Gynecomastia: Swelling of Breast Tissue in Males

What Is Gynecomastia?

breast swelling men

Gynecomastia refers to a noncancerous increase in the size of a man’s breast tissue. Gynecomastia leads to swelling and tenderness of the breast tissue in men, often as the result of poor diet, certain medications, hormonal imbalances or aging. It is a very common condition, affecting over 3 million men every year.


  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Aging
  • Malnutrition
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Tumors
  • Hypogonadism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Certain medications
    • Anti-androgens
    • Antibiotics
    • AIDS medications
    • Steroids
    • Anti-depressants


There is only one recognized type of gynecomastia.



  • Swollen breast tissue
  • Breast tenderness
  • Pain around breasts
  • Discharge from the nipples


Your primary care physician can diagnose gynecomastia based on a physical examination. They may order diagnostic testing such as blood panels to evaluate your hormone levels.


Most men with gynecomastia never seek treatment since it is not necessarily a hazardous to your health, depending on the cause. Breast swelling that is caused by an underlying condition like liver failure or kidney failure may resolve once treatment for the condition begins. Some cases of gynecomastia can be reversed with corrective plastic surgery.

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