Gynecomastia: causes and solutions
Fortunately, in many cases gynecomastia goes away on its own, without the need for a specific treatment. Medical and surgical treatments can be effective for persistent gynecomastia. Generally, gynecomastia is not associated with long-term problems, but testing should be done to reduce the risk of male breast cancer. Therefore, the causes of gynecomastia can be of various kinds.
What are the causes of gynecomastia?
In newborns, the causes leading to gynecomastia depend on the oestrogen received from the mother. Enlarged breasts are common in many newborns, however they tend to go away gradually from 6 months of age but may last longer in some babies.
In boys prior to puberty, the causes of gynecomastia may be a tumour due to the production of oestrogen. Breast "buttons" are common during puberty, they can last up to 2 years, but tend to go away within the first year.
In teenage boys, the causes for gynecomastia are hormonal changes due to puberty. Gynecomastia occurs in many boys in cases of precocious puberty.
In adult males, the most common causes of gynecomastia are diseases, such as liver or lung cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, overactive thyroid, or hormonal problems, such as cancer of the pituitary gland, adrenal glands, or testicles. Alcohol, cannabis, methamphetamines, and heroin can also cause gynecomastia.
The use of certain drugs may cause problems and induce gynecomastia, among them:
- Steroids, such as prednisone or dexamethasone
- Medicines used to treat ulcers
- Medicines used to treat epilepsy
- Digoxin and other heart medications
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Anti-androgen drugs, spironolactone diuretic type
- Anxiolytics and antidepressants
Gynecomastia causes: what are the symptoms of gynecomastia?
The classic symptoms are breast enlargement with rubbery-like tissue, these symptoms are similar in all causes. Gynecomastia can occur symmetrically or asymmetrically.
How is gynecomastia diagnosed?
Gynecomastia can be diagnosed, for all causes, through a physical examination based on the patient's medical history. In-depth examinations are required to rule out serious pathologies.
How is gynecomastia and its causes treated?
Gynecomastia in children and adolescents usually does not require treatment and disappears naturally.
If gynecomastia is dependent on the use of drugs, diseases or other substances, by discontinuing medication or treating the disease, gynecomastia regresses.
If gynecomastia is caused by a lack of testosterone and increased oestrogen, hormonal treatment can be prescribed.
The ideal treatment, including surgery, should never neglect the causes of gynecomastia, as eliminating the cause sometimes leads to the remission of the "gynecomastia" symptoms.