Gynecomastia, Common and Uncommon Causes
There are common and uncommon causes of gynecomastia. Common causes and not unexpected would be with newborn babies, adolescent boys and the aging male. Uncommon causes are usually caused by syndromes, diseases, and cancer.
Newborn babies go through hormone conversion by the placenta that can cause breast enlargement in male babies, it usually resolves within a few weeks. For the adolescent young man, it is common for him to develop puffy nipples and/or breast tissue as he goes through puberty. Usually after puberty the chest will return to normal in a few months up to two years. For a small percentage of young men, their gynecomastia breast will become permanent, and the only option will be surgery. For the aging man, as his testosterone levels naturally drop, development of the male breast is not unusual, it is permanent, but surgery is an option.
Additional common causes of gynecomastia are; anabolic steroids, some prescription drugs, antibiotics, anti-ulcer drugs, dialysis, marijuana, alcohol, and chemotherapy.
|Medications can cause gynecomastia|
For uncommon causes of gynecomastia; it is known that Klinefelter’s Syndrome, Graves’ disease and breast cancer can contribute to the development of the male breast. Accounting for only 1% of cases, breast cancer is a rare disease for men. However, the percentage for men with Klinefelter’s Syndrome, it increases to fifty times more likely for the man to develop cancer.
Another less common cause of gynecomastia was noted when World War Two prisoners of war returned home. When malnourished men returned to a normal diet, many developed male breasts. This is referred to “refeeding gynecomastia.” It is believed that because of the near starvation state the men were in, their testosterone levels dropped dramatically, as their hormones began to rebalance, many developed breasts. For most within one to two years their chests returned to normal.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) topical use of tea tree oil and lavender oil use in young men may have an effect on the development of breasts.
For all of the known possible causes of gynecomastia, there are many cases that remain a mystery. It is very important for men, young and old, to be seen by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon that specializes in gynecomastia for an evaluation to determine if further diagnosis and testing needs to be done.