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Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia


Definition:

Gynecomastia is the development of abnormally large breasts in males.



Alternative Names:

Breast development in a male



Considerations:

The condition may occur in one or both breasts and begins as a small lump beneath the nipple, which may be tender. The breasts often enlarge unevenly. Gynecomastia during puberty is not uncommon and usually goes away over a period of months.

In newborns, breast development may be associated with milk flow (galactorrhea ). This condition usually lasts for a couple of weeks, but in rare cases may last until the child is 2 years old.



Common Causes:

The most common cause of gynecomastia is puberty.

Other causes include:

  • Chronic liver disease
  • Exposure to anabolic steroid hormones
  • Exposure to estrogen hormone
  • Genetic disorders
  • Kidney failure
  • Marijuana use
  • Side effects of some medications
  • Testosterone (male hormone) deficiency

Rare causes include:



Home Care:

Apply cold compresses and use analgesics as your health care provider recommends if swollen breasts are also tender.



Call your health care provider if:

Call your health care provider if the breasts have developed abnormally or if there is swelling or pain in one or both breasts.

Note: Gynecomastia in children who have not yet reached puberty should always be checked by a health care provider.



What to expect at your health care provider's office:

Your health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination .

Medical history questions may include:

  • Is one or both breasts involved?
  • What is the age and gender of the patient?
  • What medications is the person taking?
  • How long has gynecomastia been present?
  • Is the gynecomastia staying the same, getting better, or getting worse?
  • What other symptoms are present?

Testing may not be necessary, but the following tests may be done to rule out certain diseases:

Intervention:

If an underlying condition is found, it is treated. Gynecomastia during puberty usually goes away on its own; however, persistent, extreme, or uneven breast enlargement may be embarrassing for an adolescent boy. Breast reduction surgery may be recommended.

After seeing your health care provider:

If your health care provider made a diagnosis related to gynecomastia, you may want to note that diagnosis in your personal medical record.




Review Date: 12/6/2007
Reviewed By: Nancy J. Rennert, M.D., Chief of Endocrinology Diabetes, Norwalk Hospital, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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