If you are a man grappling with abnormally large breasts, we understand the distress it can bring to look in the mirror and see that you are developing female characteristics.

Medically termed gynecomastia, this condition is commonly referred to as “man-boobs.” While not typically hazardous, gynecomastia can profoundly impact self-esteem, often leading to embarrassment and reluctance to seek treatment.

First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that you’re not alone in this struggle. We know it

can feel that way, but gynecomastia is incredibly common, affecting millions of adult men and adolescent boys worldwide.

Also, hopefully, you will find relief in learning that gynecomastia is treatable through a combination of addressing its underlying cause and, if necessary, medication or undergoing a simple, safe, and effective plastic surgery procedure.

If you find yourself scouring the internet for answers, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we will provide information on gynecomastia, including its causes, treatment options, and, particularly, insights into gynecomastia surgery, which is the most common solution for overdeveloped male breasts.

What is Gynecomastia?

In simple terms, gynecomastia is abnormally enlarged or overly developed breasts in men. Often casually referred to as “man boobs,” gynecomastia is a fairly common condition that can affect men of all ages.

Gynecomastia is caused by an imbalance of hormones in the body. When estrogen is out of balance with testosterone, it can lead to the development of breast tissue in males, resembling the growth observed in females.

While often harmless and self-resolving, gynecomastia can cause distress and impact self-esteem. If you are a man who is experiencing enlarged breasts, it can feel shameful and like you are alone, but you aren’t.

Gynecomastia is more common than most realize. Statistics show that gynecomastia affects approximately one in four men between the ages of 50 and 69. It also impacts many adolescent boys, with estimates ranging from 15% to 65% experiencing some degree of gynecomastia during puberty.

Is Gynecomastia Dangerous?

When a man first notices his breasts are enlarged, it can create panic not only because of the visual shock but also because it often feels like a tender lump in the breast area, which is also a classic sign of breast cancer.

While swollen breast tissue from gynecomastia can be tender to the touch, the condition is physically harmless. However, it can be emotionally devastating, especially for young boys, leading to a severe impact on a man’s mental health.

Signs and Symptoms of Gynecomastia

The signs of gynecomastia are generally straightforward, but there are less common symptoms to be aware of. If you’re experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms, consult your healthcare provider.

During your appointment, your doctor will conduct a physical exam and inquire about your symptoms and any medications or drugs you may be taking. In most cases, additional testing beyond a physical exam and medical history may not be necessary. However, blood tests may sometimes be recommended.

In certain instances, diagnostic imaging such as a mammogram, CT scan, ultrasound, or tissue biopsy may be required to confirm the diagnosis of gynecomastia or rule out other underlying conditions.

Common signs and symptoms of gynecomastia include:

Swollen Breast Gland Tissue

Enlargement of the breast tissue, often beneath the nipple, is a primary characteristic of gynecomastia. This swelling may be in one or both breasts. While it’s less common, some individuals may only experience swollen nipples without significant enlargement of the breast tissue itself.

Swollen Nipples

Alongside breast tissue enlargement, swelling of the nipples may occur, altering the breast’s appearance and exacerbating concerns.

Breast Tenderness

Sensitivity or soreness in the breast area can accompany gynecomastia, contributing to discomfort and distress.

Nipple Discharge

In some cases, gynecomastia may manifest with discharge from one or both nipples, which warrants further evaluation by a healthcare professional.

Psychological Concerns

Beyond physical symptoms, gynecomastia often prompts psychological and emotional distress, including feelings of self-consciousness, embarrassment, diminished self-esteem, and depression.

Conditions that Resemble Gynecomastia

Sometimes, what appears to be gynecomastia is actually another condition. If you have any signs of gynecomastia, you should get a check-up to ensure it’s not something else.

Here are some other conditions your healthcare team might consider:

Fatty Breast Tissue

Also known as pseudo gynecomastia, this occurs when excess fat accumulates in the chest area, resembling gynecomastia. However, it’s distinct and doesn’t involve hormonal changes. Typically, no further testing is necessary for individuals diagnosed with this condition.

Breast Cancer

Though rare in men, breast cancer can occur. Enlargement of one breast or the presence of a firm lump warrants investigation to rule out this serious concern.


Inflamed breast tissue, sometimes due to an infection, can mimic gynecomastia and require medical attention.


This benign fatty lump grows slowly and poses no cancer risk, but it can resemble gynecomastia and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

What Causes Gynecomastia?

If you are puzzled as to why you have developed “man-boobs” – there could be several reasons. Gynecomastia, the enlargement of male breast tissue, can arise from various factors.

Here are some of the most common causes of enlarged male breasts:

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal fluctuations can trigger gynecomastia. As adolescents undergo hormonal shifts, imbalances between estrogen and testosterone levels may occur, leading to the development of enlarged breast tissue. Roughly half of all boys aged 12-16 who are going through puberty develop gynecomastia in one or both breasts.

Similarly, aging men may experience gynecomastia as testosterone levels decline with age, tipping the hormonal balance toward estrogen dominance. These shifts in hormone levels can disrupt the hormone balance necessary for maintaining typical male breast tissue size.

For adult men, hormone replacement therapy is typically the gold standard for correcting hormone imbalances that lead to gynecomastia. But for teenage boys, it’s typically a watch-and-wait approach. Hormone changes during puberty are common. In most cases, no treatment is needed for adolescent boys who have enlarged breasts.

Gynecomastia during puberty usually flattens out in a few months. In some cases, it might take a few years for the breasts to return to normal size. However, if gynecomastia in teens doesn’t resolve on its own or if it causes pain, tenderness, or severe psychological distress, treatment may be needed.


Genetic predisposition can play a significant role in the development of gynecomastia. Individuals with a family history of the condition may have a heightened susceptibility to hormonal imbalances or physiological factors contributing to its onset.

Drug Use

One of the biggest and most preventable causes of gynecomastia is the use of certain drugs, notably anabolic steroids or androgens. These substances can interfere with the body’s hormonal balance, leading to excess estrogen relative to testosterone. Excess use of alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, and heroin are also known to lead to gynecomastia.

Stopping the drug might reverse gynecomastia within a few years, but typically, the excess tissue remains even after drug use is discontinued, and gynecomastia surgery is usually needed.

Certain Medications

Some medications prescribed for various conditions can also induce gynecomastia as a side effect. Some medicines containing plant oils with estrogenic properties may disrupt hormone levels, contributing to the development of enlarged breasts in males.

Medications that might lead to gynecomastia can include antidepressants, chemo, prostate cancer medications, ulcer or cardiovascular drugs, and even some antibiotics.

Similar to illegal drugs, stopping medications might lead to gynecomastia resolving on its own with time. However, gynecomastia treatment is typically required.

Weight Gain or Weight Loss

If you gain a lot of weight, you might have excess fat in your chest that could potentially turn into gynecomastia tissue. Additionally, excess adipose tissue, commonly associated with obesity, can produce estrogen, thereby disrupting the hormonal balance in males, leading to gynecomastia.

Resistance exercise and cardio can help you lose body fat, including some fat in your chest. However, no amount of running or chest presses will eliminate fat if it has turned into true gynecomastia.

In instances where hormonal shifts due to weight gain are causing gynecomastia, losing weight and/or hormone replacement therapy might help address the root cause. However, gynecomastia caused by weight gain can typically only be treated with gynecomastia surgery.

Furthermore, rapid fluctuations in weight, whether through weight loss or gain, can alter breast composition and appearance, potentially worsening the manifestation of gynecomastia.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors encompass a range of outside influences that can contribute to gynecomastia, especially when combined with genetic predispositions.

These factors may include exposure to chemicals that disrupt hormones, like those found in plastics, pesticides, or industrial pollutants. Lifestyle choices, such as diet, exercise habits, and substance use, can also affect hormone balance and increase the risk of gynecomastia.

Gynecomastia Treatment Options

If you are a man experiencing enlarged breasts, you probably want to fix it… fast.

While in some instances, such as during puberty, the condition may go away naturally as hormonal fluctuations stabilize, for many individuals, gynecomastia doesn’t go away on its own.

Luckily, there are effective ways to address the physical and psychological effects of gynecomastia.Here are the most common treatment options for enlarged male breasts:

Address the Root Cause

The first step in treating gynecomastia is to figure out and fix the underlying problem. Over time, in many cases, once the root cause is treated, the breast tissue will shrink again to look like normal male breasts. However, this can take weeks or even years, depending on how long and severe the condition is.


If your gynecomastia doesn’t go away on its own, there are medicines that might be helpful for adults with gynecomastia. Medications your doctor might consider prescribing include Tamoxifen (Soltamox), Raloxifene (Evista), or an aromatase inhibitor such as anastrozole (Arimidex.)

It is important to note that these medicines are “off-label” to treat gynecomastia. Meaning they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States but not explicitly approved for use in people with gynecomastia.

Gynecomastia Surgery

For those with prolonged cases of gynecomastia or cases where the skin of the breast or nipple has stretched, gynecomastia surgery is usually needed to remove the excess breast tissue and fix the appearance of enlarged male breasts and nipples.

