An imbalance of the thyroid gland can affect the body’s ability to control its production of several hormones that affect weight, mood and sexual characteristics. Excessive thyroid activity can cause breast enlargement in males. Medications can correct the hormonal imbalances, but taking these drugs at incorrect dosages could either perpetuate this breast enlargement or even cause the conditions for it to develop.
The thyroid gland regulates such factors as weight, body temperature and metabolic rate. The Armour Thyroid website’s page on hypothyroidism describes that condition as causing depression, pain, impaired sex drive, weight gain and a constant feeling of coldness.
Weight Loss and Synthroid
Medications exist to correct thyroid hormone imbalances. Armour Thyroid, for instance, concentrates natural thyroid hormone taken from pigs into tablet form to boost thyroid levels in patients suffering from hypothyroid. For hyperthyroid problems, Endrocrineweb lists proplythiouracil and methimazole as two medications that reduce thyroid activity.
Thyroid or other hormone imbalances can cause gynecomastia, or male breast enlargement, according to an article by Dr. Edward M DeSimone II of Creighton University. In cases of hyperthyroidism, testosterone levels drop, disturbing the balance between testosterone and estrogen, a hormone related to female features such as breasts 1.
While studies do not show a direct correlation between gynecomastia and thyroid drugs, the Armour Thyroid website points out that an incorrect dosage of thyroid medication can either fail to address the thyroid problem or overcorrect for it, resulting in symptoms that imitate either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism 12. It follows, then, that a hyperthyroid state resulting from (or unresolved by) an incorrect dosage could lead to gynecomastia.
The Pituitary & Weight Loss
Removing the underlying cause of gynecomastia can cause the condition to reverse itself. In the case of an incorrect thyroid treatment, this reversal would involve adjusting the dosage level of the medication 3. Dr. DeSimone points out that if a medication is causing the condition, the pharmacist may need to find an alternative to that drug to address the illness it originally treated.
Dr. DeSimone states that in addition to thyroid trouble, gynecomastia may indicate other serious health conditions such as liver failure, kidney disease or a tumor. He adds, however, that it can also appear as a natural byproduct of the aging process, and that in one out of four cases gynecomastia has no clear cause at all.
Weight Loss and Synthroid
The Pituitary & Weight Loss
Foods to Avoid When Taking Thyroid Medication
What Does Low TSH Level Mean?
What Are Kelp Tablets Used for?
Drugs & Foods to Avoid for Hypothyroidism
What Does a High TSH Level Mean?
L-Carnitine & Hypothyroidism
Does Coffee or Caffeine Interfere With Thyroid Function?
L-Tyrosine for Fatigue
- Part 1: Introduction to hyperthyroidism
- Signs and Symptoms
- American Thyroid Association. General Information/Press Room.
- Pirahanchi Y, Jialal I. Physiology, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Updated April 25, 2019.
- AACC. Hashimoto Thyroiditis. Lab Tests Online. Updated October 18, 2019.
- DeGroot LJ. Graves’ Disease and the Manifestations of Thyrotoxicosis. [Updated 2015 Jul 11]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2015.
- Nguyen QT, Lee EJ, Huang MG, Park YI, Khullar A, Plodkowski RA. Diagnosis and treatment of patients with thyroid cancer. Am Health Drug Benefits. 2015;8(1):30-40.
- Bindra A, Braunstein GD. Thyroiditis. Am Fam Physician. 2006;73(10):1769-76.
- Medeiros-Neto G. Multinodular Goiter. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Updated September 26, 2016.
- The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid). Published August 2016.
- The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid). Published August 2016.
- Brent GA. Environmental exposures and autoimmune thyroid disease. Thyroid. 2010;20(7):755-61. doi:10.1089/thy.2010.1636
- Mcaninch EA, Bianco AC. The history and future of treatment of hypothyroidism. Ann Intern Med. 2016;164(1):50-6. doi:10.7326/M15-1799
- The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Grave’s Disease. Published September 2017.
- Stagnaro-Green, A., Abalovich, M, Alexander, E. et. al. Guidelines of the American thyroid association for the diagnosis and management of thyroid disease during pregnancy and postpartum. Thyroid. 2011(21)10. doi:10.1089/thy.2011.0087
- Liu G, Liang L, Bray GA, et al. Thyroid hormones and changes in body weight and metabolic parameters in response to weight loss diets: the POUNDS LOST trial. Int J Obes (Lond). 2017;41(6):878-886. doi:10.1038/ijo.2017.28
- Bahn R, Burch H, Cooper D, et al. Hyperthyroidism and other causes of thyrotoxicosis: Management guidelines of the American Thyroid Association and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Endocrine Practice. 2011;17(3). doi:10.1089/thy.2010.0417
- Braverman L, Cooper D. Werner & Ingbar's The Thyroid, 10th Edition. WLL/Wolters Kluwer; 2012.
- Garber J, Cobin R, Gharib H, et. al. Clinical practice guidelines for hypothyroidism in adults: Cosponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American Thyroid Association. Endocrine Practice. 2012;18(6). doi:10.1089/thy.2012.0205
- Haugen A, Alexander K., Bible K, et. al. 2015 American Thyroid Association Management guidelines for adult patients with thyroid nodules and differentiated thyroid cancer. Thyroid. 2016;26(1):1-133. doi:10.1089/thy.2015.0020
- Smallridge R, Ain K, Asa S, et. al. American Thyroid Association guidelines for management of patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer. Thyroid. 2012;22(11). doi:10.1089/thy.2012.0302
- Wells, S, Asa S, Dralle H, et. al. Revised American Thyroid Association guidelines for the management of medullary thyroid carcinoma. Thyroid. 2015;25(6). doi:10.1089/thy.2014.0335