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Alternative namesBreast development in a male
DefinitionGynecomastia is the development of prominent breast tissue in the male.
ConsiderationsThe most common cause of gynecomastia in the male is puberty. The condition may occur in one or both breasts and begins as a small lump beneath the nipple, which may be tender. The breasts often enlarge unevenly. Gynecomastia during puberty is not uncommon, is self-limiting, and usually goes away over a period of months.
In newborns, breast development may be associated with milk flow ( galactorrhea ). This condition usually lasts for a couple of weeks and in rare cases may persist until the child is two years old. It is caused by exposure to maternal hormones.
Other causes of gynecomastia include chronic liver disease , kidney failure, and exposure to estrogens, androgens (often taken secretly for body building), marijuana , and some medications. Rare causes include tumors, genetic defects, or an overactive thyroid.
Home CareApply cold compresses and use analgesics as recommended by the health care provider if swollen breasts are also tender.
Call your health care provider ifCall your health care provider if the breasts have developed abnormally or if there is swelling or pain in one or both breasts.
Note: Gynecomastia in children who have not yet reached puberty should always be evaluated by a health care provider.
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.
Medical history questions documenting gynecomastia may include:
Although spontaneous resolution is normal, persistent breast enlargement may be embarrassing for an adolescent boy. On occasion, breast development may be so great that surgery is recommended to prevent emotional damage.
After seeing your health care provider:
If a diagnosis was made by your health care provider related to gynecomastia, you may want to note that diagnosis in your personal medical record.
Update Date: 2/2/2004Tarun Jain, M.D., Endocrinology & Infertility Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT