What Causes Gynecomastia?

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Male breast enlargement, also known as gynecomastia or gyno, is primarily triggered by hormonal imbalances. More specifically, it is often associated with a decrease in testosterone or increase in estrogen. Contrary to popular belief, males of any age can experience gynecomastia, including infants, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. There are a number of things that can cause hormonal changes leading to gynecomastia. This includes various health conditions, medications, and drugs, but most often there is no specific cause that can be pinpointed this is called idiopathic gynecomastia.

Health Conditions

Many health conditions can inhibit the production of testosterone or increase estrogen. The main culprits are usually:

  • Aging
  • Tumors
  • Kidney Failure
  • Liver Failure or Cirrhosis
  • Malnutrition
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypogonadism
  • Obesity

It’s important to note that gynecomastia can sometimes have a more serious underlying cause. As a result, it is always best to get examined for the condition if you think you have it.


There are several medications linked to the onset of gynecomastia due to their ability to alter hormones. This includes:

  • Antibiotics
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Over-the-counter ulcer medications
  • AIDS medications
  • ADHD medications
  • Highly active antiretroviral therapy
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Prostate medications
  • Gastric emptying medications
  • Calcium blockers
  • Cancer treatment

At Main Line Plastic Surgery, Dr. Raymond Jean will go over your medications and medical treatments to help determine if your gynecomastia is caused by them.

Drugs and Alcohol

Street drugs, recreational drugs, and alcohol can play a major role in the development of gynecomastia. Much like prescription medications, they can alter the production and balance of your hormones. In addition, if you undergo treatment for gynecomastia, using recreational drugs can cause gynecomastia to reoccur.

Treatment of Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is treated by removing the excess breast tissue from the chest and when necessary removing loose skin. Most patients can be treated with a combination of liposuction and surgical excision of the gland tissue from beneath the nipple area through a small incision at the border of the nipple and chest skin. Some patients only need gland excision. Many patients can have their procedure done in the office under local anesthesia. For patients that have significant excess loose skin a skin excision may be necessary. Most patients can return to non strenuous activities the next day. Dr. Jean will discuss all of your options at your consultation.

Want Treatment for Your Gynecomastia? Call Main Line Plastic Surgery

If you have gynecomastia, stop feeling self-conscious, call Main Line Plastic Surgery today at 484-222-0010 to schedule a consultation to discuss your options. Dr. Jean will thoroughly examine your medical history and determine the best treatment plan for your goals. We proudly welcome patients living in Bryn Mawr, Villanova, and surrounding Pennsylvania communities.

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