Gynecomastia In Teens – Causes, Signs And Treatment

Written by Ria Saha • 
Image: Shutterstock


Teenage is a time for many changes and emotional upheaval. While some teens embrace these changes with open arms, other changes, for a want of a better word, are downright embarrassing. And, if your teen son feels humiliated because of his growing breasts, he may have Gynecomastia.

What is it? How do you treat it? What precautions should you take? Hold on to these questions. Here, MomJunction has compiled some pertinent information on gynecomastia in teens, and what you can do about it. So, read on and inform yourself.

What Is Gynecomastia?

The overdevelopment of a teen boy’s breasts, due to the presence of a higher percentage of the female hormone estrogen and a small percentage of testosterone, is called gynecomastia. Typically, the glandular tissue of your teen’s breast begins to swell, and his breast buds appear enlarged and bulky (1).

[ Read: Puberty In Boys ]

Causes Of Gynecomastia In Teens:

Some of the most common causes of Gynecomastia in teen boys include:

1. Hormone Imbalance:

  • The hormone balance during the teenage years gets elevated or lowered due to several factors like health conditions or medications.
  • Specific hormones like testosterone and estrogen control the development of sexual characteristics in both teen boys and girls.
  • When the levels of the female hormone estrogen rise in your teen boy’s body, he develops bulky breasts.
  • It may also affect his sperm production rate, and cause sudden mood swings.
  • In most cases, the swollen breast tissues normalize within 1-2 years.

2. Medications:

  • Medications that inhibit the production of androgen hormone can often lead to Gynecomastia in teens. Examples of such medicines include Flutamide, Cyproterone, and Finasteride.
  • Gynecomastia can also occur in HIV-positive teens who may have to undergo a treatment procedure called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
  • Teen boys taking Tricyclic antidepressants, ulcer medications, and antibiotics may suffer from Gynecomastia.
  • Some street drugs that cause Gynecomastia in teens include Anabolic steroids, Amphetamines, Alcohol, and Heroin.

3. Medical conditions:

  • Sometimes, a tumor may alter the hormonal balance of the male-female hormone, and your teen can contract Gynecomastia.
  • During Hyperthyroidism, your teen’s thyroid gland produces an excess amount of hormone thyroxine, which can lead to Gynecomastia (2).

    [ Read: Do Boys Have Periods? ]

Symptoms Of Gynecomastia In Teenagers:

Some of the most common symptoms of Gynecomastia in teen boys, may include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Swollen nipples
  • Nipple discharge
  • Swollen breast tissue (3)

Diagnosing Gynecomastia In Teenagers:

At first, the physician may inquire about your teen’s medical history and perform a physical examination of his breast tissue, and genitals. Some of the other medical tests for teenage Gynecomastia may include:

  • Mammograms
  • Blood tests
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scans
  • Testicular ultrasounds
  • Chest X-rays
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans

Gynecomastia Treatment For Teenagers:

Your teen may have to undergo the following treatment procedures to recover from the symptoms of Gynecomastia:

  • In most cases, the swollen breast tissues get well over time, and without the need for any medical intervention.
  • When certain medications induce Gynecomastia in your teen, the doctor may restrict him or change the medications if required.
  • For critical conditions, the doctor may even recommend surgery like liposuction, or mastectomy (5).

Tips To Deal With Gynecomastia:

When your teen suffers Gynecomastia, he may feel embarrassed with his physical appearance. Here are some practical ways to deal with the condition:

  • Your teen needs to wear a thick t-shirt under his regular clothing so that the heavy breasts get hidden within the clothes.
  • For a teen with gynecomastia, it is better to maintain a healthy weight. If your teen is obese, the breasts turn bulky.
  • Your teen needs to exercise, and even lift weights. It will help him attain a muscular physique and develop muscles around his chest, back, and arms. It may help him achieve a proper body shape.

When To Seek Medical Advice?

Your teen should seek immediate medical attention, during the following conditions:

  • Severe pain or tenderness in either of the breasts
  • High fever
  • Skin around the breasts breakdown
  • Development of ulcers
  • Red streaking develops around the nipple

[ Read: Growth Spurts In Teenagers ]

Home Remedies For Gynecomastia In Teenagers:

Here are some effective remedies that may help your teen to recover from Gynecomastia naturally:

1. Turmeric:

  • Turmeric elevates testosterone hormone levels in your teen boy’s body.
  • When the level of the testosterone elevates, the swollen breasts automatically return to its normal shape and size. Additionally, turmeric burns excess calories.
  • Mix one teaspoon of turmeric in one cup of hot water, and boil the contents for about ten minutes. Your teen can drink the solution twice or thrice a day until he notices the visible changes.


Before taking turmeric, take your teen to the doctor. An excess of turmeric can worsen stomach disorders and may interfere with the blood thinning medications.

2. Fish Oil:

  • Fish oil contains a high percentage of omega-3 fatty acids and restores testosterone hormone levels in your teen’s body.
  • The fatty acids reduce the elevated estrogen level, which leads to the abnormal development of the male breasts.
  • Your teen can take fish oil or omega-3 supplements and consult the doctor for the accurate dosage and usage.
  • Make your teen eat cold-water fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel that contain an excess amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Passion Flower:

  • Passion flower possesses testosterone-boosting properties and aids in the natural treatment of Gynecomastia in males.
  • The compound Chrysin present in passion flower restricts the body from breaking down testosterone.
  • Passion flower also helps teens when they are suffering from alcohol or drug withdrawals.
  • You can steep one teaspoon of dried passionflower into a single cup of plain water for about ten minutes. Strain and drink the herbal tea for twice or thrice a day.
  • Your teen can also take a herbal supplement of passion flower as directed by the doctor.

Did your teen suffer from Gynecomastia? What home remedies did you use, for his quick recovery? Did they help? Share your story with fellow mommies here; comment in the box below.

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