Sweating the Moobs: How is Hyperhidrosis Like Gynecomastia?
Strictly speaking—and medically speaking—hyperhidrosis is not like gynecomastia at all. Excessive sweating and development of female-like breast tissue in men don’t have similar triggers, don’t occur together except coincidentally and aren’t related in any other physiological ways we can think of.
But if you take a step back, there are ways in which these two conditions echo each other. New research, reported on by the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHS), highlights a few.
Prevalence is Significant
Citing news to be published in the Archives of Dermatological Research next month, it is now thought that the rate of occurrence of hyperhidrosis among U.S. residents is nearly 5%, or more than 15 million people. This figure updates the previously accepted number of 2.8%.
As understanding and discussion of gynecomastia have spread in recent times, we’ve come to recognize the prevalence of the condition. Now knowing how readily hormonal swings can cause breast tissue growth, it’s generally accepted that many males will experience gynecomastia at some point in their lives and up to about a third of adult men have some degree of persistent breast growth.
Basic Knowledge is Still Lacking
It’s not unusual at all for those with gynecomastia or hyperhidrosis to refrain from discussing it with their primary care physician—often due to embarrassment. The IHS notes an additional factor for their community: sometimes those with excessive sweating don’t realize there are treatment options available.
When patients do bring up a concern about either condition, it’s sometimes true that their generalist isn’t particularly well informed. In the best-case scenario, a primary care physician will refer patients to a specialist—dermatologists for hyperhidrosis and endocrinologists for gynecomastia can be good places to start. To move right on to treatment, a board certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience with these conditions is a good choice.
High Impact on Patients
The psychological impact of gynecomastia on teen and adult males is well documented. It’s no exaggeration to say that the condition is life altering—read one of our gynecomastia patient stories to learn about this. The IHS recently discovered that hyperhidrosis patients also suffer to a much greater extent than realized—75% say that excessive sweating negatively impacts their social life. Like those with man boobs, many say that they sacrifice important things in their lives because of their condition.
Options for Those Who Suffer
Unlike other potentially embarrassing gifts from Mother Nature, such as short stature or huge feet, there are treatment options available for both gynecomastia and hyperhidrosis. For guys with man boobs, the solution is male breast reduction surgery. No matter what contributed to breast tissue growth, gynecomastia surgery is the answer.
There’s more than one option for treating excessive sweating, and most experts advocate starting with the simplest and moving to more aggressive treatment as needed. Information about all the choices is available here.
We’ve developed a surgical option for our patients in New York with hyperhidrosis stemming from the armpits: we call it “sweat lipo.” We use specialized, sharp instruments of our own design to gently scrape and suction away most of the sweat producing glands, delivering a significant reduction in sweating in a relatively simple, 45-minute outpatient procedure. “Sweat lipo” can make a world of difference for the right candidates.
Community at Your Fingertips
If you suffer from gynecomastia or hyperhidrosis, one of the most valuable assets you have is a community of other patients, family and friends, doctors and researchers to lean on. For men with moobs, gynecomastia.org is a site that offers a variety of information as well as forums on gynecomastia and related topics. For men (and women too—they suffer in similar numbers), the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s website offers a good mix of basic information, research, stories and practical tools and products.
We have been treating hyperhidrosis in New York for decades and have great empathy for people who deal with this challenge. We’re known for serving the needs of male patients—we feel part of your community too and we’re here to help. If you want to explore a possible relationship with us, just send a message and tell us about yourself. We encourage you to reach out.