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Causes of Gynecomastia (and How to Treat It)


Posted June 15, 2021 in Male Breast Reduction

Because breasts are so closely associated with femininity, many men find it embarrassing when they watch their own chests enlarge. This condition, known as gynecomastia, is usually the results of a hormone imbalance. Below, Sacramento plastic surgeon Scott Green shares some of the more frequent causes of gynecomastia:


While it may seem obvious that people who are obese will amass more fat around their chests, the situation is more nuanced than that. Being overweight also drives your body to produce more estrogen, a sex hormone that is responsible for causing breast tissue enlargement. For that reason, obese people who start to take off some weight may find that their gynecomastia remains even as fat disappears from other areas.


Most boys will see their hormone levels fluctuate significantly during puberty. Those teenagers who see their testosterone drop significantly are similarly susceptible to having estrogen take over and enlarge the chest. The good news is that the majority of boys affected by a hormone imbalance will see the problem clear up after hormone levels steady out.


Gynecomastia is also more likely affect older adults. In its later years, the male body naturally produces less testosterone. Without enough testosterone to counterbalance other hormones like estrogen, older men may see their breast tissue grow.

Drugs and Alcohol

Alas, it is not just an anti-drug scare tactic — taking certain recreational substances really can enlarge male breasts. Research has found that using marijuana, alcohol, methamphetamine, heroin and some amphetamines puts men at risk for gynecomastia.

While consumption of these substances will not cause gynecomastia in most men, those who are susceptible to its effects should be aware so they can make appropriate decisions like abstaining or at least moderating their consumption moving forward.

Prescription Medications

Prescription drugs can also mess with your hormone balance. For some men, gynecomastia is a side effect of taking drugs like:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Ulcer medication
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-anxiety medication
  • Certain cancer (particularly prostate) treatments
  • HIV medication
  • Heart medication

Of course, many of these drugs are critical to your health and cannot simply be discontinued to stop gynecomastia.

How to Treat Gynecomastia

There are multiple ways to treat gynecomastia, with the best option often being correlated to the specific cause of gynecomastia. For some patients, addressing the underlying cause may be sufficient to shrink the breast tissue naturally. However, for those men whose breasts remain enlarged, surgery is considered the most effective solution.

If you are looking to reclaim a more masculine-looking chest with male breast reduction, look no further than the highly skilled Dr. Green for superior results. Please call his office at your soonest convenience to book a consultation.