Gynecomastia is a common condition in men and boys that is exemplified by abnormally large breasts. It isn’t caused by excess fat tissue but by additional breast tissue. Exercising or weight loss will not reduce the tissue, although most cases of gynecomastia will normally resolve on their own without treatment.
Gynecomastia isn’t typically a serious problem, but it can affect self-confidence and cause embarrassment.
The most common cause of gynecomastia is an imbalance between the hormones testosterone and estrogen. Estrogen, considered the “female” hormone, makes breast tissue grow while testosterone, the “male” hormone, keeps estrogen in check. When these two hormones become imbalanced in males, breast tissue can increase resulting in gynecomastia.
About 10 – 20 percent of gynecomastia cases are thought to stem from the use of medication or herbal products. Another 25 percent of cases occur for unknown reasons.
Most cases of gynecomastia will resolve on their own without any treatment. However, if the condition does not resolve or causes embarrassment, pain, or tenderness, treatment may be necessary. Treatment options may include hormone therapy to block the effects of estrogens or breast reduction surgery to excise the excess breast tissue.