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Gynecomastia is the swelling that occurs in the gland tissue of the breasts in boys or men. This is often caused due to a hormonal imbalance that occurs in the body with estrogen and testosterone. The effects of gynecomastia are observed in one or both the breasts. The effects of gynecomastia can be uneven as well.


It is quite normal to witness gynecomastia is new born babies, boys and teenagers as the body undergoes hormonal changes. Though there could be other reasons for gynecomastia, especially among older men.

Although not a very serious issue, gynecomastia can often be difficult to deal with for boys or men. The swelling can be a source of embarrassment for boys/men. Sometimes the swollen breast gland can also cause pain. Generally, the symptoms of Gynecomastia often disappears on its own. However, if it does not, medication or surgical help can be sought.

Natural Changes In Hormone Levels

The main properties of estrogen and testosterone hormones is to control the sexual characteristics of the body. These hormones define the body type and development of males and females. The Testosterone is responsible for the growth muscle mass in boys, body hair and other masculine traits. On the other hand, Estrogen is responsible for the female traits such as breast enlargement, regulation of menstrual cycle among others.

A general perception among people are that both these hormones are exclusive to each gender. However, men also produce estrogen in their bodies, but in lesser quantity compared to women. Whenever the estrogen levels in the male body exceeds beyond a permissible limit, or there is a reduction in the testosterone levels, it causes Gynecomastia.

Gynecomastia as seen in infants. It is quite common for infant boys to be born with large breasts. This is mostly due to the estrogen levels of the mother that are passed onto the baby. In normal conditions, the swollen tissues of the glands disappear within a few weeks of the baby’s birth.

Gynecomastia as seen during puberty. Another common instance of Gynecomastia is during puberty. Although embarrassing and painful, the swollen glands soon disappear naturally within a few months to years without the need of any treatment or surgical procedure.

Gynecomastia as seen among adults. The chances of older men developing Gynecomastia is seen at the age group of 50 to 70. Almost 1/4th of men in the age group complain about Gynecomastia.

Causes of Gynecomastia

The most common cause of Gynecomastia is a reduction in the male hormone called testosterone. This is countered by an increase in the female hormone called estrogen. The sudden reduction in testosterone can be triggered due to a blockage in the effects of the hormone or an overall increase of Estrogen in the male body.

There could be several other reasons for such an imbalance in hormone levels as well. Let us discuss some below.


In most cases, Gynecomastia disappears on its own. But on certain occasion, Gynecomastia can be caused due to other issues such as malnutrition or hypogonadism. In such cases, a surgical procedure known as male breast reduction is performed to reduce the size of the male breasts and restore a more masculine appearance. A combination of liposuction along with the removal of excess glandular tissue is used to perform the surgery.

Contact Our Office

For many men, gynecomastia is an embarrassing issue that has taken a toll on their confidence and sense of masculinity. If this is something that you are dealing with, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Barry Cohen. As a skilled board-certified plastic surgeon serving the Washington DC, and surrounding area, Dr. Cohen has helped many patients experience the best versions of themselves.