The condition of enlarged breast tissues in males is known as Gynecomastia. The breast tissues including the glands as well as fat can increase in volume leading to this condition that men often find unsightly. One or both breasts can get affected, although it is mostly bilateral. 

Most of the time there is no medical cause for this condition but sometimes it can be caused by certain physiological or medical conditions, some medications. It can also happen when the estrogen levels in males are high or when the testosterone levels are low.  Small amounts of estrogen, the female hormones are normal in males just like small amounts if male hormone, testosterone, is normal in females. It is when there is excess of these hormones that one can get secondary sexual characteristics like gynecomastia in males and excess facial hair in females.

Physiological causes related to age and change in hormones

Gynecomastia can occur naturally in a male’s life at different stages of life.

  • After birth: some newborn boys have a high level of estrogen which they receive from their mothers from fetal circulation.  This usually goes away in two to three weeks.
  • During puberty: boys face enlarged breasts around the age of twelve to nineteen. This is their time of puberty which makes them go through many physical changes. The enlarged breasts get back to normal after the cycle of puberty.
  • Post youth: around the age of 50 years to 80 years men meet with breast enlargement. According to statistics, 1 out of 4 men in this age group suffers from gynecomastia.

Pathological causes of Gynecomastia 

There are many other conditions that may cause gynecomastia unrelated to the person’s age like:

  • Being overweight (obesity) can cause both increase in chest fat as well as glandular gynecomastia 
  • Tumors of the testicles or adrenal glands can also cause hormonal derangements leading to this condition.
  • Men Suffering from liver disease cannot have the female hormones metabolized in the liver, causing an excess of these in the blood leading to gynecomastia 
  • Having hypogonadism with decreased production of male hormones 
  • Kidney failure can also lead to derangement of hormones and enlarged breast tissues in males.
  • Drugs like marijuana can result in the condition. 
  • Androgenic or other steroids used for body building
  • Some medicines like those used for ulcer diseases can result in the condition. 
  • The most common cause, however is Idiopathic or unknown. 

What are the symptoms of gynecomastia?

  • The first symptom which is a small lump under the nippers which is often described as being mildly sore or tender to touch. If you feel a lump in this situation, you should have your doctor look at it to rule out any other more serious condition. 
  • The breast would look swollen and out of proportion. 


Gynecomastia can easily be diagnosed on physical examination. It is usually unnecessary to perform blood tests or x-rays for diagnosis. In the very rare situation where your doctor is suspicious of more serious pathology, he may do a needle aspiration cytology.

How long does gynecomastia last?

Gynecomastia may regress on its own but sometimes it continues to exist for a long time. It could also respond to medical treatments in the initial stages or become persistent. In the latter case, you may want to have surgical correction of the problem, which is for mostly aesthetic concerns.

Surgical Correction

Firstly, know about your problem and have a consultation with your doctor to discuss your concerns. Understand the possible risks and complications and what to expect during and after the surgery. The procedure is a daycare procedure done under local or general anesthesia . The incision and the scar, when done well, is virtually invisible. The entire chest can be contoured during the procedure at the same time. 

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Ajaya Kashyap is Triple American Board Certified, in Plastic Surgery, Surgery and Anti Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He has trained extensively in USA in UCLA (California), Guthrie Clinics, University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), UMASS (Massachusetts) and Lenox Hill hospital (New York) in Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery. He was the only Plastic Surgeon to feature in Sony TV's internationally telecast series on Extreme makeover "Naya Roop Nayi Zindagi".