ZocdocAnswersWhat does it mean when a man develops breasts?

Question

What does it mean when a man develops breasts?

I'm otherwise trim, not overweight or anything, but I seem to have a lot of fat in my chest. Its almost like I'm growing breasts. What does this mean? Is the sign of something serious?

Answer

It is great that you watch your weight and are paying attention to changes in your body. It can be worrisome that you may be growing breast tissue. While this can be a benign finding, it should be evaluated by your primary care physician to consider possible medical etiologies. Breast enlargement in men is known as gynecomastia. It is important to distinguish true breat enlargement with glandular breast tissue from lipomastia (fat deposition without true glandular breast tissue growth). True gynecomastia is the result of an abnormal estrogen-androgen (female-male hormone) balance with increased female hormones. Gynecomastia can be a normal variant in newborn babies, during puberty, and in the elderly. In other cases, if there is true breast tissue enlargement, this can be pathologic and requires further evaluation. This could be the result of decreased testosterone production such as in testicular trauma, thyroid abnormalities, and malnutrition. It could also be the result of increased estrogen production which could be from a tumor of chronic liver disease. Also, there are various medications that can result in gynecomastia. You should follow up with your primary care physician to determine if you have true gynecomastia or simply increased fat deposition and to discuss further evaluation and need for treatment.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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