From adolescence to adulthood, men suffering from gynecomastia often think that the condition is rare, or perhaps, that they are among the unlucky few. However, some degree of gynecomastia presents in more than half the male population at one point or another during an individual’s lifespan. What’s more, is the condition even affects as many as 70 percents of boys during puberty (when certain hormonal changes occur). To give a frame of reference, there are millions of men in the U.S. who are affected by gynecomastia.
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is defined as an excess of the male glandular breast tissue. The word is itself, gyneco meaning “woman-like” and mastia meaning “breast” is literally where the term comes from. To the layman, the condition is commonly referred to as “man boobs.” Gynecomastia itself though is caused by high levels of estrogen in a man which are disproportionate to the amount of testosterone in their body, resulting in the swelling or enlargement of tissue in the breast. Its development most often starts as a small lump under one or both of a man’s nipples which, in some cases, will feel tender to the touch.
Though gynecomastia can often be detrimental to a man’s self-esteem and confidence, the condition can be corrected via medication or surgery, the latter of which is best carried out by a doctor specializing in matters of the male body. Gynecomastia has no effect on a man’s overall health, but it can certainly occur at any age. Because the term itself is relatively new in our species’ medical history, there is also a lot of misinformation and myth surrounding gynecomastia. Here are 5 unknown facts:
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Unknown Facts About Gynecomastia
- Exercise and dieting will not correct or reduce swelling of the breast. Contrary to popular belief and the ever-present forms of “bro-science” circulating on forums, gynecomastia cannot be reversed by simply working out or losing weight. Another less commonly used term, pseudo-gynecomastia, is often used to describe excess fat that builds up in the male breast, may be affected by exercise but is a separate condition entirely. Gynecomastia has nothing to do with weight gain or obesity.
- Gynecomastia affects nearly 65 percent of adult men. Those who suffer from breast tissue enlargement often believe they’re alone in their plight. But the truth is, gynecomastia (to some degree) affects more than half of the adult male population.
- Surgery for gynecomastia is the fourth most common plastic surgery for men. In fact, the number of individuals who received surgical treatment for the condition has increase roughly 29 percent since 2000, and over 26,000 procedures were performed in just 2014 alone.
- Some recreational drugs can be contributors to gynecomastia. From common vices such as alcohol and marijuana to harder, addictive substances such as heroin and methamphetamine, drugs can make a big impact on the development of gynecomastia.
- The condition often occurs during puberty. Contrary to many opinions that gynecomastia evolves simply from a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, in many cases, the hormonal changes boys experience during adolescence is the most common culprit to what causes it. What’s more, is the condition can continue into adulthood.
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