Gynecomastia More Than Just a Physical Condition, Especially for Teens

The teen years can be a difficult time. And for boys, it can be even more challenging if they are suffering from a medical condition known as gynecomastia, or enlargement of the male breast tissue. Up to 69% of adolescent boys will be affected by this condition at some point in their lives, and it can persist into adulthood.

A recent study compared a group of boys who had gynecomastia with a group of boys in the same age range who didn’t. As many might have predicted, the study showed that boys who suffered from gynecomastia had lower self-esteem along with lower measures of mental health and social functioning than those boys in the “healthy” group. Those who had gynecomastia were also found to have a higher rate of developing behavior problems than those who did not suffer from the condition

Further, the overall physical health of the boys with the condition was worse than those who did not suffer from it. This was primarily due to the fact that those with the condition had a higher rate of obesity than those who did not. Interestingly enough, the severity of the patient’s body mass index (BMI) did not have any effect on the severity of psychological impact. Just having the disorder was enough to cause emotional problems. Considering the psychological impact of this disorder, surgical treatment of gynecomastia can be viewed as more than just a cosmetic treatment as it can treat the patient’s mental health as well.

Unfortunately, despite the psychological effects of gynecomastia, and the lower quality of life that teens with this condition may experience, many insurance companies do not cover the procedure. It is my hope that insurance companies begin to recognize the adverse psychological effects of this condition. Surgery will not only correct the physical abnormality, it can also correct the associated psychological effects.

In our practice, we’ve treated many teens with gynecomastia. As long as they have gone through puberty, and are in good overall health, they would most likely be a candidate for the procedure. And in most individuals with this problem, the surgery can be performed through two tiny incisions. If you’d like to learn more, please contact our office.