.

4. Using marijuana and other recreational drugs

Studies have linked several recreational drugs to male breast enlargement. These drugs include marijuana, heroin, methadone, and amphetamines. If you use these drugs and have gynecomastia, you aren’t typically a suitable candidate for treatment since their continued use prolongs your condition.

5. The presence of certain tumors and other conditions

Some tumors, like those associated with your testes, adrenal glands, or pituitary gland, can create hormones that negatively affect the delicate male-female hormone balance. As a result, you can develop gynecomastia. Hypogonadism and hyperthyroidism may also trigger the condition. 

6. Having liver problems

Liver diseases can cause imbalances in your estrogen-testosterone ratio. There are different ways liver diseases impact your hormones, including some of the most common:

Alcohol-related liver disease also elevates your risk of developing gynecomastia since the phytoestrogens and ethanol, which inhibits testosterone, disrupt your estrogen-testosterone balance. 

7. Dealing with kidney failure

Kidney failure can trigger hormonal dysfunction in men because of suppressed testosterone production and because uremia (increased levels of urea and other toxins in the blood) can trigger testicular damage. Together with the malnutrition kidney failure brings, these conditions may cause gynecomastia. 

8. Using certain herbal products

Some herbal products, like tea tree or lavender oils, may also cause gynecomastia. Researchers believe this may be caused by extensive, prolonged use of these products, which have very weak estrogen activity.  

Treating gynecomastia

The good news is Dr. Brooks and the team at Brooks Plastic Surgery can reduce unwanted breast tissue and give you back the masculine physique you want using different gynecomastia treatments based on your unique situation. 

Dr. Brooks may recommend liposuction, which uses suction to remove excess fat cells through a cannula (small tube) inserted into a small incision near the affected area. Another treatment is mastectomy, the surgical removal of breast tissue using one or more small, hidden incisions.  Most often, a combination of the approaches will offer the best results. Occasionally, in severe cases, Dr. Brooks may also remove excess skin before closing the incisions.  

Learn more about the causes of and treatments for gynecomastia by contacting Dr. Brooks at Brooks Plastic Surgery in Hollywood, Florida, and scheduling an appointment today.

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