Adolescence and puberty can be a very difficult time for both young women and young men. It seems that every day, something else is changing or developing, and it can be difficult to deal with these changes. Many young men and women are confused about what is supposed to happen and what is not supposed to happen as the body changes and the hormones cause various new skin and body conditions to occur. If young men start to develop breasts, however, it can be especially difficult. This rare condition is called gynecomastia, and though it usually goes away, it can become permanent in some cases.
Until children hit puberty, boys and girls have generally similar anatomy and chemistry. During puberty, however, two new hormones are released into the system. Both boys and girls produce both testosterone and estrogen, though in different levels. Males typically produce more testosterone, which is what causes them to develop muscles, to grow taller, and develop thick facial and body hair.
Young females, on the other hand, produce more estrogen, which causes them to develop breasts and gain weight around their hips. Both of these hormones are essential for puberty, but when a young man has too much estrogen in his system, it may result in the development of female characteristics, like extra breast tissue. This may occur on just one side or on both sides, and may go away after a few months.
Many doctors attribute this condition to being a little overweight, which is common during the teenage years, but some young men experience much more breast tissue growth than would be expected, even considering their weight range.
In cases where it does not go away on its own, it may simply be due to a permanent hormonal imbalance or as a side effect of some behavior-altering drugs.
Reasons for Treatment
Adolescence is a delicate time for young men. It is already strange to have all of the normal changes to occur during this time, but it can be detrimental for the developing psyche to grow and have to live with gynecomastia. Though there is rarely any health problems associated with the excess of breast tissue, the psychological factors may be very dangerous.
Aside from any bullying that may occur because of gynecomastia, it may also be necessary to treat this condition if, for example, the man does not like the way his body looks with the excess breast tissue, especially if exercise and lifting weights does nothing to reduce the amount of tissue.
Many plastic surgeons will perform a breast reduction surgery for a teen male, whether or not he is overweight. Unlike a breast reduction surgery for a woman, the doctor will usually perform a simple liposuction procedure and then tuck away the excess skin. This is a relatively non-invasive and safe surgery, and can be performed once the male has finished developing.
To schedule a male breast reduction consultation and learn more about gynecomastia, contact Dr. John Griffin.