Types of Gynecomastia

Although male breast enlargement may look the same on the outside, there are any number of causes, conditions, and types of gynecomastia that require different treatment protocols to restore the look of a masculine chest.

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If you’re considering gynecomastia treatment because your symptoms aren’t going away on their own, it helps to be informed about what type you might have before having a consultation with a gynecomastia surgeon.

There are five main types of gynecomastia:

Gynecomastia in Teenagers and Boys

Gynecomastia symptoms in teenagers and boys are referred to as adolescent gynecomastia. This type of gynecomastia is normally due to a hormone imbalance caused that occurs naturally during puberty. The main symptoms are:

  • Tenderness or pain in the chest area
  • Nipple soreness or heightened nipple sensitivity
  • A small lump under the nipple
  • Puffy or shiny appearance to the nipple

Gynecomastia symptoms may occur on one side or both sides of the chest, and any increase in breast size may also be asymmetrical. Symptoms may begin as early as age 10, although gynecomastia symptoms commonly start around age 13 and 14. If gynecomastia symptoms do not resolve within two to three years then it is unlikely to resolve on its own and gynecomastia surgery can be considered.

Adult Gynecomastia

Adult gynecomastia is often referred to as man boobs and is categorized by excess glandular breast tissue and fatty tissue. Consequently, this results in a more feminized appearance of the male chest.

Gynecomastia symptoms in adults may result from adolescent symptoms that have persisted from puberty or can start later. A decrease in testosterone production may begin around age 50 — this is sometimes referred to as male menopause. One in four men will develop gynecomastia symptoms between age 50 and 80 due to this process.

Steroid Induced Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia symptoms in men can also be a result of steroid use. Anabolic steroids, which can induce gynecomastia symptoms, are most often used without prescription by bodybuilders or athletes. Although the goal is to increase performance, muscle growth, and muscle definition, a side effect known as aromatization can cause excess breast tissue to form instead.

Medication Induced Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia in both adolescents and adults may occur due to certain prescription medications. The most common medications associated with inducing gynecomastia symptoms include those for:

  • High blood pressure
  • Ulcers
  • Cancer of the prostate
  • HIV
  • Antidepressants

Other drugs that can cause gynecomastia symptoms include marijuana (cannabis) and heroin.


Pseudogynecomastia is a type of gynecomastia that is not the result of the growth of glandular tissue and is instead caused by excess adipose tissue accumulation in the chest area. This can result in similar gynecomastia symptoms to true gynecomastia and cause the appearance of male breasts or “man boobs.”

Both adults and adolescents can suffer from pseudogynecomastia, which can resolve on its own with weight loss in many cases. However, for people who are highly overweight or obese, excess skin may develop upon losing weight all over the body. Depending on the symptoms and desired body contour, this excess tissue can be removed during male breast reduction surgery and/or plastic surgery for the rest of the body.

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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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