5 Common Causes of Irreversible Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia or “man boobs” can be an embarrassing condition for men; changing their appearance and impacting their self-esteem. It is estimated that up to 60% of men experience some level of excess breast tissue; especially men over the age of 50. Aging can be a factor but increases in estrogen levels lead to male breasts and can happen at any age and for various reasons.

Some types of gynecomastia can go away on their own. Neonatal and pubertal gynecomastia can occur in infancy and in adolescence, but can dissipate over a few months or years. However, there are adult types of man breasts that do not auto-reverse and need treatment to be removed. Here are five common causes of irreversible gynecomastia.


It makes sense that if a man gains weight, he can also gain weight in the breast area. What may be a surprise is when weight loss occurs, the “man boobs” may not go away. Even if overall fat is lost, there may be extra tissue and skin left in the breast area that needs surgery to correct.


Men that have used steroids for bodybuilding can often be subject to “man boobs” as a side effect. In most cases, once the breast tissue develops, it does not go away, even after they stop taking the steroids.

Hormonal Imbalance

There are many reasons for hormonal imbalances, which can create higher levels of estrogen in males, creating the infamous “man boobs.”


Diseases such as hyperthyroidism, HIV, and kidney failure can all be factors that contribute to gynecomastia. In some cases, treating the disease can help reduce the appearance of male breasts, but often they are irreversible without further measures.

Medications and Drugs Causing Man Boobs

Many types of medications and recreational drugs can create man boobs as a side effect. Alcohol, marijuana, and even heroine use can lead to male breast growth, as well as medications for various conditions if they impact estrogen levels. Medications for prostate problems, gastrointestinal issues, cardiovascular health, and even antibiotics can lead to breast growth. Sometimes stopping use of the drug or medication can reduce the “man boob” effect, but not always.

Once gynecomastia is present for a significant period in adulthood, regardless of the cause, it usually will need treatment to remedy. Both medication and surgical options are available for men who want to lose their “man boobs” and create a leaner chest area to improve their appearance.

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