An imbalance in the hormones is attributed to the development of gynecomastia, or the abnormal growth of breast tissues among men and boys. Several factors can cause this imbalance, such puberty and aging, but a small percentage of men develop the condition because of use of drugs or medications. These may either be prescribed by the doctor for treating serious medical conditions, or as mood stabilizers; or these may also be illegal drugs.
Listed below are the types of drugs or medications that may trigger the development of gynecomastia:
A.) Anabolic-androgenic Steroids
Used by bodybuilders and athletes for muscle building, or performance enhancement during competitions, anabolic steroids produce an excessive level of testosterone, which converts to estrogen hormones that then induces growth of the breast tissue. This occurrence is widely known as the purest form of gynecomastia, whereby surgery is recommended to remove it, if reducing or totally doing away with intake bears no effects. Examples of anabolic steroids include dromostanolone, fluoxymesterone, methyltestosterone and oxandrolone. Different sports commissions have banned some of these drugs.
B.) Antiandrogen Medication
Certain medications used or treating prostrate cancer, which contains antiandrogen, work to block testosterone and other sex hormones associated with the male body chemistry to prevent the development of cancer cells. But in taking this medication, the antiandrogen also induces the rise of estrogen, otherwise known as the female hormone, which can lead to gynecomastia. Examples of antiandrogen medications incude flutamide, finastride, spironolactone and cyprotone.
C.) Mood Stabilizers
Mood stabilizers, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, are prescribed to patients so that they are able to cope with certain psychological disorders and continue to function normally in society. In men, one of the side effects of taking this medication is breast enlargement, as mood stabilizers tend to tip the balance of the hormones produced by the body, or increase the development of breast tissues. Examples of mood stabilizers include Valium or diazepan, phenothiazines, phenytoin and haloperidol.
D.) AIDS Treatment
Men who are undergoing treatment for AIDS are at risk of developing gynecomastia, as this requires a rigid system called the HAART, a kind of antiretroviral therapy that makes use of medicines with strong chemical content. The chemicals can bring about endocrine and metabolic changes, as well as disrupt the body’s sex hormones, which develops in gynecomastia.
E.) Street or Illegal Drugs
Use of illegal drugs like marijuana has been linked to gynecomastia, presumably because it contains elements that work as an estrogen receptor, which may bring about development of female-related tissues. A controlled study has been done in the early 70′s to study marijuana and its effects on the body. But some of the conclusions in relation to gynecomastia have yet to be supported with stronger facts. At any rate, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has also listed all of the possible side effects of illegal drugs, which includes gynecomastia.
Additionally, certain medications for the heart, ulcer and cancer (chemotherapy) have been linked to gynecomastia development.
It would be prudent to completely stop taking drugs that bring no health benefit to the body, as in the case of illegal drugs.
It would be unwise, however, to stop taking prescription medication without consulting the doctor first, especially if it’s something that is needed to treat grave conditions. If this is the case, ask your doctors for alternatives, as there are other medicines that deliver the same results without side effects that may lead to breast enlargement.