In other cases, medical conditions or medical treatments can create the hormonal environment in the body that allows gynecomastia to develop. Examples of conditions that may be associated with gynecomastia include:
- cirrhosis of the liver,
- chronic kidney failure,
- disorders of the testes (male sex organs) including infection, trauma, or inborn disorders,
- testicular cancer,
- anti-androgen treatments for prostate cancer, and
Finally, drugs of abuse (for example, alcohol, marijuana, and heroin) are known causes of gynecomastia. Lavender oil and tea tree oil, when used in skin-care products, have also been associated with gynecomastia.
Signs and symptoms
In contrast to gynecomastia, male breast cancer is usually located only on one side and is not necessarily centered around the nipple. Other symptoms suggestive of cancer include a hard or firm feeling to the tissue, dimpling of the skin, retraction of the nipple, nipple discharge, and enlargement of the underarm (axillary) lymph nodes.
Exams and Tests
The doctor may order tests, such as blood tests or imaging studies, to help establish the reason for gynecomastia. Mammography is indicated if there is any suspicion of male breast cancer.
- Testosterone replacement: This therapy has been effective in older men with low levels of testosterone, but it was not proved to be effective for men who have normal levels of the male hormone.
- SERMs: The selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) tamoxifen (Soltamox) and raloxifene (Evista) can help reduce the amount of breast tissue, although they are not able to entirely eliminate the problem. These medications are most often used for severe or painful gynecomastia.