There is no known cause for this condition, but certain drugs (such as cimetidine (anti-ulcer), spironolactone (diuretic for high blood pressure), digoxin (heart drug), and marijuana), medical problems, excessive alcohol consumption, oestrogen in the meat industry, and even women taking the contraceptive pill are all blamed for male breast overdevelopment. Steroid hormones are injected into livestock to make them grow large for slaughter and thus pass into the food chain. Women taking oral contraceptive pills excrete small quantities of oestrogen into the sewerage system and the hormone passes into the water supply.
If just one breast is enlarged and painful there might be a very small chance that it’s due to breast cancer. In such cases a mammogram should be performed. Many boys going through puberty will experience a certain amount of breast growth, but this usually resolves itself naturally over time. Any sustained breast over-development in men should be seen by a doctor.
Breast enlargement is different from excess fat in the breast area due to weight gain, but both conditions can cause equal distress. However, men who feel self conscious about the appearance of their woman-like breasts can have male breast reduction surgery to give them a flat, broad, more masculine chest.
If you’re considering having male breast reduction surgery for gynaecomastia our information fact sheets will give you a basic understanding of the procedure and what it involves. For any further questions please contact your surgeon as many factors depend on personal circumstances.