Gynecomastia and hormones

Endocrine. 2017 Jan;55(1):37-44. doi: 10.1007/s12020-016-0975-9. Epub 2016 May 4.


Gynecomastia-the enlargement of male breast tissue in men-is a common finding, frequently observed in newborns, adolescents, and old men. Physiological gynecomastia, occurring in almost 25 % of cases, is benign and self-limited; on the other hand, several conditions and drugs may induce proliferation of male breast tissue. True gynecomastia is a common feature often related to estrogen excess and/or androgen deficiency as a consequence of different endocrine disorders. Biochemical evaluation should be performed once physiological or iatrogenic gynecomastia has been ruled out. Non-endocrine illnesses, including liver failure and chronic kidney disease, are another cause of gynecomastia which should be considered. Treating the underlying disease or discontinuing medications might resolve gynecomastia, although the psychosocial burden of this condition might require different and careful consideration.

Keywords: Estradiol; Gynecomastia; Hyperprolactinemia; Hyperthyroidism; Hypogonadism; Male breast enlargement; Testosterone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Cost of Illness
  • Gynecomastia / chemically induced
  • Gynecomastia / diagnosis*
  • Gynecomastia / etiology
  • Gynecomastia / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hyperprolactinemia / physiopathology
  • Hyperprolactinemia / therapy
  • Hypogonadism / physiopathology
  • Hypogonadism / therapy
  • Male
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / toxicity
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Precision Medicine*


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances