Hormone Imbalance Can Cause Gynecomastia in Teens
Estrogens (female hormones) and androgens (male hormones) are the two primary classifications of hormones found in both males and females in differing amounts. Puberty is the physical and sexual maturation involving growth spurts and the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics such as hair and genital development. The onset of puberty generally occurs in boys between the ages of 10-13. If a teen’s breasts are noticeable and the teen is not heavy, suspect that a hormone imbalance is present.
Gynecomastia, Male Breast or Man Boobs
There is hormone imbalance when the body produces more of the female hormone estrogen and less of the male hormone testosterone. However, obese male children may have large breasts due to excess fat and is not a hormone imbalance. Once a child loses weight, the large breasts often disappear.
Gynecomastia presents in mid-to-late puberty; young male teens can develop gynecomastia because of too much estrogen and too little testosterone. Gynecomastia causes enlargements of male breasts known colloquially as man-boobs. It may be present in one breast or both and is located under the nipples.
Gynecomastia generally is short lived, lasting three to six months in most cases. A few teen boys may have the condition longer. Sometimes the breasts can be painful or tender, especially when boys put on clothes that rub against the breasts. When the breasts are tender or painful, the doctor can prescribe medication.
Hormone Imbalance Can Be the Result of A Delayed Puberty
If there is no increase in testicular volume or size by the age of 14, suspect a hormone imbalance and can be the result of a delayed puberty. One cause of this condition, called constitutional delay, often runs in families and if this is the case, normal puberty will return. Constitutional delay affects growth, the onset of pubic and facial hair and is more common in boys than in girls.
Another cause of delayed puberty is hypogonadism or low testosterone levels. Symptoms are impaired growth of genitals, impaired hair growth and the arms and legs grow disproportionately to the rest of the body. Hypogonadism can be the result of certain types of medications, pituitary conditions, obesity, or infectious diseases.
See a physician if the symptoms appear because conditions such as diabetes and cystic fibrosis can cause a delayed puberty, as will thyroid, pituitary conditions, and abnormal testes.