This is a common condition where there is breast enlargement in males. Some say as many as one in three men will develop it at some stage in their lives and it can cause distress, anxiety and lack of confidence. Some people just develop it for no good reason, where for others there will be a cause. Common causes include:
Increase in breast fat
- This is actually medically known as ‘pseudogynaecomastia’ as it is not true breast tissue, it is just increased fat – usually from weight gain.
- Medication – many drugs can cause breast growth
- Liver disease
- Overactive thyroid
- Kidney failure
- Bodybuilders using anabolic steroids
- Rare tumours
If the breast growth is caused by hormonal imbalance, the female hormone oestrogen is more dominant than the male hormone,testosterone, causing the unwanted breast growth.
- How long has it been there?
- Is it painful or tender to touch?
- Have you lost or gained weight recently?
- Is it both sides or just one side?
- Is there any change in the nipple, or any discharge from the nipple?
- Have the testicles changed in size?
- What about libido and erections?
- Are there any other symptoms or signs?
- What medication is being taken?
- Any steroid use?
Tests to be done:
- Liver, kidney, thyroid
- Testosterone and oestrogen
- Some cases will just get better naturally where some will need treatment to make it go away.
- If it has been there for more than a year then it is unlikely to resolve on its own.
- Anything causing it should be resolved (medication, thyroid trouble etc).
- Treatment is best early as if it lasts for more than a year it is harder to resolve.
- Testosterone replacement therapy
- Anti-oestrogens (Tamoxifen, Letrozole, Clomid)
- Surgery – should be considered as a last resort, but some people feel the benefits outweigh the risks.
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