Gynecomastia: What Is It, Causes & Treatment


Gynecomastia, commonly known as “man boobs,” is often due to an imbalance of testosterone and oestrogen hormones, which affects a significant number of men worldwide. During adolescence, hormonal fluctuations can lead to the development of prominent male breasts, making it a relatively frequent problem among young males. Certain medications and diseases can also cause male breast tissue to swell and get bigger.

While it is true that some men may experience a reduction in breast size without medical intervention, there are cases where treatment becomes necessary. If enlarged breasts harm your body, you may consider undergoing a breast reduction procedure known as gynecomastia surgery. This cosmetic procedure has gained popularity among men as an effective solution to address the issue of enlarged breasts.

Common Causes of Gynecomastia

Hormonal Imbalance

The development of sexual characteristics in both men and women is controlled by two hormones: testosterone and estrogen. Testosterone is responsible for the development of male traits, such as muscle mass and body hair, while oestrogen is responsible for the development of female traits, such as breast growth.

Although oestrogen is typically associated with females, men also produce this hormone, albeit in lower amounts. If the balance of oestrogen and testosterone in men is disrupted and oestrogen levels become too high, it can result in a condition called gynecomastia, which results in enlarged male breast tissue.


Antiandrogens are medications commonly prescribed for the treatment of conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. These drugs work by blocking the effects of testosterone in the body while causing gynecomastia. Some other medicines may also cause gynecomastia. These may include antibiotics, anti-anxiety medications, and certain medications used to treat heart conditions. If gynecomastia develops as a result of medication use, consulting a healthcare professional to explore alternative treatments or adjust the dosage may be necessary.

Health Conditions

Some health conditions can contribute to gynecomastia. These may include liver disease, kidney disease, Klinefelter syndrome, lung cancer, and hormonally active tumours. Recreational drugs ranging from anabolic steroids to alcohol and amphetamines are also often responsible.

How Gynecomastia Is Treated


Many people who have gynecomastia wish to resolve the condition without having surgery. Some medications may be prescribed to treat gynecomastia. Selective oestrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) like tamoxifen or raloxifene can help reduce breast tissue growth by preventing the cells from receiving oestrogen’s signals to grow and multiply. Aromatase inhibitors, such as anastrozole, are one medicine that can effectively reduce gynecomastia. People suffering from painful or severe gynecomastia can benefit from this medicine.

Lifestyle Changes

In some cases, gynecomastia is linked to obesity or lifestyle factors. But, there is a difference between gynecomastia vs fat. Therefore, making some changes in your lifestyle can help decrease the enlargement of men’s boobs. Engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and managing overall body weight can help reduce excess fat and promote hormonal balance.

Surgical Procedures

For some people, it is possible to treat gynecomastia without having surgery. However, for others, it is not that simple. If you are the one whose enlarged breasts are significant and bothersome even after initial treatment, your doctor may advise surgery.

Two gynecomastia surgery options are:


If males are facing the problem of enlarged breasts and any other treatment has not given them the desired result, then liposuction could be a suitable solution. This method aims to remove extra fat and breast tissue using a minimally invasive procedure. A small incision is made, and a small tube called a cannula is used to safely remove the fat and tissue. This approach is safe, effective, and commonly used for treating gynecomastia.

Breast Reduction

Although the objective of this approach is similar to liposuction, it is more extensive. In cases of severe gynecomastia, excision techniques are recommended, where glandular breast tissue or excess skin must be removed. Liposuction is still part of this procedure, but the overall approach is more direct. The recovery period for this method can take a few weeks, during which tenderness and swelling are expected, particularly in the first week after the procedure.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to dealing with gynecomastia, it’s important to understand that you are not alone in your journey. While gynecomastia itself is not typically a health risk, it can have profound psychological and sociological effects on individuals. The good news is that there are various cosmetic treatments available, and with the guidance of With your medical team, you can determine the most suitable approach for your specific case.