Gynecomastia occurs when testosterone decreases and estrogen increases. These two hormones are responsible for the development and maintenance of sex characteristics in men and women. Testosterone is responsible for the "male" traits of body hair and muscle mass while estrogen is responsible for "female" traits, such as breast growth. Though many people think that men do not have estrogen, they do produce small quantities naturally. More than half of male infants who develop gynecomastia do so because of their mothers' estrogen. Swollen breast tissue typically goes away within two to three weeks. Gynecomastia is also common when boys go through puberty. Swollen tissue typically resolves on its own within six months to two years. One in four men develops gynecomastia between the ages of 50 and 69.
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