Gynecomastia in teenagers is one of the most embarrassing situations for them and according to the Cleveland Clinical Journal Of Medicine Volume 71 that focused on gynecomastia, this medical condition may occur in 48% to 64% of boys going through puberty, first appearing as early as 10 years of age, with a peak onset between ages 13 and 14, followed by a decline in late teenage years.

Why gynecomastia in teenagers ?

Gynecomastia in teenagers is nothing strange but a natural phenomenon because, it is part of the physiological growth and evolution of males. Gynecomastia is seen in three stages of the life span of an individual and is associated with hormonal changes in the body. The first stage is during neonatal period when 60-90% of babies develop breast tissue. The second stage in the life span of all males when gynecomastia can come is during puberty when 48% to 64% of all teenagers have some form of breast tissue growth and the third stage being in old age or between 60-80 years. Hormone changes occur in parallel to development of gynecomastia in all three stages.

Gynecomastia in teenagers is generally referred to as pubertal gynecomastia and can be one of the worst nightmares of any boy who is going through puberty. But the good news is that there is not much to be too worried about it and if you boys leave it alone, it will for the most part, go away without even you noticing it. Breast tissue growth occurs as a result of interplay between androgens (male hormones) and estrogens (female hormones) present in the body. Puberty is also a time when definite bodily features of men start to develop and a little breast tissue development might occur. Real gynecomastia is breast development in adult men and you only need to be concerned if this breast development carries over to adulthood. Read this page to know about other bodily changes during puberty.

Gynecomastia in teenagers should go away as they enter adulthood. The excessive breast tissue that is the cause of concern will even out as the chest expands once teenagers enter adulthood. In normal circumstances, it does not need any intervention at the time of puberty and it should go away as it came without further intervention. You must also be careful if you are using any medication to suppress it because you might be interfering with a natural body process. Always consult a doctor before taking any medications that you think would suppress the breast tissue growth. If you are overweight and have high levels of fat content, then what you suspect as gynecomastia could be in fact, accumulated fat or pseudogynecomastia.

An image showing that drugs can cause gynecomastia

STAY AWAY! FROM DRUGS as these will fuel gynecomastia and could lead to irreversible growth of breast tissue. However, there are other instances where you could get gynecomastia in puberty and not be pubertal gynecomastia. This could be due to a genetic defect, drug abuse or as a side effect of a medication that you are using to treat another totally unrelated medical condition. If you are over-weight or obese, then there is also the chance of having the visual effect of gynecomastia as a result of accumulation of fat. Gynecomastia in adult men (NOT TEENS) is caused by a number of reasons. You can read the causes of gynecomastia in adult men here.

FAQ on gynecomastia in teenagers

Why do teens develop gynecomastia ?

When boys develop through puberty, their body produces slightly higher amounts of female hormones called estrogens. Estrogens are female hormones that gives women, the female body characteristics like breasts and other bodily and physiological features. Some boys will have a higher than usual level of these estrogens and this naturally results in growth of their breast tissue.

Am I an exception ?

Nothing could be farther from truth. It is estimated that about half of the guys who go through puberty will develop gynecomastia. Only the rate or size of growth differs. Say for example that there are 30 guys in your class, you can safely assume that 15 or half of them will be experiencing the same growth of breast tissue like you. Trust me, you are not alone !.

Will this stay forever ?

Now here is some good news!. Gynecomastia in teenagers should usually go away as you finish your teen years and enter into adulthood. This means, by the age of 20, your chest will start to flatten out and before you know it, it should be gone. You need not be bothered too much about this natural growth that happens to you. Stay calm and give it the time to go away and it will. However, if the breast development stays or continues even after adolescence, then it is a genuine case of gynecomastia.

Should I see a doctor ?

If you feel that you need to see a doctor and confirm this for your peace of mind, then by all means you should. It is recommended that you see a doctor or surgeon specializing in the treatment of individuals with gynecomastia. He would be in a better position to clarify and answer each and every question you may have.