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Blog. Avoiding Finasteride-Triggered Man Boobs

It’s a cruel choice, isn’t it? Gradually lose your hair or risk a case of man boobs.

It’s a known fact: Finasteride (marketed as Propecia or Proscar), an often-effective treatment for balding, can cause man boobs. Guys often ask us about this, wanting to know more about the risk.

We advise them that the risk of developing gynecomastia with Finasteride appears to be fairly low, perhaps around 5%. We also note that though the growth is sometimes referred to as “swelling,” perhaps to make it sound like a temporary thing. It isn’t. When Propecia causes breast growth, the tissue will remain even if the drug is discontinued.

The Big Question

The 64-million-dollar question is—who’s most at risk? That’s one we can’t answer, especially if a man is only considering the medication and hasn’t started it. We do have some guesses for our South Florida patients who have taken Propecia or Proscar and developed moobs. If they developed gynecomastia before taking the drug and the condition did not get worse, it may be safe to get surgery without risking re-growth. If they developed man boobs after taking Finasteride, we feel it may not be safe to continue after having surgery.

These are only guesses based on what we’ve seen in our patient base. Read more about the risk of man boobs with Finasteride here.

Finasteride Alternatives

If you’re starting to lose your hair and you would rather avoid the Propecia-man boobs risk, here are some things you can try first.

Basic steps

According to GQ magazine, there are several very basic steps you can take that may help some. One suggestion is to make sure you’re keeping your scalp clean, while not shampooing too often. GQ says twice a week should be enough, which may surprise you if you’re one of the guys who washes his hair in the shower daily without even thinking about it.

Other measures include eating a healthy diet and taking not just vitamins, but specific supplements designed to aid with hair loss. Read more from the article here.


For a guy with thinning hair (not a receding scalp line), and women too, Minoxidil (marketed as Rogaine©) can help regrow hair. It does take time to see results, and hair loss will resume if treatment stops. For an unbiased look at Minoxidil, see the Mayo Clinic’s information page here.

Embrace it

As if it hasn’t occurred to you before, we’ll go ahead and make the point: if you’re truly going bald, we suggest you might consider embracing it and shaving your head. It might make sense for you, especially if you’re not a fan of being on a prescription drug for the rest of your life or you’re worried about growing man boobs. Guys with shaved heads are not a rare sight, and there’s even some evidence that men who are completely bald are seen to have advantages (especially compared to men with thinning hair, but even against men with no apparent hair loss). Psychology Today has an article about this you may find interesting.

It’s Your Call

Naturally, men would rather keep a full head of hair their whole lives. But odds are, you won’t. Only you can make the right call for your well-being, and if you decide to take Finasteride, we’ll cheer you on. After all, the drug delivers improvement for most men and the risk of gynecomastia is fairly low.

You might want to think ahead, though, to what happens should you grow breast tissue. If you do, know that the condition will not reverse itself if you stop the medication. We’ll be here for you if you decide to have surgery for man boobs. But you could be risking re-growth of your moobs if you continue Finasteride after male breast reduction.

A difficult choice, to be sure. We are not experts on hair loss, but when it comes to gynecomastia, we know our stuff. We have met thousands of patients with man boobs in our consulting room over three decades of performing cosmetic surgery for men. If you’d like to talk with us, give us a call at 561-367-9101.


Dr. Elliot William Jacobs is a board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeon who specializes in FTM top surgery, gynecomastia surgery, revision gynecomastia surgery and male breast reduction. He is a native of New York and has over 40 years of experience in his field. Dr. Jacobs is a highly respected and sought-after surgeon who is known for his skill, experience, and compassion. Whether you are interested in gynecomastia for the first time, or are looking to correct a gynecomastia you aren’t happy with, Dr. Jacobs can deliver amazing results.


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