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These Folks Don't Want Big Breasts

 
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Given the near constant hoopla about hooters in the media—these days it’s Miss California’s bust causing all the commotion—I thought it worthwhile to note that there’s a large group of people who would rather see a flat chest in the mirror.

I’m talking about men. Men with a condition called gynecomastia, quite literally, “woman-like breasts.” If you’ve ever suffered embarrassment about your breasts, whether they’re overly large or overly small, be assured that men and boys with the dreaded “man boobs” can feel just as ashamed.

According to the Mayo Clinic, gynecomastia is often cause by hormonal imbalances. It can occur at times when hormone levels are changing, such as infancy, puberty and as men approach old age. For these individuals, the condition sometimes rights itself. If not, it can often be treated with medication to re-balance hormones.

Gynecomastia can also be a symptom of diseases of the kidney, liver and thyroid. It can be a telltale side effect of steroids and the use of certain other medications. And, just as women’s breasts reflect weight gain and loss, men’s breasts do as well.

About 20,000 men seek plastic surgery to correct gynecomastia annually, according to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The procedure is ranked fourth in popularity among men, after liposuction, rhinoplasty and eyelid surgery.

Before making decisions about treatment, consulting a primary care physician is a good first step. It may be wise to take the “wait and see” approach, or to try changing medications.

For men who decide plastic surgery is right for them, one of two approaches will most often be chosen. If the underlying cause is primarily an excess of fatty tissue, liposuction may be the appropriate course of action. For men whose breast tissue is over developed, excision of the breast tissue itself can be done. Either way, incisions are generally quite small and scars are faint or nearly undetectable after healing.

When a man has undergone massive weight loss, it may be necessary to make larger incisions.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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