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Gynecomastia is an endocrine system disorder in which a noncancerous increase in the size of male breast tissue occurs. Psychological distress may occur.
The development of gynecomastia is usually associated with benign pubertal changes. However, 75% of pubertal gynecomastia cases resolve within two years of onset without treatment. In rare cases, gynecomastia has been known to occur in association with certain disease states. The pathologic causes of gynecomastia are diverse and may include Klinefelter syndrome, certain cancers, endocrine disorders, metabolic dysfunction, various medications, or may occur due to a natural decline in testosterone production. Disturbances in the endocrine system that lead to an increase in the ratio of estrogens/androgens are thought to be responsible for the development of gynecomastia. This may occur even if the levels of estrogens and androgens are both appropriate, but the ratio is altered. Diagnosis is based on signs and symptoms.
The condition commonly resolves on its own and conservative management of gynecomastia is often all that is necessary. Medical treatment of gynecomastia that has persisted beyond two years is often ineffective. Medications such as aromatase inhibitors have been found to be effective in rare cases of gynecomastia from disorders such as aromatase excess syndrome or Peutz–Jeghers syndrome, but surgical removal of the excess tissue is usually required.Gynecomastia is common. Physiologic gynecomastia develops in up to 70% of adolescent boys. Newborns and adolescent males often experience temporary gynecomastia due to the influence of maternal hormones and hormonal changes during puberty, respectively.