Gynecomastia is enlarged male breasts, where the extra tissue is glandular rather than just excess fat. A number of general causes have been identified, but in any individual case, the specific cause cannot always be determined. In two groups of people the cause is typically clear:

  • In newborn babies it is caused by the mother’s estrogen temporarily being in the baby’s bloodstream
  • In teenage boys the cause is hormonal changes during puberty

It can also occur in adult males, usually mid-life to older males, because aging testes produce gradually less and less testosterone.

Other Causes

  • Heredity
  • Lack of testosterone and/or excess estrogen
  • A tumor which produces estrogen
  • Some medications such as steroids, epilepsy drugs, and some heart drugs
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Antidepressants such as Valium
  • Products which contain tea tree oil or lavender oil


Typically gynecomastia can be diagnosed through a physical examination and medical history. If the tissue is particularly large or hard, one-sided or tender, a tissue sample (biopsy) till be taken to test for other potential problems. Cancer will be considered if there is a family history of cancer.


In babies and adolescents, gynecomastia usually subsides by itself. If the cause is determined to be a particular medication, stopping that medication will take care of it, although another drug may then be prescribed if necessary. If it is caused by hormonal imbalance, hormonal treatment will be effective.

Gynecomastia consisting of excess fatty tissue is technically called pseudogynecomastia and is easily treated by cosmetic surgery. Dr. Rai offers this male breast reduction using ultrasonic liposuction in an outpatient procedure.

If you would like more information about this procedure, please call or email our office today for a personal consultation.