What Causes Gynecomastia During Puberty?

The teen years and puberty can be an awkward and confusing time as the body and facial hair begin to grow, hormone levels fluctuate, and more. However, one issue that some teen boys face is the development of excess breast tissue, also known as gynecomastia. This excess breast tissue growth can result in enlarged male breasts that look similar to female breasts (also called “man boobs”). Understandably, this condition can cause many teen boys to feel embarrassed and affect their overall self-esteem and confidence. Read on to learn more about teenage gynecomastia and how to treat it.

Fluctuating hormones during puberty are the main cause of breast enlargement in males. During this time, the hormones estrogen and testosterone are fluctuating to aid in development and growth. Typically, testosterone takes the lead during this time of male development. However, in some cases, there may be less testosterone in the body, which can lead to male breast growth in one or both breasts. In rare cases, gynecomastia in adolescent boys may also be caused by anabolic steroids, illegal drugs, and certain medical conditions or medications as well.

Does Weight Impact Gynecomastia?

While being overweight or obese can lead to the formation of increased body fat and fatty tissue in the chest, this is not the main cause of adolescent gynecomastia. Gynecomastia which is caused by weight gain is known as pseudo-gynecomastia, as true gynecomastia is caused by an excess of glandular tissue in the breasts. Teens with gynecomastia may also experience a small, rubbery lump under the nipple, breast buds, or tenderness around their nipple-areolar complex.

How is Gynecomastia Treated?

While some teenage boys may grow out of their teen gynecomastia naturally, others may notice that their male breasts are still with them into early adulthood. In these cases, gynecomastia surgery, also known as male breast reduction surgery, is the best option for permanent results. The main goal of this procedure is to treat breast enlargement by excising glandular tissue to create a flatter chest contour. In cases of severe gynecomastia or cases where the patient has more body fat, excess tissue, and skin may also need to be removed to create a masculine chest appearance. Overall, outcomes from this surgical treatment are positive and can make a lasting positive impact on the patient’s life.

How Can I Best Help My Teenage Boy?

If your son is living with gynecomastia, understand that his breast size has most likely caused him to feel self-conscious or even ashamed. It can be hard to watch your child go through this, and you may be wondering how to best help them. Overall, it is important that you take the time to listen to them and show them support while they are going through this tough time. If your teen is still experiencing breast swelling and enlarged breasts after a couple of years, it may be time to consider speaking with their healthcare provider regarding medical intervention in the form of gynecomastia surgery.

To diagnose gynecomastia, a physical examination will need to be performed. Blood tests may also be ordered since various factors may be at play, such as other medical conditions along with hormonal changes.

Contact Dr. Delgado Today

Overall, gynecomastia is a common condition that affects young men in their teen years due to hormonal changes. This condition can affect their self-image and take a toll on their everyday lives. If you are concerned regarding your son’s gynecomastia symptoms and are interested in learning more about gynecomastia treatment, please contact Dr. Delgado in San Francisco and Novato, CA today. As a board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Delgado specializes in gynecomastia surgery and has more than 30 years treating males of all ages. To take the first step, please contact Dr. Delgado today to schedule a consultation appointment today to discuss the best treatment option for your son.

Dr. Delgado Bio


Dr. Delgado, MD is a world-recognized plastic surgeon and specialist in the treatment of male breast enlargement, also called gynecomastia. He has developed new techniques and owns and operates gynecomastia.psstage.com, which has become the largest gynecomastia forum in the world. Dr. Delgado holds the two most coveted credentials; the certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgery.