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Gynecomastia is the development of enlarged breasts in men, and it has various causes. One of the most prevalent causes is hormone imbalance, as excess estrogen in males can result in more breast tissue than usual. Drugs of any kind, both prescription medications and illegal substances, can also result in this condition. Additionally, various medical issues have also turned out to be the causes of gynecomastia. Going to a doctor is helpful in determining the main cause, though it should be known that in some cases, a cause is never found.
One of the main causes of gynecomastia is excess estrogen, as this is the hormone that controls breast growth. It is normal for males to have a small amount of estrogen in their bodies, but testosterone is typically the dominant hormone, which makes an excessive amount of estrogen abnormal. This imbalance can occur at any point in a male's life, though it occurs most often during puberty and advanced age. In addition, newborn babies can also experience this imbalance, though since it is due to their mother's estrogen it tends to disappear within weeks of their birth.
Another common cause of gynecomastia is any type of drug, whether illegal or prescribed. Medications that are used to treat AIDS, cancer, prostate enlargement, anxiety, depression, and ulcers are all often causes of gynecomastia. These include antiretroviral therapy, anti-androgens, antibiotics, diazepam, cimetidine, and chemotherapy. Additionally, drugs like alcohol, heroin, marijuana, amphetamines, and anabolic steroids are all considered causes of gynecomastia. Despite the fact that the majority of males who use any of these drugs will likely not experience breast enlargement, those who do can typically stop taking the drug in question or switch to a different one in order to get rid of the issue.
In some cases, treating gynecomastia is not as simple as stopping certain medications, as some underlying medical issues may be the cause. Not surprisingly, problems that alter hormone production are often causes of gynecomastia, including hyperthyroidism, hypogonadism, and tumors. Such disorders can interfere with the job of the thyroid gland, pituitary gland, or adrenal gland, resulting in an imbalance that needs to be treated before the gynecomastia can be expected to go away. Other causes of gynecomastia include liver or kidney failure, as well as malnutrition. Unfortunately, old age is another cause of this condition in males, which means that not every case of gynecomastia can be cured, though most can still be treated in some way.