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Boys' breasts

puberty; breasts; hormones; boys; changes; gynecomastia; nipples; men;


Do boys have breasts?

boys' breastsMany baby boys have some little swellings under their nipples when they are born, and many baby girls do too. This breast tissue is caused by hormones from their mother and it goes away after a few weeks.

Older boys can develop breast tissue as can some older men. Doctors call breast tissue growing on a male 'gynecomastia' (say guy-nee-co-mass-ti-a) and they know that boys can be a bit scared if this is happening to them.

Being overweight can make it seem like boys, or men, have breasts.

Boys, puberty and breasts

When puberty starts, lots of hormones begin working, often boys will develop some breast tissue. They get a slight swelling under one or both of the nipples and it can sometimes feel tender or sore.

  • boys' breastsThe breast doesn't grow bigger, but the swelling may hang around for a few years while the boy is going through puberty.
  • Boys may feel very sure that everyone can notice they have 'breasts' but in fact most other people don't notice at all.
  • 65% of boys will have some breast tissue at some time, so if you think you are growing breasts, you are not alone.
  • This breast tissue doesn't stay there and the swelling will all be gone by the age of 20, unless you are overweight.

What you could do

  • Ignore it - mostly other people can't see it, or they will not notice it.
  • Don't wear tight clothes if you are worried that others will notice and tease you.
  • If you feel embarrassed you can always wear a bigger jumper.
  • Wear a swim top or t-shirt when you are swimming (this will help protect you from sunburn too, always a good idea!).
  • Relax - you are not the only one.
  • If you are really worried then ask dad, mum or your carer, to take you for a talk with the doctor - just to put your mind at rest.

Our topic 'Secret boys business' has other information about being a boy that may be helpful to you.

Dr Kim says:

Dr Kim"Of all the changes happening to your body during puberty this is the one that most boys don't know about. Yet more than half of boys will have some development of breast tissue. If you are one of these then don't worry.

With all those hormones racing around inside you it is normal for your nipple to feel tender. It is also normal for the breast tissue to feel like a lump. It is very rare for the lump to be anything bad like cancer.

Talk to dad or a trusted male friend or talk to your doctor. It doesn't mean that you are turning into a girl, it's just those hormones doing their own thing."

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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