When Men Develop Breasts

What is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a condition in which male develops breasts. It’s not only embarrassing but also painful. It’s often temporary and goes away naturally, however if it don’t or is highly uncomfortable, there are several treatment options available.

What are the symptoms of male breast development?

Gynecomastia can occur in both breasts in males or just one. The area behind the nipple is tender sometimes.

When should I see a doctor?

You should see a doctor for expert opinion if:

  • Your breasts are growing abnormally fast
  • Your breasts have grown considerably large (2 or more inches of breast tissue under nipple)
  • Your breast are painful
  • Your breast size embarrasses and worries you
  • Your breasts have grown along with a testicular lump or any other illness
  • If you’re an adult man with a breast lump not under the nipple but on a side, suggesting breast cancer, which is very rare but possible in men

Is there a test for male breast development?

Male breasts can usually be diagnosed by physical examination by the doctor. However if not sure that it’s breast or fat tissue, mammogram (specialized x-ray) can be performed. Some male patients developing breasts may need blood tests including checking various hormone levels too.

How is male breast development treated?

Usually the male breasts disappear naturally and treatment isn’t needed. However if needed, treatment depends upon the cause, duration, severity and discomfort. Several treatment options for male breast development include:

  • In teenage boy, breast enlargement is temporary and goes off naturally, however a medicine called Tamoxifen may be advised to patients with very large, painful breasts
  • In adult men, abnormal breast development is due to health problem or some drug he may be taking. Identifying and then treating the cause and stopping the drug causing it usually reverses the breast development.
  • Adults having enlarged breasts for more than an year may not respond to Tamoxifen and need surgery for the reduction of breast size
  • Patients who had hormone therapy for prostate cancer also develop breasts that can be prevented with radiation therapy or Tamoxifen prior to hormone therapy.