BPH Medication and Gynecomastia

BPH Medication and Gynecomastia 645d5027c5da1.png

BPH Medication and Gynecomastia

Medication used to treat the symptoms of an enlarged prostate can result in an increase in male breast tissue, known as gynecomastia.

In fact, some experts estimate that gynecomastia will affect at least 30% of males during their lifetime. While studies estimate that gynecomastia is present in 33–41% of normal men aged 25–45 years and in 55–60% of men over the age of 50 years.

Most experts agree that gynecomastia is caused by an imbalance between estrogen and androgen action.

An androgen is a male sex hormone, that is defined as a substance capable of developing and maintaining masculine characteristics in reproductive tissues (notably the genital tract, secondary sexual characteristics, and fertility) and contributes to the anabolic status of somatic tissues.

When this hormone is out of balance, due to increased estrogen-to-androgen ratio from increased estrogen production- or decreased androgen production- or both- the result can be many unwanted symptoms and side effects, one of which is the development of male breast tissue.

One type of medication that is used to treat BPH symptoms, and that can cause an imbalance and result in gynecomastia, is 5-Alpha-Reductase Inhibitors.

These medications such as dutasteride (Avodart) and finasteride (Proscar), act as an inhibitor of 5-alpha reductase, which is a hormone that aids in the formation of dihydrotestosterone, also known as DHT.

DHT is an androgen that is formed from testosterone, which can be inhibited by administering a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, thereby resulting in a potential decrease in prostate volume, which can allow for a reduction in BPH symptoms such as urinary issues.

While 5-alpha reductase inhibitors can result in a decrease in prostate volume, the medication-induced hormone imbalance that they cause can also result in gynecomastia, as well as problems with sexual function.

In fact, research that was published in Sexual Medicine Reviews has shown that 5-alphas are not only associated with gynecomastia, but also with increased rates of decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, ejaculation dysfunction, depression, and anxiety.

5-Alpha reductase inhibitors are also widely used to treat male pattern baldness. Amongst those being treated for this, some estimate that 4 to 10 out of every 1,000 users of these medications will experience gynecomastia, amongst other symptoms.

In fact, according to research published in the International Journal of Trichology, this finasteride-induced gynecomastia can start as early as 1-2 weeks after starting finasteride but is typically a few months delay.

In our next article, we will take a further look at the connection between 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and gynecomastia, as well as explore solutions to treating this side effect or avoiding it all together.


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