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Back to Endocrinology Symptoms


Gynecomastia is the development of abnormal breast tissue on men, small or large, and normally on both sides. The term comes from the Greek gyne meaning "woman" and mastos meaning "breast." The condition is common in adolescent boys, though in 90% of such cases the symptoms disappear in a matter of months to a few years at most; it may also occur in males of advancing years. It is generally a result of an imbalance in hormones, though there are many different possible root causes. Gynecomastia is not simply a buildup of adipose tissue but includes the development of glandular tissue as well. It may take a softer form or include a form of lump-like gland, which should not be confused for cancer.


Among the various potential causes of gynecomastia are

  • Puberty

  • Steroid abuse

  • Obesity

  • Tumors

  • Chronic liver disease

  • Side effects of various medications including those with hormonal effects

  • Castration

  • Aging

  • Genetic disorders such as Klinefelter Syndrome and Gilbert's Syndrome.

Gynecomastia is not physically harmful, though it can occasionally indicate more dangerous underlying conditions. Its chief destructive effects lie more subtly in social and psychological results, including depression, withdrawal, peer ridicule, and complicated or obstructed relationships.

Weight loss may benefit an obesity-related form known as pseudogynecomastia, and endocrinological attention may help during the first 2-3 years. After that window, however, the breast tissue tends to remain, leaving surgery (through either liposuction techniques, glandular excision, or both) the only known physical remedy, ideally by an experienced plastic surgeon.

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