Sexuality and Reproductive Health

This section reviews common problems related to sexual development, menstruation, and consequences of risk behavior, including sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.

Male Sexual Development



More info: male gynecomastia

The onset of pubertal gynecomastia is during Tanner stage II-IV. Onset after puberty is complete (Tanner stage V) is always pathologic. The boy often notes breast development early in puberty and is concerned that he may be abnormal, as little information is shared about this phenomenon between males. All hormones, including FSH, LH, prolactin, testosterone, and estradiol are normal. The breast development rarely persists more than two years. 

Unfortunately, breast development may also be a sign of a pathologic process. A good history and physical examination are necessary for males with breast development, especially those with large (>4 cm diameter) or female appearing breasts. The history should include details concerning onset of puberty, drug use and systemic illness. The physical should include examination of visual fields, thyroid, breast, abdomen and the genitals. Usually no laboratory studies are necessary. However, if something of concern is found in the history or physical examination, laboratory studies may include FSH, LH, tests of thyroid and liver function, androgens, estradiol, MRI of the sella, chest x-ray for evidence of tumor, karyotype, and tumor markers such as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP). 

The differential diagnosis includes:

  • Familial macromastia (e.g., autosomal dominant where males grow female type breasts)
  • Drugs
  • Steroids- anabolic, estrogen
  • Antibiotics- isoniazid, ketoconazole
  • Illicit- marijuana, amphetamines, opiates
  • Psychotropic agents- tricyclics, phenothiazines
  • Miscellaneous- cimetidine, digoxin, phenytoin
  • Hypergonadotropic hypogonadism
  • Klinefelter's syndrome (47, XXY)
  • Reifenstein's syndrome (partial androgen insensitivity)
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Tumors
  • Testicular
  • Bronchogenic carcinoma (mainly in adults)
  • Pituitary - prolactinoma
  • Adrenal
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Renal failure
  • Liver disease
  • Recovery from malnutrition
  • Pseudogynecomastia (e.g., adipose tissue in the area of the breast)

Gynecomastia is breast development in males. It is common during the neonatal and pubertal periods and in old age. Physiologic pubertal gynecomastia occurs in 60 to 80% of normal boys, although may be subtle enough to go unnoticed. Pubertal gynecomastia may involve one or both breasts. It may affect each breast to a different degree and at different times. Tenderness is common but transitory. Male gynecomastia is usually, but not invariably, benign.

Reassurance is the recommended treatment of physiologic pubertal gynecomastia. Hormone therapy and other medications are ineffective. Surgical reduction may be indicated if the breasts are very large and causing emotional disturbance. If breast development is secondary to a pathologic entity, the underlying condition must also be addressed.

Scrotal Problems

Scrotal problems are usually divided into painless and painful.