Most cases of gynecomastia regress over time without treatment. However, if gynecomastia is caused by an underlying condition, such as hypogonadism, malnutrition or cirrhosis, that condition may need treatment. If you're taking medications that can cause gynecomastia, your doctor may recommend stopping them or substituting another medication.
In adolescents with no apparent cause of gynecomastia, the doctor may recommend periodic re-evaluations every three to six months to see if the condition improves on its own. Gynecomastia often goes away without treatment in less than two years. However, treatment may be necessary if gynecomastia doesn't improve on its own or if it causes significant pain, tenderness or embarrassment.
Medications used to treat breast cancer and other conditions, such as tamoxifen (Soltamox) and raloxifene (Evista), may be helpful for some men with gynecomastia. Although these medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, they have not been approved specifically for this use.
Surgery to remove excess breast tissue
If you still have significant bothersome breast enlargement despite initial treatment or observation, your doctor may advise surgery. Two gynecomastia surgery options are:
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- Liposuction. This surgery removes breast fat, but not the breast gland tissue itself.
- Mastectomy. This type of surgery removes the breast gland tissue. The surgery is often done endoscopically, meaning only small incisions are used. This less invasive type of surgery involves less recovery time.
- Dickson G. Gynecomastia. American Family Physician. 2012;85:716.
- Braunstein GD. Epidemiology and pathogenesis of gynecomastia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 28, 2013.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013. 52nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Aug. 29, 2013.
- Morcos RN, et al. Gynecomastia: When is treatment indicated? The Journal of Family Practice. 2012;61:719.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed Aug. 29, 2013.
- Braunstein GD. Causes and evaluation of gynecomastia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 29, 2013.