Key Statistics About Gynecomastia
- 50% of adolescent males suffer from gynecomastia
- 65% of adult males will suffer from gynecomastia
- 25% of pubertal gynecomastia does not resolve
- Prescription drugs cause 10 to 25% of gynecomastia
- 25% of gynecomastia causes are unknown
- 70% of pubertal gynecomastia is due to hormonal changes
- 2000 cases of male breast cancer are diagnosed in the US annually
- 400 American males die from breast cancer each year
- Pubertal gynecomastia persists in 20% of adults
- Gynecomastia occurs in 75% of those who take antiandrogens (1) (2)
Chapter 1: Male Gynecomastia Stats
Boys and men across a wide range of ages experience some form of gynecomastia during their lifetimes. Gynecomastia is a health condition that results in excess glandular breast tissue making the breasts appear larger. Gynecomastia affects males of all ages. However, it is particularly common among young boys during puberty and middle-aged and older men.
Because of its unsightly nature, gynecomastia can seriously impact the mental health of both boys and men alike. For males, gynecomastia is very embarrassing, which is why men with severe cases chronic gynecomastia typically opt for gynecomastia surgery which helps with male breast reduction.
1. 50% of adolescent males suffer from gynecomastia
During early puberty, hormonal changes can be sudden and rapid, leading to transient gynecomastia in adolescent boys. This is also partly due to a lessening of androgen and/or an increase in estrogens. It can affect up to 50% of young boys, with some studies estimating as much as 65% of adolescent boys experiencing gynecomastia. Most of these cases fix them naturally as the progression of puberty continues.
2. 65% of adult males will suffer from gynecomastia
A decrease in testosterone production and a subsequent increase in fatty tissue is recognized as part of the “natural” aging process. The increase in fatty tissue results in the conversion of testosterone to estrogens. In adult males, between 25% and 65% of them will experience some form of breast enlargement as they age.
3. 2-4% of Men Develop Drug Induced Gyno
Drug-induced gynecomastia, which refers to male breast enlargement, in males caused by medications, affects approximately 2-4% of all men, according to a study published in the American Family Physician journal.
4. 2000 cases of male breast cancer are diagnosed in the US annually
Gynecomastia is a regular occurrence in those patients undergoing hormonal treatment of gynecomastia. This type of therapy includes “androgen deprivation” and “androgen monotherapy.” However, other alternative treatments are available, including radiation therapy and prescription drugs such as tamoxifen.
5. 400 American males die from breast cancer each year
According to Lonzetta Neal, M.D., and Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., Breast Dia, “Having gynecomastia may negligibly raise your risk of male breast cancer due to the shift in the ratio of estrogen to testosterone in your body. Other risk factors for male breast cancer comprise a strong family history of breast and prostate cancer patients, Jewish ancestry, a family history of a breast cancer gene mutation and other genetic disorders.” (3)
6. There were 25,000 Male Breast Reduction Surgeries in 2020
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 25,000 male breast reduction surgeries were performed in the United States in 2020. The number of male breast reduction surgeries has increased by 30% since 2000. Male breast reduction surgery is typically performed on men between the ages of 18 and 35.
7. The Cost of Male Breast reduction is between $3,000 – $8,000
The cost of male breast reduction surgery can vary depending on factors such as the surgeon’s experience, the location of the surgery, and the extent of the procedure. On average, the cost of male breast reduction surgery is between $3,000 and $8,000.
Chapter 2: Gyno Causes
Although most of us believe that androgens like testosterone are “distinct” male hormones and estrogen are “specific” to women, the fact of the matter is that both sexes actually produce both types of these hormones. That said, androgens are the dominant hormones found in men, but there are also small traces of estrogen found.
Typically speaking, gynecomastia occurs when an imbalance in the hormones takes place, such as an increase in or reduction in estrogen or androgens. Hormonal imbalance usually takes place during puberty, but it can also be the result of side effects from prescription medications and even some supplements and herbal products.
Pubertal gynecomastia, prescription drugs and unknown causalities are the most common causes of gynecomastia. The most common causes of gynecomastia in adult men that seek a medical evaluation for gynecomastia include:
1. Prescription drugs cause 10 to 25% of gynecomastia
Not surprisingly, many prescription medications have been strongly linked with gynecomastia. Drugs such as Spironolactone which is a medication that doctors use to treat heart failure and high blood pressure, along with Ketoconazole, are associated with increased estrogen production and, subsequently, breast enlargement.
