We usually think of body image issues as being the province of women. But men with gynecomastia, a condition that causes male breasts to swell, have a difficult time with self-consciousness and teasing (yes, adults can be as bad, or worse, than kids). ABC News reports that gynecomastia is different than having a bigger chest due to excess weight, that it’s caused when the body produces the kind of breast cells that women have and causes a male breast to take on a shape similar to a woman’s.
Breast enlargement can happen to boys during adolescence, mostly due to a sudden surge of testosterone which is converted to estrogen “during the pubertal growth spurt,” said Dr. Pisit Pitukcheewanont, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Certain drugs, like marijuana and steroids, or medications such as Propecia can cause it as well. If the condition is caused by an illness or drug, treating the illness or stopping the drug will stop progression and surgery can reduce breast tissue.
Eric Holler, who had surgery for gynecomastia, told ABC he thought about his condition 30 or 40 times a day. His surgeon said Holler was a “B or C-cup,” before the procedure, a less-invasive one involving liposuction and a laser during which Eric was awake. The results (the link shows a video) are pretty impressive.
Score one for the internets, which one doctor in the report credited with helping men understand that gynecomastia is a medical condition that can be treated.