There are several things that can trigger gynecomastia in men. In general, gynecomastia occurs when there is an imbalance between the amount of testosterone and estrogen in the body. A decrease in testosterone or an increase in estrogen can cause breast tissue to grow. Here are some of the ways that your hormones can become imbalanced and cause you to develop gynecomastia.
Natural Hormonal Changes
Gynecomastia can happen whenever your body goes through natural hormonal changes. Most often, this is due to birth, puberty, or aging. For example, more than half of male babies have gynecomastia at birth due to the amount of estrogen they receive from their mother. Pre-teen and teenage boys can also develop the condition when going through puberty. However, gynecomastia is also prevalent among adult males between the ages of 50 and 69, affecting nearly 1 in 4 men.
Underlying Health Conditions
While gynecomastia is more likely to have a natural cause, there are instances where an underlying condition can affect the size of male breast tissue. This includes hypogonadism, hyperthyroidism, kidney failure, liver failure, malnutrition, obesity, and tumors.
Medications or Drugs
There are certain medications that can cause gynecomastia over time. To help control your gynecomastia, it’s important to review your medications with your doctor to determine if they are contributing to your condition. Some of the most common culprits include:
- Anti-androgens for prostate issues
- Anabolic steroids
- AIDS/HIV medications
- Anti-anxiety medications
- ADD/ADHD medications
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Calcium channel blockers
- Ulcer medications
- Heart medications
- Cancer treatment
Over-the-counter and prescription drugs aren’t the only things that can cause hormone imbalances. Many street drugs can also cause someone to develop gynecomastia, including amphetamines, marijuana, heroin, and methadone.
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