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Gynecomastia Causes

Medical Author: Miguel Delgado, M.D.

Dr. Delgado is a highly skilled surgeon specializing in gynecomastia surgery. Dr. Delgado has committed a significant amount of his practice to the care and education of men and boys with gynecomastia. Dr. Delgado’s practice philosophy is to provide the highest quality of patient care to the people who seek out his professional services. Dr. Delgado and his staff are committed to understanding their patients concerns, educating them on their options, and executing the best surgical outcome for each patient. Dr. Delgado is the new owner of Gynecomastia.org since 2010. He has dedicated a significant part of his life and practice to improving the Gynecomastia.org community.


Gynecomastia is the enlargement of breast tissue resulting in feminized breasts on a man. This condition affects millions of men in the United States. Gynecomastia, or “man boobs”, is caused by a hormone imbalance. There are many medical conditions that interfere with normal testosterone production and as a result cause Gynecomastia. Gynecomastia not only can have physical affects on men but it can also affect them psychologically and socially.

Common Medical Causes

It is important to consult an experienced plastic surgeon before seeking treatment so that the cause of the patient’s Gynecomastia to be properly diagnosed. There are several causes of Gynecomastia, some of which are medical conditions that lead to breast tissue enlargement. In certain cases, the cause may be a medical condition that can be treated, though Gynecomastia treatment is also something patient should speak to their doctor about. Some of the more common medical causes of Gynecomastia are listed below:

  • Hypogonadism. This is a health condition in which the body does not produce an adequate amount of testosterone, the hormone responsible for male traits, such as body hair and muscle mass. Some men are born with hypogonadism, while others develop it later in life from infection or injury. Some types of male hypogonadism can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy.
  • Klinefelter syndrome. A genetic condition found in males who have XXY sex chromosomes, rather than the usual XY, this chromosome abnormality occurs in 1 in 500 male births. The characteristics of Klinefelter syndrome include small testes, low production of testosterone, and infertility. If you are looking for information and advice about this condition, the Klinefelter Support Forum is a good resource.
  • Pituitary Insufficiency. Hypopituitarism is a decrease in the secretion of one or more of the eight hormones that are produced by the pituitary gland. The signs and symptoms of Pituitary Insufficiency vary depending on which of the hormones are undersecreted. The resulting low production of testosterone can cause gynecomastia.
  • Pituitary tumors – Prolactin-producing tumors. The most common pituitary tumor is a prolactinoma. This tumor causes the overproduction of the hormone prolactin, a hormone that helps control sexual function. In men, prolactin-producing tumors may cause enlarged breasts (gynecomastia), erectile dysfunction or impotence, infertility, decrease in body hair, and low sex drive.
  • Other Tumors. Tumors of the testes or adrenal glands can produce hormones that alter the male-female hormone balance, resulting in male breast enlargement.
  • Hyperthyroidism. The over production of thyroxine in the thyroid gland can result in male breast enlargement or gynecomastia.
  • Kidney failure. Nearly half the patients being treated with ongoing hemodialysis experience gynecomastia due to hormonal changes.
  • Liver failure and cirrhosis. Liver disease and related medications taken for cirrhosis are associated with gynecomastia.
  • Malnutrition and starvation. Malnutrition causes testosterone levels to decrease; yet estrogen levels remain the same, resulting in a hormone imbalance and male breast development. Gynecomastia can occur even after an adequately nutritional diet is restarted.

Other conditions and Syndromes

Other conditions and Syndromes

It is imperative to consult with a highly trained physician so that the cause of your Gynecomastia can be established, especially if the cause is uncommon. It is imperative to consult with a highly trained physician so that the cause of your Gynecomastia can be established, especially if the cause is uncommon.


While it is important to consult with an expert surgeon regarding treatment possibilities for Gynecomastia, it is also important to determine the cause of the condition. In some cases, the Gynecomastia may be a symptom of another medical problem that must be treated as well. After diagnosing the cause of the breast tissue enlargement, a gynecomastia surgeon should be able to help you decide on the best treatment plan to help you achieve your goals. Generally, Gynecomastia is best treated with a male breast reduction surgery. In fact, male breast reduction surgery is the most common cosmetic surgery performed on men in the U.S.

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The content on Gynecomastia.org is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice. It does not replace the need to meet with a physician who will accurately diagnose your condition and suggest treatment options.

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