What Causes an Overgrowth of the Breast Tissue is Men?

What are the options to get rid of the excess tissue?

Doctor Answers 17

Causes of Gynecomastia

The causes of gynecomastia are several from hormone imbalance to certain drugs to puberty. Of course, excess weight gain can cause the breast to enlarge with everything else. But the most common cause by far is excess estrogen. Men have excess testosterone during puberty, a common time for gynecomastia to occur, and this is because testosterone is aromatized into estrogen, and this causes gynecomastia in some people. If the estrogen is high enough, most men will develop breast enlargement.

Body builders who are on anabolic steroids often get gynecomastia because of the conversion of the excess testosterone into estrogen. Now most have learned to take Arimidex or a similar medication, which is a medication that prevents the formation of estrogen from testosterone.

Lab tests shuld be ordered by yhour physician to determine the total and free testosterone, DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and estrogen. This will indicate hormone levels that are valuable in determining the cause.

The options or reduce the breast tissue is surgery. This usually requires an incision at the lower border of the areolar where there is a color change. Scars can be inconspicuous. Unfortunately, too often too much tissue is removed leaving a depression where the excess tissue was removed. The procedure requires some liposuction in some individuals to feather the edges of the tissue removed. Gynecomastia surgery can be done with either local anesthesia in some people or general anesthesia.

Gynecomastia is very embarrassing for some men and the surgery is quite appreciated.

E. Ronald Finger, MD. FACS

Savannah, GA  Plastic Surgeon

About Gynecomastia and the Treatment Options

According to official statistics, 36% of adult young men and 57% of older #adult men in the United States have this medical condition in one of the four grades.
About 200,000 to 3 million cases of #gynecomastia are being reported every single year. So if you have #breast #enlargement and you feel you're an exception, please understand that 1 in 3 young adult #men and 1 in 2 older adult men are just like you and have breast enlargement. Several common factors can cause gynecomastia including excessive levels of #estrogen, natural #hormone changes, use of recreational drugs or alcohol, medications and their associated side effects, and, various health conditions. Also, there are different types of #gynecomastia.There are three types of surgical #treatment #options available that treat gynecomastia. Your board-certified plastic surgeon will recommend the type best suited for you. The most important decision to be made before performing any surgical procedure is determining whether you are an ideal #candidate.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Causes of Gynecomastia

Thank you for your question. Gynecomastia affects an estimated 40 to 60 percent of the male population. It may affect only one breast or both. Certain drugs such as anabolic steroids, alcohol, marijuana, as well as medications containing estrogen may cause enlarged male breasts. Certain medical conditions including cancer and impaired liver function may also be a contributing factor. It is widely accepted that a large percentage of cases derive from unknown sources.

Men of any age who are healthy and emotionally stable are considered good candidates for male breast reduction surgery. The best candidates are those who have firm, elastic skin that will reshape to the body’s new contours. In some instances, surgery may be discouraged for overweight men who have not tried an exercise and diet regimen prior to surgery. Best of luck!

Dhaval M. Patel 
Double board certified
Plastic surgeon
Hoffman Estates

Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Removing extra breast tissue in men

You should look into male breast reduction or gynecomastia. Far more important than the technique is the skill and experience of your plastic surgeon. Choose your surgeon rather than the technique and let them explain why one technique may be better than another.
See the below link on some suggestions on finding the most qualified Plastic Surgeon for a Male Breast Reduction. 

Causes of Gynecomastia


Thanks for the post. There are many causes of gynecomastia. Certain medications, supplements, endocrine conditions, genetic predilection, are among some of the causes that I screen for during the consultation. There are some men who develop during puberty when there is hormonal imbalance, or during middle age, when there is a decrease in testosterone. I recommend that you be evaluated by a plastic surgeon experienced in gynecomastia surgery. Based on the physical examination the best surgical procedure can then be recommended.


Dr. Dadvand

Babak Dadvand, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Breast tissue growth causes

Excess tissue can be caused by several things, such as genetics, some medications, some health issues, weight gain and hormonal imbalances. It's best to pinpoint the cause of the excess growth first before considering a treatment. 