More often than not, if any of one or both breasts of these medications used causes gynecomastia the generally your local healthcare provider will halt ingestion. While many of these adult males won’t be able to halt prostate cancer after treatment, they can take safe steps to mitigate the chance of suffering from gynecomastia.
2. 25% of gynecomastia causes are unknown
In up to 25% of cases of gynecomastia, the cause is unidentified or “unknown.” In medical terms, this is called “idiopathic.” As men get older, their testosterone levels decrease, and the levels of estrogen increase, causing breast enlargement. These factors combined more than likely comprise most of the idiopathic cases in gynecomastia.
3. Gynecomastia occurs in 75% of those who take antiandrogens
Up to 75% of patients taking antiandrogens experience gynecomastia as a side effect. Gynecomastia happens due to a shift or an imbalance in hormones, particularly during physical development stages like ageing and puberty.
4. Klinefelter’s syndrome is linked to gynecomastia in roughly 80% of cases
Klinefelter Syndrome is a genetic health condition in which males are born with one additional X chromosome. Generally speaking, males have one X and one Y chromosome. People who suffer from Klinefelter’s syndrome may experience breast enlargement, have an increased risk of osteoporosis and even have cognitive issues such as an ability to focus and concentrate. (4) (5) (6)
Chapter 3: Gyno Cases in Boys vs Men
Gynecomastia affects both boys and men. For example, pubertal gynecomastia, as the name suggests, occurs during puberty but generally requires no surgical treatment as it naturally goes away by itself. The healthcare provider will continue to monitor young boys with gynecomastia affect boys to check for changes in breast size. thankfully, more often than not, treatment is not required.
For some boys with severe gynecomastia, it can cause embarrassment, but breast reduction drugs can be prescribed. However, many of these drugs are not FDA-approved.
The other group susceptible to gynecomastia is middle-aged and senior men. Adult men typically do not undergo surgery as many times the breast development is due to an underlying health condition. Idiopathic gynecomastia can affect men, in which case medications such as tamoxifen and raloxifene are recommended.
1. Pubertal gynecomastia persists in 20% of adults
Luckily in most cases, pubertal gynecomastia tends to go away naturally, meaning most adolescents require little to no treatment. That said, 20% of cases do persist into adulthood, which can cause not only physical symptoms but also mental health issues like depression and embarrassment.
2. 25% of pubertal gynecomastia does not resolve
Other studies show similar numbers when it comes to persistent pubertal gynecomastia, with some estimates of 25% coninttuin through to adulthood. Nolvadex and raloxifene are generally prescribed by medical professionals to help quell symptoms. These drugs do help to block estrogen excess glandular breast tissue. Unfortunately, however many of these drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration or the “FDA.”
3. 65% of males aged between 27 and 92 have experienced some type of gynecomastia
Middle-aged and senior men aged between 27 and 92, have a higher level of prevalence of gynecomastia. One study suggests that close to 65% of adult males in this age group will suffer from some type of gynecomastia at some point in their life. Interestingly, the excess consumption of alcohol and recreational drugs such as marijuana can also increase the risk of developing gynecomastia.
4. 50% of patients with continuous pubertal gynecomastia have a family history of the condition
While there are many causes of gynecomastia, interestingly, researchers have found that at least 50% of patients have a strong family history of gynecomastia. (7) (8)
Frequently Asked Questions
What percentage of men get gynecomastia?
Studies reveal that close to 70% of boys experience gynecomastia, particularly during early and mid-puberty. This is due to the changes in a hormonal imbalance during puberty. Additionally, 65% of middle-aged men are also affected by gynecomastia. (9)
What percentage of the population has gyno?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, between 50% to 65% of males globally are affected by gynecomastia. with many of them undergoing gynecomastia surgery. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons also reports that the number is close to 60%, according to numbers gathered by the National Institute of Health. (10)
Who is at the highest risk for gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia affects males across a wide range of age groups, with some statistics reporting that between 35% and 45% of males at some point in their life will suffer from gynecomastia. According to the Mayo Clinic, gynecomastia will affect 40% of males, particularly older men and boys going through puberty. (11)
Is gynecomastia common in the 20s?
As previously stated, it’s estimated that somewhere between 35% and 45% of males will suffer from gynecomastia. However, this curve tends to “flatten out” when boys hit their 20’s. That said, men in their 20’s can have Type 1, 2 and 3 gynecomastia, with Types 3 and 5 typically found in obese patients.