Medical Syndromes that May Cause Gynecomastia

NOTE: The following information is meant for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a tool to diagnosis or treat any medical condition.

Primary Hyperaldosteronism or Conn's Syndrome

A syndrome associated with increased secretion of the hormone aldosterone by the adrenal gland that is caused by an abnormality within the gland.

What is Hyperaldosteronism?

Hyperaldosteronism is a type of hormonal disorder that occurs when too much aldosterone is produced by the adrenal gland(s). The increased levels lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and low blood potassium levels.

Symptoms

The main signs of hyperaldosteronism are:

  • Moderate to severe high blood pressure
  • High blood pressure that takes several medications to control
  • High blood pressure along with a low potassium level

Causes

The two most common causes of hyperaldosteronism are:

  • A benign tumor in an adrenal gland, also known as Conn’s syndrome
  • Overactivity of both adrenal glands

Gynecomastia is not caused by hyperaldosteronism itself, but by one of the treatments for it: The androgen-blocking drug, Spironolactone.

Diagnosis

Several tests may be necessary to diagnosis hyperaldosteronism. A screening test to measure the levels of aldosterone and renin in your blood is typically the first step. Several blood, urine, and imaging tests may be administered to confirm the results of the screening test.

Treatment

Treatment for hyperaldosteronism depends on what is causing the overproduction of aldosterone. If it is due to a benign tumor, the tumor can be removed surgically and can be curative.

People with hyperplasia or increased growth and production of aldosterone in both adrenal glands are typically treated with the aldosterone-blocking drugs, spironolactone and eplerenone. Spironolactone, however also blocks androgen and progesterone receptors, and in some cases, may cause gynecomastia. Eplerenone, a newer, more expensive drug acts only on androgen receptors and will not cause gynecomastia.

Resources and Support

For more information about Conn’s Syndrome, visit:

www.columbiasurgery.org

www.emedicine.medscape.com

www.webmd.com