Symptoms and Signs of Gynecomastia

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 2/9/2022

Doctor's Notes on Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is enlargement of mail breast tissue due to enlarged glandular tissue, not due to fat. Gynecomastia is a sign and symptom of a hormonal imbalance.

Although gynecomastia may be caused transiently in the normal development of boys, it usually resolves on its own. Other causes, such as medical conditions or medical treatments, may not resolve spontaneously. Causes associated with gynecomastia development include cirrhosis, malnutrition, chronic kidney failure, disorders of the male sex organs, aging, testicular cancer, hyperthyroidism, and anti-androgen medical treatments. Other associated causes are alcohol use and some drugs of abuse like heroin.

Medications associated with causing gynecomastia include spironolactone, ACE inhibitors, some antibiotics, anti-ulcer drugs, some anti-hypertensive drugs, and HAART (HIV treatment).

Male breast cancer usually causes gynecomastia only in one breast and may include a lump or feeling of hard tissue in the breast; other signs and symptoms may be breast skin changes, nipple discharge, and enlargement of underarm lymph nodes.

What Are the Treatments for Gynecomastia?

Usually, once the underlying problem is diagnosed (see above) and treated, the gynecomastia lessens and requires no additional treatments. However, a consultation with an endocrinologist may be recommended. Surgery is not recommended unless gynecomastia is causing severe pain, tenderness, and/or embarrassment. Counseling may be recommended with some boys and men coping with this problem.

Some doctors may suggest using raloxifene or tamoxifen as off-label medical treatments; again, consultation with an endocrinologist may be recommended before such use.

Low Testosterone (Low T) : Test Your IQ of Men's Conditions Quiz

Low Testosterone Quiz

Testosterone is a chemical found only in men.

See Answer

Must Read Articles:


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.