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Gynecomastia
 
  


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Gynecomastia  

What is gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is the most common male breast disorder. It is not a tumor, but just an increase in the amount of a man's breast tissue. Usually, men have too little breast tissue to be felt or noticed. A man with gynecomastia has a buttonlike or disc-like growth under his nipple and areola, which can be felt and sometimes seen.

In teenage boys, gynecomastia is common and is due to changes in hormone balance during adolescence. Usually, gynecomystia in teenage boys is transient.

In older men, gynecomastia is not unusual. Gynecomastia in older men generally is due to changes in hormone balance.

Rarely, gynecomastia can occur because tumors or diseases of certain endocrine (hormone-producing) glands cause a man's body to produce more estrogen (the main female hormone). Although men's endocrine glands normally produce some estrogen, it is not enough to cause breast growth. Diseases of the liver, which is an important organ in male and female hormone metabolism, can change a man's hormone balance and lead to gynecomastia.

Many commonly prescribed medications sometimes can cause gynecomastia. These medicines include some drugs used to treat ulcers, heartburn, high blood pressure, and heart failure. Men with gynecomastia should ask their doctors whether any medications they are taking might be causing this condition.

Klinefelter's syndrome, a rare genetic condition, also can lead to gynecomastia.

For information on treatment of gynecomastia, see our Q&A called Treatment of Gynecomastia.


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