Caregiver's Home Companion Free captioning phone for those with hearing loss.
Read Fred's Previous Articles

April 6, 2012
Question for Aging Men: Will Testosterone Spark Virility?

March 30, 2012
Is Dad Still Road-Worthy – Or Is It Time to Take the Keys?

March 23, 2012
Coping and Recovering from Knee Replacement

March 16, 2012
Lactose Intolerance May Not Spell Osteoporosis

Take Our PollThe Caregiver's Marketplace

Shop Now in the
Caregiver's e-Mall

Our Caregiver's e-Mall is filling up with great stores and a growing number of items just in time for the holidays. Whether you browse and find a book or tape to help you with caregiving, or come across a wonderful gift for a friend or family member, the e-Mall can be your source for easy shopping and gift-giving.

So, click on the dark blue Caregiver's e-Mall buttons throughout our site and enter a comfortable, secure shopping experience with major merchants while avoiding the hassle of having to find a parking place or matching your shopping hours with someone else's. Our mall is just a click away and is open 24 hours every day.

Watch for additional stores opening in the e-Mall soon!

Posted: June 03, 2011

Keeping Seniors Healthy

Large Breasts Common in 30% of Older Men

Q. My breasts have become large and I’m embarrassed. What can I do?

A. This question came from a man in his sixties. Breast enlargement in males is common. So is the embarrassment. About 30% of older men have this condition, which can be caused by hormonal changes or simple weight gain. It can occur in one or both breasts.

When the usual balance of the female hormone estrogen and the male hormone testosterone in a man shifts, he can get “gynecomastia,” which is derived from two Greek words that mean “woman” and “breast.”

Estrogen controls female traits including the growth of breasts. Testosterone dictates male traits such as muscle mass and body hair.

Males normally produce small quantities of estrogen to regulate bone density, sperm production and mood. Natural hormonal changes that lead to gynecomastia occur not only in old age but also during infancy and adolescence.

Gynecomastia can be caused by a health problem such as liver, kidney or thyroid diseases. And, this condition can also result from drinking alcohol or taking drugs such as steroids, marijuana, amphetamines and heroin.

There are medications that can cause gynecomastia, too. These include: anti-androgens such as finasteride that are used to treat prostate cancer; AIDS medications such as efavirenz or didanosine; anti-anxiety medications such as Valium; tricyclic antidepressants; antibiotics; ulcer medications such as cimetidine; chemotherapy drugs,and heart medications such as digitalis and calcium channel-blockers.

Some additional symptoms of gynecomastia include tenderness, swelling and nipple discharge.

If you have enlarged breasts, see your doctor for a check-up. Enlarged breasts can be a symptom of breast cancer or a testicular tumor.

There is a condition called “pseudogynecomastia.” This occurs when a male just has a lot of chest fat that enlarges his breasts. You can tell the difference between false gynecomastia and the real thing by examining the breasts.

In the examination, a healthcare professional spreads a thumb and forefinger and places them -- opposing each other -- on the circumference of the breast. The fingers are then squeezed gently toward the nipple. Gynecomastia is diagnosed if there is enlarged glandular tissue that feels like a rubbery disk. Often, this tissue can be moved around.

Gynecomastia usually will go away without treatment. This condition is often treated with drugs. Sometimes, enlarged breasts are reduced surgically.

Medications used to treat breast cancer and other conditions may be helpful for some men with gynecomastia. These drugs include anti-estrogen medications such as raloxifene and tamoxifen.

Two types of surgery are used to treat gynecomastia: liposuction and mastectomy. Liposuction removes breast fat, but not the breast gland tissue. Mastectomy removes the breast gland tissue.

Fred Cicetti is a freelance writer who specializes in health. He has been writing professionally since 1963. Before he began freelancing, he was a reporter and columnist for three daily newspapers in New Jersey. He has written two published novels: Saltwater Taffy, and Local Angles. You can send your health-related questions to Fred at

© 2011 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.
Search CaregiversHome
Find with keyword(s):

Enter a keyword or phrase to search CaregiversHome's archives for related news topics, the latest news stories, timely times, and reference articles.

Email or share this story Bookmark and Share

Back to Top

Discount Prescription Card

Free Survival Guide

Privacy Statement Contact Us Site Map Products & Services Our Partners Advertise
© Copyright 2003-2019. Pederson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.