Gynecomastia: men's breast

Gynecomastia: men's breast

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Breast growth in boys

A particularly stressful situation can arise in boys and men if their breasts form due to an imbalance between the female sex hormone estrogen and the male testosterone. This imbalance is in most cases of a physiological nature and occurs increasingly in infants, during puberty or in advanced age. But there can also be pathological causes such as chronic diseases or tumors Gynecomastia condition.

Gynecomastia forms

Gynecomastia can occur on one side, but also on both sides as a family disposition and does not always regress completely. Sometimes the breast formation can be very large, like in a woman, but sometimes it is only partially recognizable. Gynecomastia is particularly common in obese boys between the ages of 13 and 14. Likewise, breast growth can occur in advanced age, as the body's percentage of adipose tissue increases and the production of testosterone decreases.

Gynecomastia symptoms and discomfort

Puberty gynecomastia can be very stressful for those affected, especially during puberty, when boys move away from their parents' house and seek the proximity and acceptance of their peers. On the one hand, it can of course lead to bullying and loss of respect in the circle of friends, and “being different” from peers is a difficult situation for many. This can lead to mental health problems, from self-isolation to depression or anxiety.

Physically, there may be tension in the chest area, chest pain and sometimes also secretion discharge from the chest. There may also be other signs of feminization (feminization) and weak puberty. Here, further medical examinations are carried out to rule out a so-called Klinefelter syndrome, a hypofunction of the gonads during puberty.

Gynecomastia causes

The following aspects can be responsible for the occurrence of gynecomastia:

  • Overweight: Obese men are increasingly prone to breast growth.
  • Hormone imbalance: Affected people either produce too little testosterone or too much estrogen.
  • Medication: Certain medicines such as antidepressants, spironolactone and ACE inhibitors can promote male breast growth.
  • Pre-existing illness: Some diseases such as chronic kidney or liver failure and breast cancer can be the cause of gynecomastia.
  • nutrition: Large amounts of meat and beer can also trigger male breasts due to the high estrogen content.
  • drug consumption: Prolonged use of drugs such as marijuana, heroin, methadone, amphetamines or doping agents such as anabolic steroids can lead to hormone disorders. Likewise, prolonged alcohol abuse.
  • Care products: Some cosmetics contain artificial female hormones that are absorbed through the skin. Vegetable oils (such as tea tree or lavender) are also associated with breast growth due to their weak estrogenic activity.

Pathological causes of gynecomastia

Here are the reasons why a pathological process is responsible for breast growth:

  • Hypogonadism: Disorders that interfere with normal testosterone production, such as Klinefelter syndrome or pituitary insufficiency (hypofunction of the pituitary gland).
  • cancer: Some tumors such as those on the testicles, adrenal glands or the pituitary gland (pituitary gland) can produce hormones that change the gender-specific hormone balance.
  • Hyperthyroidism: In overactive thyroid, the thyroid produces too much of the hormone thyroxine.
  • Kidney failure: Around every second affected person who is treated with hemodialysis (blood washing) experiences gynecomastia due to hormonal changes.
  • Liver failure and cirrhosis: Hormonal fluctuations in connection with liver problems and medication for cirrhosis can trigger gynecomastia.
  • Malnutrition: In the event of malnutrition, the testosterone level drops, but the estrogen level remains constant - a hormonal imbalance arises.

Puberty gynecomastia

Puberty can lead to an imbalance between female and male sex hormones. This so-called puberty gynecomastia is usually only temporary and regresses during puberty. Treatment is only required in extreme cases, for example when the affected person suffers from it mentally.

Gynecomastia treatment

The exact cause must first be determined. For this, doctors check blood, liver, kidney and hormone values. Computed tomography, ultrasound examinations and x-rays can provide further information. It is important to rule out serious reasons for breast formation. If there is no hormonal disorder, an attempt is usually made to switch off the triggers. This can be done, for example, through changes in diet, regular exercise, reducing excess weight, weaning from drugs or by switching to hormone-free care products. If this does not succeed, medication can also be used in the hormonal balance.

Gynecomastia surgery

Surgery is considered in particularly severe cases. Such an operation is usually carried out by a plastic surgeon. The breast is incised in the areola and glandular and fatty tissue are removed. In most cases, this stops breast growth and restores a male appearance to the breast. In some cases, however, the breast can grow again. Breast asymmetry and sensory disturbances can occur as complications of such an operation. There is also a risk of inflammation and severe scarring. For these reasons, gynecomastia surgery is rarely performed.

Gynecomastia - prevention

The first priority in prevention is the omission of potentially triggering or reinforcing factors such as alcohol, certain medications or drug use. In addition, overweight - even at a young age - should be avoided if possible or existing excess weight reduced in order to minimize the risk of gynecomastia. Herbal diets should be used more and meat consumption should be reduced. (tf, vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • German Dermatological Society (DDG): S1 guideline on gynecomastia in adulthood, as of March 2016, detailed view of guidelines
  • Heinz Bohmert, Christian J. Gabka, u.a .: Plastic and reconstructive breast surgery, Thieme, 2nd edition, 2006
  • Mayo Clinic: Enlarged breasts in men (gynecomastia) (access: 02.09.2019), mayoclinic.org
  • Merck & Co., Inc .: Gynecomastia (accessed: September 2, 2019), merckmanuals.com

ICD codes for this disease: N62ICD codes are internationally valid encodings for medical diagnoses. You can find yourself e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.

Video: GYNECOMASTIA SURGERY IN 4K Male breast reduction (September 2022).


  1. Mujora

    a No bad question

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