What Causes an Overgrowth of the Breast Tissue is Men?

Most gynecomastia occur as a result of hormonal changes during puberty and can be temporary.  When it persists and is not desired, surgical intervention is the most effective treatment.  Other less common causes of gynecomastia may include liver disease, testicular tumors, certain medications, marijuana use, anabolic steroid use. 

John T. Nguyen, MD, FACS, FICS
Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

John Nguyen, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 71 reviews

What causes gynecomastia

Some enlargement of male breast tissue commonly occurs during puberty, and the incidence of noticeable, transient, pubertal breast enlargement has been reported to be as high as 60%. For most males this hormone-related breast enlargement is temporary, but for some individuals the breast tissue proliferation will persist and even increase in size.

For the majority of men with gynecomastia, no clear causative factor can be identified. It is thought that some cases of gynecomastia may relate to an imbalance between circulating levels of estrogens, which stimulate breast tissue development, and androgens including testosterone which counteract estrogen effects. Because gynecomastia may rarely be associated with endocrine (hormone) disorders, testicular tumors, and the use of some medications/drugs, it is important that you discuss the condition with your primary care physician prior to surgical treatment.

Testosterone deficiency (TD) is actually quite common, and it is now well understood that testosterone levels tend to decrease significantly in most men at or around the age of 50 (sometimes called 'andropause' or 'male menopause'). I have had a number of patients begin testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), under the direction of their primary care physician, either prior to or following their consultation appointment for gynecomastia surgery. While TRT can improve energy level, mood and libido in patients with TD, it unfortunately does not appear to reverse or improve gynecomastia in most cases.

Male breast enlargement can occur as a result of significant weight gain, in the absence of actual breast tissue excess. This is sometimes referred to as "pseudogynecomastia", which implies that the breast has enlarged because of the accumulation of fatty tissue only. While it is true that male breast enlargement in some cases is primarily due to excess body mass / obesity, in many cases patients who appear to have "pseudogynecomastia" turn out to have a significant amount of fibrous breast tissue as well. This is not that surprising, given the fact that it has been shown that the condition of being overweight can upset the balance of estrogens and androgens in favor of estrogens (sometimes called a "pro-estrogenic state"), which is a set-up for the development of true gynecomastia.

Male breast enlargement associated with excess body mass / obesity may improve with weight loss. In many men, however, the feminized appearance of the breast will persist, due to underlying true gynecomastia, incomplete regression of breast area fat, persistent skin excess after weight loss, or some combination of the three.

Increasingly patients are being seen for gynecomastia that develops after using 'prohormone' and/or anabolic steroid supplements as part of a bodybuilding regimen or to improve athletic performance. While the goal is to increase muscle mass, strength and performance, some of these agents and supplements can be converted by the body into estrogen-like compounds. Additionally, supplemental androgens may suppress the normal production of natural androgens by the testes. These factors can tip the balance of androgens and estrogens in favor of the estrogens, which then stimulates the development of breast tissue and results in visible breast enlargement. This form of breast enlargement generally persists after supplement use is stopped, requiring surgical treatment.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Causes of Male Breast Enlargement, Gynecomastia

It is frequent for adolescent boys to have some enlargement of normal breast tissue before they reach adult testosterone levels. 95% have it disappear. If it lasts over a year it will not go on its own. Men in old age also get breast enlargement as their testosterone levels fall. Certain medications can cause breast enlargement, such as spironolactone or anabolic steroids. Marijauana and alcohol excess can be a cause. Some chronic illnesses are associated with it. The vast majority of men have no dangerous cause for the growth. Work up is controversial because it is rare to find a cause in an otherwise jealthy man.

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

What causes male breast development

Many surgeons have already answered this question quite well.  I would recommend a good medical workup if you had breast development years after puberty.  Rarely, testicular tumors can cause gynecomastia. Also be aware that smoking marijuana and taking medications like propecia can cause this.  Most cases are benign, arrive during puberty, and do not go away with time. Good luck.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.