Gynecomastia is described as an abnormal amount of breast tissue growth in males. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, "As many as 65% of 14-year-old boys have gynecomastia." Gynecomastia can develop in boys and men at any age. It usually develops during the onset of puberty and disappears without treatment, after 2 to 3 years. Some illnesses and medications can cause gynecomastia to develop. Treatment involves finding the underlying cause of the breast tissue growth and treating that underlying cause. Surgical removal of excess breast tissue is considered when an underlying cause cannot be identified.
Visit your doctor for an examination. Your doctor will take a medical history, evaluate your symptoms and possibly order medical tests to determine what is causing the gynecomastia. Puberty is often a causative factor for gynecomastia. When puberty is the cause, the breasts usually decrease in size within 3 years, without any treatment. Other cases of gynecomastia can be caused by genetic disorders, liver failure, kidney failure, hormone imbalances and tumors. When the underlying illness is treated, gynecomastia disappears.
Discuss any medications that you are taking with your doctor, since some medications can cause gynecomastia. Some of the medications that can cause breast growth in men include AIDS medications, anti-anxiety medications, antibiotics, chemotherapy and antidepressants. If the gynecomastia is caused by prescription medications, your doctor will discuss the option of changing your medications or discontinuing your medications. Excess breast growth disappears once the responsible medication is discontinued.
Inform your doctor if you use alcohol or illicit drugs. Frequent alcohol use, marijuana and steroids can cause gynecomastia.
Consider undergoing surgery to remove the excess breast tissue. Surgery is usually recommended when the patient is extremely bothered by the appearance of his breasts or when the gynecomastia does not disappear on its own within 3 years.
Gynecomastia can develop in one or both breasts.
See a doctor if you experience symptoms of breast pain or nipple discharge.