Natural hormone changes:
The hormones testosterone and estrogen which plays a vital role in control of sex characteristics in both men and women. Testosterone controls male traits, such as muscle mass and body hair. Estrogen controls female traits, including the growth of breasts.
Most people think of estrogen as an exclusively female hormone, but men also produce it — though normally in small quantities. Male estrogen levels that are too high or are out of balance with testosterone levels can cause gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia in infants:
More than half of male infants are born with enlarged breasts due to the effects of their mother's estrogen. Generally, the enlarged breast tissue goes away within two to three weeks after birth.
Gynecomastia during puberty:
Gynecomastia caused by hormone changes during puberty is relatively common. In most cases, the swollen breast tissue will go away without treatment within six months to two years.
Gynecomastia in adults:
The prevalence of gynecomastia peaks again between the ages of 50 and 69. At least 1 in 4 men in this age group is affected.
A number of medicines can lead to gynaecomastia. These include:
Anti-androgens used to treat an enlarged prostate, prostate cancer and other conditions. Examples include flutamide, finasteride and spironolactone
Anabolic steroids and androgens, which are prescribed by doctors for certain conditions or are sometimes used illegally by athletes to build muscle and enhance performance.
AIDS medications. Gynecomastia can develop in men who are HIV-positive and receiving a treatment regimen called highly active antiretroviral therapy. Efavirenz is more commonly associated with gynecomastia than are other HIV medications.
Anti-anxiety medications, such as diazepam (Valium).
Ulcer medications, such as the over-the-counter drug cimetidine
The drugs used in the Cancer treatment.
Heart medications, such as digoxin and calcium channel blockers.
Stomach-emptying medications, such as metoclopramide .
Drugs and alcohol
Substances that can cause gynecomastia include:
- Amphetamines, used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
Age related disorder:
Conditions that interfere with normal testosterone production, such as Klinefelter syndrome or pituitary insufficiency, can be associated with gynecomastia.
Hormone changes that occur with normal aging can cause gynecomastia, especially in men who are overweight.
Some tumors, such as those involving the testes, adrenal glands or pituitary gland, can produce hormones that alter the male-female hormone balance.
In this condition, the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine.
About half the people being treated with dialysis experience gynecomastia due to hormonal changes.
Liver failure and cirrhosis:
Changes in hormone levels related to liver problems and cirrhosis medications are associated with gynecomastia.
Malnutrition and starvation:
When your body is deprived of adequate nutrition, testosterone levels drop while estrogen levels remain the same, causing a hormonal imbalance. Gynecomastia can also happen when normal nutrition resumes.
Plant oils, such as tea tree or lavender, used in shampoos, soaps or lotions have been associated with gynecomastia. This is probably due to their weak estrogenic activity.