Gynecomastia (Man Boobs) Causes

What Causes Gynecomastia?

No man wants them, but unfortunately millions are affected. Man boobs, or gynecomastia as it is known in the medical arena is a fairly common occurrence. The condition can affect one or both breasts. Some men even excrete milk which makes the condition even more distressing.

So what really causes gynecomastia and who are most at risk? The most common factors that lead to men having breasts can be broken down into a number of main categories. These are:

• Hormonal

Hormonal imbalance is a chief factor in the development of breasts in men. This can happen as a result of a tumor of the lungs and breasts. Tumors in some organs and tissue results in increased estrogen production which eventually leads to breast enlargement.

• Developmental

Some babies are born with or develop the condition shortly after birth or from breast milk during nursing. This is normally due to estrogen from their mothers while still in the womb. Many of these babies will also secrete milk; this milk is referred to as ‘witches milk’.

Breast enlargement in boys is especially common during puberty.

As men age they tend to produce less testosterone and more estrogen. This can cause breast tissue to increase. The fact that many men also put on weight as they get older also contributes to the problem.

• Congenital Disorders

There are a number of disorders that boys are born with that result in gynecomastia. Some such disorders are Klinefelter Syndrome, Vanishing Testis Syndrome and Kallman Syndrome. Even HIV and herpes zoster can lead to man boobs.

• Alcoholism and drugs

It has been found that alcoholism can result in men growing breasts. Some illegal drugs are also suspected to be causative agents in men developing breasts.

Although research does not support this claim, it is believed in some quarters that marijuana (ganja) can also cause this condition.

• Medication

Some sources state that the condition where men develop breasts can be caused by certain medications. Medication related gynecomastia is said to occur in about 15 percent of males who are no longer adolescents. Medication can either suppress the production of the male sex hormone testosterone or increase the female sex hormone, estrogen.

The chief culprits are finasteride, omeprazole and some medicines used to treat prostate cancer. Some antipsychotic and antidepressant medications can also have the effect of causing man boobs. Some antibiotics can also change the hormonal balance between estrogen and testosterone.

Luckily changing the medication can have a positive impact on efforts to reduce the size of the breasts.

Some other factors that can cause man boobs include:

• trauma to the chest and breast area
• mumps
• hyperthyroidism

In addition to all the possible causes of gynecomastia discussed above, there is a small amount of cases where there is no identifiable cause. In many of these cases the only solution is surgery.

Apart from xrays and ultrasounds, other tests are sometimes done to confirm what caused the condition. Knowing the cause can allow the ruling out of illnesses such as cancer. This will also enable doctors to determine which course of treatment is best.

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