It is the reality for one in three men who are affected with enlarged male breasts or gynecomastia. It often causes low self-esteem, embarassement and in some cases severe depression and psychological trauma. For decades, men suffered in silence, but not any longer. Dr. Bruce Van Natta discusses breakthrough treatments that help to restore confidence, giving men and adolescent boys amazing results and new feelings of masculinity.
by Bruce Van Natta, MD
I’m Not Alone
Let’s face it. Men don’t want to feel like they have enlarged breasts. It’s a common condition, but one that is just now starting to be talked about and treated. In the past, men and adolescent boys would often hide and suffer with the condition called gynecomastia. Those who dared to show their bigger man boobs were often ridiculed or shamed. But these days, it’s different. Men are seeking help and being treated. They are feeling better about how they look when they take their shirts off. It seems to be a whole new attitude, according to some experts.
“I had gynecomastia as a young man and was very self-conscious about it,” says Dr. Bruce Van Natta. The plastic surgeon now treats patients suffering from gynecomastia. He knows the sting of shame that sufferers may feel. “I didn’t want to play shirts and skins in basketball because I was afraid that I could be a skin and may have to take my shirt off.” Dr. Van Natta says he eventually fixed his enlarged breasts through cosmetic surgery.
“It’s the best thing I ever did. It really changed my life.”
Causes of Male Breasts
Puberty is one of the key causes of enlarged male breasts. Some young boys will see changes in their bodies as they move through the adolescent years. Hormone levels fluctuate. Issues with enlarged breasts during puberty may resolve in time. Sometimes children can be afflicted on just one side of the chest. “Some of these kids will come in and they have no body fat, but they have a breast on one side,” says Dr. Van Natta. He says this indicates there is still research to be done and what is causing enlarged breast tissue.
But, many times excess weight is to blame for the the sharp uptick in the number of gynecomastia cases.
“In our ever-increasing world of obestity, there is a lot of psuedo-gynecomastia developing. We just have a lot of breasts that are fatty,” says Dr. Van Natta.” Experts say the condition can peak between the ages of 50-80 in men. Authorities say many times medications for anti-anxiety, antidepressants, cancer treatment, ulcers and HIV can cause enlargement, along with anabolic steroids and androgens.
Treatment: “One and Done”
More and more men are opting to seek treatment for enlarged breasts, that’s the good news. No more sitting on the sidelines and suffering quietly. For younger boys, often experts will recommend a cautious approach. Often the situation will resolve itself with a “wait and see” attitude. The first step is often discontinuing any medications that might be causing the gynecomastia.
There are surgical options like mammoplasty. Breast reduction surgery is often used and is an effective way to treat enlarged male breasts, according to experts. Dr. Van Natta uses a contour and shape approach, applying liposuction to the affected breasts, followed by a mini-mastectomy to remove any problem glands.
“The payoff is just great for the guy not to be self-conscious about having that breast tissue. It really is no big deal,” says Dr. Van Natta. (He speaks from experience having undergone the procedure). There may be some numbness and swelling, but overall the recovery should be steady. Dr. Van Natta says there should be no reason for a repeat procedure.
“I have only had to repeat this is a couple of times in all my years and thousands of procedures. “It should be one and done.”