What are the Causes of Gynecomastia?

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2023-07-27 05:30 AM | By Tamira scientific Committee
What are the Causes of Gynecomastia?

When males develop large breasts like females, we call this medical condition “gynecomastia.” This condition can occur in any male, irrespective of age group (from newborns to teens to adults to elders). Lately, doctors and physicians in this sphere are calling it a growing concern on a global level. 

Understanding the Primary Causes

Before knowing what are the causes of gynecomastia, you must know what its types are. Doctors and scientists majorly divide it into three types, namely the physiologic, pathologic, and pseudo-type.  

(i) Causes of Physiologic Type

According to a research paper published in NCBI by Ronald S. Swerdloff et al., the physiologic type may occur in three different phases of a man’s life. 

  • The first phase: The newborn stage, wherein breasts enlarge due to increased progesterone levels by the mother.
  • The second phase: The puberty stage, in which boys exhibit undesired decreased androgen production.
    (as per the study, nearly 60% of boys experience this.)
  • The third phase: Men with increased total body fat and peripheral aromatase activity develop enlarged breasts.

(as per the study, 35–55% of older men experience this.)

(ii) Causes of Pathologic Type

When a man experiences an increased breast tissue ratio of estrogen-to-androgen, we call it pathologic. The causes of this condition include:

  • Increased estrogen production

In males, when their body secretes more estrogen than required, it suppresses  LH activity. And thereby directly stimulating the development of breasts similar to females. This causes increased production of the chest’s glandular tissues.

  • Decreased testosterone production

By birth or owing to conditions like hypogonadism or Klinefelter syndrome, a male’s serum may possess lower testosterone levels than the normal range. In that case, those males may develop breast tissues that cause gynecomastia. 

  • Diseases/ Tumor

In some diseases, like chronic kidney disease, the blood will show elevated gonadotropin levels. And in some tumors, like the Sertoli cell tumor, Leydig cell tumor, and Adrenal tumor, the blood will show increased estrogen and decreased testosterone levels. In this case, the particular male will develop large breasts.

  • Drugs/ Medications

Did you know? Prescribed or unprescribed drugs and harmful chemicals constitute around twenty percent of male breast cases across the globe. Regardless of type 1, 2, 3, or 4 drugs, specific chemical compounds in them influence serum estrogen or estrogen-precursor levels, which indirectly cause the development of male breasts. 
According to Standford Medicine, the use of steroids and antidepressant drugs may also result in male chest development. 

(iii) Causes of Pseudo-type

When a male demonstrates man boobs due to the accumulation of fat cells, this condition is called pseudo-gynecomastia. In this case, the male will not show increased glandular tissue in the chest region. Instead, they show saggy or fatty cells that distend their breasts. 

The causes of this condition are lifestyle changes, frequently modifying food habits, decreased physical fitness, and following an unhealthy diet every other day. In countries like the United States, where obesity is more common, at least half of the males will have developed breasts.  

Clinical Diagnosis is Important!

Irrespective of whether glandular or fat tissue is causing your breast development, we call the enlargement a sign of gynecomastia in males. So as soon as you feel it, experience breast tenderness, or see it jutting out against your clothes, please visit your nearest aesthetic healthcare center, get it consulted, and take steps for male chest reduction.   

Check the video showing the results of Gynecomastia surgery.

Tamira, led by Dr. Jayanthy Ravindran, is a leading aesthetic healthcare center in Chennai. The center has been catering to various aesthetic needs like hair transplantation, rhinoplasty, and Gynecomastia in Chennai


By now, you might have understood in detail what are the causes of gynecomastia, its biologics, and the next steps. Stay tuned for more insight!

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