Gynecomastia is a common endocrine system disorder which involves an increase in the size of breast tissue in males. In fact, up to 60% of men have gynecomastia. The cause of gynecomastia is uncertain, but it is thought to be caused by an increase in the ratio of estrogens to androgens due to disruptions in the endocrine system.

 

Does Alcohol Lead To Gynecomastia?

 

With alcohol being a very social aspect of our lives, some people may find themselves wondering if alcohol consumption leads to gynecomastia. The answer is that, while a lot of different things contribute to gynecomastia, alcohol is one such risk factor, especially among heavy drinkers.

 

What Causes Gynecomastia?

 

  • Certain Health Problems. This includes liver disease, kidney failure and low levels of testosterone.

  • Medications. This includes methadone, HIV medication, heartburn and ulcer medications, antifungal medications, certain antibiotics, anti-anxiety medication such as Valium, some antidepressants as well as tea tree oil. About 10-25% of cases are the result of medications. This type is known as ‘non-physiologic gynecomastia.’

  • Drugs. This includes alcohol, marijuana and steroids. The latter two are leading causes of gynecomastia for young men in particular.

  • Lack of Proper Nutrition. Improper nutrition causes testosterone to drop, while estrogen continues to be produced, therein causing an imbalance.

  • Aging. The natural decline in testosterone and an increase in fatty tissue as men age can can lead to ‘senile gynecomastia’ as the fatty tissue converts testosterone into estrogen.

 

How Does Alcohol Consumption lead to Gynecomastia?

 

Alcohol consumption can lead to gynecomastia, especially if consumed in excessive quantities. There are several possible reasons for this.

 

  • Ethanol, which is the intoxicating component found in beer, wine and liquor, may disrupt the synthesis of testosterone, while phytoestrogens in alcohol may also cause a higher estrogen to testosterone ratio. Hops in beer especially turns into estrogen in the body.

  • Alcohol leads to an increase in calories, which can add additional fatty tissue to a man’s chest.

  • Certain chronic diseases due to high alcohol intake can cause gynecomastia, including alcoholic liver disease and even cirrhosis of the liver. The latter is due to the fact that the liver cannot properly metabolize certain hormones, including estrogen.

 

Precautions:

 

  • Consume alcohol within the recommended safe limits. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism generally considers low-risk drinking for men to be no more than 4 drinks per day and no more than 14 drinks per week.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight.

 

If you are struggling with gynecomastia, you might want to consider a male breast reduction. To learn more, contact Dr. Kesarwani today.