Darlene’s friend’s boyfriend has a strange issue. He’s lactating, which means his breasts are producing milk, and hasn’t seen a doctor about it. She’s worried about him, wonders what could be causing this and what can be done to stop it.
Darlene, this is not a normal problem, but I’ll tell you why it’s happening. Your friend’s boyfriend may have something called a prolactin-secreting tumor. About 5 – 10% of men have this kind of tumor and don’t even know it!
Prolactin is the hormone that stimulates breast tissue to produce milk. Women produce high levels of prolactin when they lactate following childbirth. But, for obvious reasons, this shouldn’t happen in a man, so your friend’s boyfriend should see a doctor right away.
This could be serious because having a prolactin-secreting tumor can be an indicator of other more serious underlying conditions, such as testicular cancer.
Now, it’s possible that he may also have a condition called gynecomastia. Basically this means a guy has enlarged breast. This is relatively common in people who are overweight, though gynecomastia is not usually accompanied by lactation. The causes of gynecomastia are a little mysterious, but it’s generally thought to be caused by an imbalance of sex hormones — too much estrogen or not enough testosterone, or both. It may also be caused by changes in the breast tissue that makes the tissue more sensitive to the action of even the low level of estrogen normally found in men.
Without seeing his doctor, it’s really not possible to tell where exactly his gynecomastia is coming from or why he’s lactating. So, the best thing for him to do right now is to go see a doctor and get his testosterone and prolactin levels tested. Only a medical professional will be able to tell if this is something serious, or if he only needs to lose some weight.
Listen to the audio: