Teen Gynecomastia: Triple the Torture
It often strikes us that, while a case of gynecomastia can be tough to bear for any guy, teens seem to suffer more than most people. If you visit gynecomastia.org, or simply search the Internet to find out about man boobs that pop up during puberty, you will read many stories of embarrassment and even shame.
Teen gynecomastia patients in New York tell us tales of woe so often, we’ve learned that there are a variety of reasons their suffering is so intense. Here are three leading themes we hear from young men:
1) It’s a Tricky Time of Life
It’s probably safe to say that every human being faces at least some challenges during puberty. Most of us can easily recall difficulties in coping with physical and psychological changes during adolescence, plus the heightened self-consciousness that comes with the journey from childhood to adulthood.
Imagine going through all this and sprouting a pair of man boobs at the same time. Adolescence is a time when people scrutinize their looks and the appearance of others. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when young people can be very cruel—shunning, taunting and bullying people who look a little different. We can think of few other conditions that have the potential to cause so much pain for a teen than gynecomastia.
2) It Can Mean a Waiting Game
When moobs start to appear for a young man, whether it’s at nine years old or nineteen, the waiting game begins. Teens will naturally turn to the Internet for information, and they’ll soon find out that many (but not all) cases of gynecomastia disappear on their own as hormones settle. Sadly, this can take a few months to a couple of years. Most youngsters will try to disguise their man boobs with different clothing, or even extra weight, and many will avoid activities like swimming and working out.
Some guys can become quite withdrawn—feeling bad about themselves at this critical time when building self-esteem is so important. And gynecomastia can be very hard to talk about with parents and friends, so it’s not unusual for a youngster to become isolated when he needs the support of others most.
3) Doctors Sometimes Aren’t Helpful
Whether it’s due to inexperience with gynecomastia or an ultra conservative point of view, some doctors will advise their young patients to wait several years for the condition to resolve itself. One member of gynecomastia.org recently posted that his doctor wanted him to wait until he was 20 to worry about man boobs, in spite of the fact that the patient had suffered with them for years already.
We have found that if a teen’s gynecomastia has been stable for two years, it’s not going to go away on it’s own. Suggesting a patient wait even longer before considering male breast reduction surgery only results in more—and unnecessary—anxiety and embarrassment.
Gynecomastia surgery is not for everyone. But teens and their parents should know that when considering the factors that make someone a good candidate for the procedure, age is not high on the list. An adolescent with persistent man boobs who is in good health and has a positive outlook on life can sail through male breast reduction in summer, or even during an extended vacation, and return to school with a new physique and new self-confidence. Many will stand taller and straighter, pursue new activities and develop additional activities and friends.
What’s more, in our many years of working with New York teen gynecomastia patients, we have not had one case in which man boobs recurred. We have treated boys as young as 12.
There are few things more gratifying to our plastic surgery team than giving a teen his life back through male breast reduction. But our feelings are nothing compared with the joy on the faces of our patients and their families when they return for post-op appointments.
If you are an adolescent trying to bear a case of moobs, or if you’re a parent with a young man who is suffering, why not contact us? We will be glad to give you our input.