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Gynecomastia: Psychosocial Implications

Posted on Friday, March 1st, 2013 by Dr. Babak Dadvand

Gynecomastia is a relatively common occurrence in men. Males with gynecomastia can not only have physical symptoms, such as pain, but also psychological issues.  Most men who develop gynecomastia feel a sense of embarrassment. This is especially true in the adolescent population. A fair number of boys (40-65%) develop some form of gynecomastia during puberty.  In a majority of these boys the gynecomastia resolves.  However, the small percentage of boys whose gynecomastia does not resolve often feels embarrassed, especially in school gym class or boys locker rooms. In addition, the liberty of taking of their shirt to go swimming or go to the beach, things which most of us take for granted, is greatly restricted when having gynecomastia.

As boys transition to adulthood, a different set of issues come about; namely, developing intimate relationships.  It is not uncommon for men with gynecomastia to be embarrassed to take their shirts off in an intimate setting, something which may have a toll on a relationship. In addition to the sense of embarrassment, gynecomastia may have an impact on a male’s physical activity level. Whether it is because of pain with activity, limitations of certain activities (e.g. swimming), or concern with worsening the appearance of the gynecomastia with chest exercises, males wit gynecomastia may begin to curtail their level of physical activity.  This may have a vicious cycle effect in that decreased activity may lead to increased weight gain, increased pseudogynecomastia, and greater sense of embarrassment.

There is a solution for gynecomastia. The first issue is to try and identify the cause. If no known cause is found, or if that cause is corrected but the gynecomastia persists, then surgery may be the best option. Gynecomastia surgery has a high rate of patient satisfaction and leads to an increase not only in physical appearance but also psychosocial well-being.

To learn more about gynecomastia and to view before and after pictures visit my website at drdadvandplasticsurgery.com.

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