Signs and symptoms of gynecomastia include:
When to consult with the doctor
Gynecomastia is caused by a decrease in the amount of testosterone compared to the amount of estrogen. The cause of this decrease can be a condition that blocks or reduces the effects of testosterone or a condition that increases the level of estrogen. There are several factors that can alter the hormonal balance, including the following.
Testosterone and estrogen control the development and maintenance of sexual characteristics in both men and women. Testosterone controls male traits, such as muscle mass and body hair. Estrogen controls female traits, such as breast growth.
Most people think that estrogen is an exclusively female hormone, but men also produce it, although usually in small amounts. However, male estrogen levels that are too high or not in balance with testosterone levels produce gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia in infants. More than half of male infants are born with enlarged breasts due to the effects of the mother’s estrogen. Usually, the inflamed tissues of the breast disappear in two or three weeks after birth.
Gynecomastia during puberty. Gynecomastia caused by hormonal changes during puberty is relatively frequent. In most cases, the inflamed breast tissue disappears without treatment in six months or two years.
Gynecomastia in men. The prevalence of gynecomastia reappears between 50 and 69 years. It affects at least 1 in 4 men of that age group.
There are different medications that can cause gynecomastia. These include:
Substances that can cause gynecomastia include:
There are several conditions that can cause gynecomastia by affecting the normal balance of hormones. These include:
Vegetable oils, such as tea tree or lavender, which is used in shampoos, soaps or lotions, have been related to gynecomastia. This is probably due to its weak estrogenic activity.
Risk factors for gynecomastia include:
There are some factors you can control to reduce the risk of gynecomastia:
Do not use illegal drugs. Some examples include steroids and androgens, amphetamines, heroin and marijuana.
Avoid alcohol. Do not drink alcohol or, if you drink, do it in moderation.
Check the medications you take. If you take medications that can cause gynecomastia, ask the doctor if there are other options.