Gynecomastia is triggered by hormonal imbalance. It is a result from the decrease in the amount of testosterone produced compared with estrogen. The decrease can be caused by conditions that reduce testosterone or block its effects or conditions that increase the levels of estrogen. Several things can cause the hormonal imbalance; they include;
1. Natural hormone changes
The hormone's estrogen and testosterone control the maintenance and development of sex characteristics in women and men. Testosterone controls the male traits, for example; the body hair and muscle mass. Estrogen controls the female traits, including breast's growth.
Most people think that the hormone estrogen is only produced by the females. However, males also produce it but in small quantities. Too high levels of estrogen in males (exceeding the testosterone levels) can cause gynecomastia.
Some medications can cause gynecomastia. They include;
· Anti-androgens that are used for treating prostate cancer or enlargement. Examples include spironolactone (Aldactone), finasteride (Proscar) and flutamide.
· Androgens and anabolic steroids
· AIDS medications.HIV-positive men receiving a treatment regimen known as highly active antiretroviral therapy are more prone to gynecomastia.
· An HIV medication known as Efavirenz (Sustiva) is commonly associated with gynecomastia.
· Anti-anxiety medications such as diazepam (Valium)
· Tricyclic antidepressants
· Ulcer medications such as cimetidine
· Cancer treatment(chemotherapy)
· Heart medications, such as calcium-channel blockers and digoxin (Lanoxin).
3. Alcohol and street drugs
Gynecomastia can be caused by the following substances;
4. Health conditions
Gynecomastia can be caused by several health conditions that affect the normal hormonal balance. These include;
Any condition that interferes with the normal production of testosterone such as pituitary insufficiency or Klinefelter syndrome can cause gynecomastia.
Hormonal changes that take place with aging can cause gynecomastia.
The tumors, such as those found in pituitary gland, adrenal glands or testes, can produce some hormones that alter female-male hormone balance.
In this condition, thyroid gland produces a lot of the thyroxine hormone.
· Kidney failure
Gynecomastia develops in most individuals being treated with hemodialysis due to hormone changes.
· Cirrhosis and liver failure
Hormonal changes related to liver failure as well as cirrhosis medications can cause gynecomastia.
· Malnutrition and starvation
When the body lacks adequate nutrition, the levels of testosterone drop but the levels of estrogen remain constant thus resulting in a hormonal imbalance.
5. Herbal products
Plant oils, such as lavender or tea tree, used in lotions, shampoos or soaps are associated with gynecomastia, probably because of their weak estrogenic activity.
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