Gynecomastia is the development of abnormally large breasts in males.
Breast development in a male
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.
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:
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:
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.