I’m 14 and I have enlarged breasts. Is it gynecomastia? Can it be cured without surgery?

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If you have gynecomastia, you are not alone. Gynecomastia is a common condition where the tissue under a young man’s nipples starts to grow and can look like small breasts. This most often happens during early puberty (between 12-14 years of age) when there is a change in the balance of hormones but it usually goes away within a few months to a year. In fact, almost half of all young men will have it during puberty. Gynecomastia can also be caused from using drugs such as marijuana and very rarely it can be caused by a tumor or a serious disease of the liver or kidneys. It is not related to breast cancer.

Gynecomastia that happens during puberty is not normally treated with medicine or surgery because it usually goes away by itself. If gynecomastia continues after puberty (after a young man turns 17 or 18 years old) and weight loss doesn’t improve the problem, surgery may be considered. However, getting to a healthy weight is important before considering surgery.

*Here’s how you can bring this concern up with your primary care provider:  “I’ve noticed a small rubbery lump under my nipple area? Could it be gynecomastia or is it something else?