Male breasts - gynaecomastia
gynecomastia; male; breasts; gynaecomastia;
As if puberty is not hard enough on guys - going through all those changes! Your voice breaks, you grow facial hair and then it seems as though you might be growing breasts. What's going on?
Many normal, healthy young men get some breast tissue – about 65% of 14 year olds.
The hormones that cause all of the other changes in puberty cause this too.
Gynaecomastia is the medical term for breast tissue growing on a male (guy-nee-ko-mass-ti-a).
- Breast tissue growth for older males can be caused by other health problems, or by medicines that are needed to treat some health problems – but these are not the cause of breast tissue growth for young males around puberty.
- When a male is very overweight, he can have fat under the skin in the area of the breasts, and it can look like he has enlarged breasts. This is different to gynaecomastia, which is caused by hormone changes.
What does it look like?
It normally looks like a slight swelling under the nipples.
- One breast may develop on its own, or both may grow.
- Sometimes it can be tender.
- It starts like breast development does for girls, but it stops when it is still a small lump.
- It does not keep growing.
Even though it might seem very obvious to you, most other people will not notice it. It should be hardly noticeable under your clothes.
- If you are worried about how it looks when you take your top off, for example when you go swimming, wear a t-shirt. This will protect other parts of your body from getting sun burnt too, which is always good!
How long will it last?
- It always goes away.
- The swelling should go down within a year or two, and it is virtually always gone before the age of 20 years.
"All guys going through puberty can feel a bit worried at times. If you think that you are growing breasts too, that could be way too much to cope with on your own! Check things out with your doctor. Don’t sit around worrying and wondering if something is wrong with you."
References and further reading
The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Youth Healthline on 1300 13 17 19 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).