Gynecomastia surgery is done through various surgical procedures that remove fatty buildup, remove excess breast tissue, and reshape the breast to better fit a masculine size. The two most common gynecomastia surgery options are liposuction and mastectomy. Sometimes, both of these surgeries are combined.

When performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, gynecomastia surgery can remove all evidence of gynecomastia. Rarely does gynecomastia recur after surgery. However, factors such as incomplete removal of breast tissue during surgery, hormonal fluctuations, significant weight gain, continued use of substances known to cause gynecomastia, and underlying medical conditions can cause gynecomastia to recur.

If you elect to have gynecomastia surgery, it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, monitor hormone levels if applicable, and attend regular follow-up appointments with your surgeon to minimize the risk of recurrence and address any concerns promptly.

Counseling and Support

The treatment for gynecomastia sometimes goes beyond correcting the root cause and visual appearance of the chest. Men living with enlarged breasts often experience significant emotional distress and social challenges. If you are a man with enlarged breasts, counseling and support can be very beneficial.

Talk therapy with a qualified therapist can provide valuable support in managing anxiety or depression stemming from gynecomastia. Additionally, connecting with others who share your gynecomastia struggles is also beneficial. Online communities like Gynecomastia.org offer a platform to connect with others living with the condition, providing a sense of camaraderie and understanding.

What to Expect Before, During and After Gynecomastia Surgery

Before gynecomastia surgery, you will have a consultation with a plastic surgeon to discuss your goals, medical history, and the surgical approach best suited to your needs.

The exact steps and duration of gynecomastia surgery vary depending on the specific technique used, whether it involves liposuction, gland excision (mastectomy), or a combination of both. On average, the procedure can take anywhere from one to three hours.

In most cases, you will be placed under general anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free throughout the procedure. The surgeon will then make incisions in the chest area to remove excess glandular tissue and fat.

Your recovery time following gynecomastia surgery will depend on various factors, including the extent of the procedure and your body’s healing process. Sometimes, patients may need to stay overnight in the hospital for observation. However, many gynecomastia surgeries are performed outpatient, allowing patients to return home the same day.

Following surgery, you will need to take care of the surgical site to promote proper healing. This may involve wearing compression garments and following specific post-operative care instructions provided by your surgeon. Depending on the surgical technique used, there may be stitches or stents that require follow-up procedures for removal.

Regular follow-up appointments with your surgeon will allow for monitoring of your progress and addressing any concerns that may arise during the recovery process.

The results of gynecomastia surgery are often immediate. However, it typically takes several months for your chest to settle into its new shape.

Who is a Candidate for Gynecomastia Surgery?

A good candidate for the surgery is someone who doesn’t use drugs, whose breasts have stopped growing, and who has failed to respond to other treatments.

It also helps to be at a healthy weight. Obese men may grow breasts due to the presence of too much fatty tissue in the body, which can trigger estrogen release. Your surgeon can discuss the necessary qualifications, risks, and general outcomes of gynecomastia surgery.

Benefits of Gynecomastia Surgery

Gynecomastia surgery offers numerous benefits for men struggling with enlarged breast tissue. By reducing excess glandular tissue and fat in the chest area, the surgery can help restore a more masculine contour to the chest, improving self-confidence and body image.

Beyond the physical transformation, many patients report experiencing psychological and emotional benefits, such as reduced anxiety and enhanced quality of life. Additionally, gynecomastia surgery can alleviate discomfort associated with breast tenderness and restore the ability to engage in activities without the burden of self-consciousness.

Is Gynecomastia Surgery Risky?

Like any surgical procedure, gynecomastia surgery carries inherent risks and potential complications. However, when performed by a qualified and experienced surgeon in a reputable medical facility, the procedure is generally safe and well-tolerated.

Common risks associated with gynecomastia surgery include infection, bleeding, scarring, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Additionally, asymmetry, changes in nipple sensation, and suboptimal aesthetic outcomes are possible but rare.

If you have any concerns about gynecomastia surgery, thoroughly discuss them with your plastic surgeon to ensure that you are a suitable candidate for the procedure.

Gynecomastia Surgery in Middle Tennessee

If you are a man with gynecomastia and are interested in gynecomastia surgery, it’s important to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in performing gynecomastia surgery.

At The Lett Center in Mt. Juliet and Lebanon, Tennessee, we specialize in aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery, including male breast reconstruction.

Our personalized approach ensures that you receive the highest quality care throughout your journey. Partnered with trusted providers for post-treatment and dermatology care, we strive to provide comprehensive support for all your aesthetic needs.

Schedule a consultation with us today to take the first step towards getting rid of gynecomastia and reclaiming your confidence.