Gynecomastia is the medical term used to describe enlarged breast tissue in males. The condition occurs when the body has more estrogen than testosterone. Baby boys may have gynecomastia due to exposure to their mothers' hormones in utero. Teenage boys may develop gynecomastia as the hormonal changes that come along with puberty approach. Other health conditions and medications may produce gynecomastia in older men as well. The treatment methods used to get rid of gynecomastia vary, depending on the specific cause.
Things You'll Need
- List of current medications
- Prescription medications
Schedule a physical exam with your doctor to check for health conditions that may be contributing to gynecomastia. Pituitary and adrenal gland disorders, hyperthyroidism, and liver or kidney disease can all cause a male's breast tissue to become enlarged.
Bring a list of all medications and supplements that you (or your child, if he is the person affected) currently take. Valium, tricyclic antidepressants, chemotherapy, and some medications prescribed to people who are HIV positive may cause gynecomastia in some people. If this is the case, your doctor may be able to find a new medication that does not carry the same side effect.
Avoid using excessive amounts of alcohol and illegal substances such as marijuana, heroin or amphetamines. The Mayo Clinic reports that this type of risky behavior may be the cause of gynecomastia in some men.
Use "watchful waiting" as an early step to treating enlarged breast tissue in males. Gynecomastia that occurs in infants and adolescents usually resolves itself without any specific treatment. In both cases, all that is needed is time for the boy's hormones to level out. A decrease in swelling of the breasts can be seen within a few weeks of birth. Teens may notice positive changes within a few months, but it can take up to a couple of years.
Get rid of gynecomastia by taking medications that are normally used to fight breast cancer. Tamoxifen and raloxifene are not FDA-approved to treat gynecomastia, according to the Mayo Clinic, but they are sometimes prescribed off-label for this purpose.
Undergo surgery to remove excess breast tissue if the condition has become disturbing and shows no sign of naturally reversing itself. Men may choose to have liposuction or even a mastectomy to remove breast tissue.