Gynecomastia affects more than 60% of men at some point in their life. If your husband, partner, son, brother or friend is suffering from gynecomastia, we are here to help. There is a new forum “Gynecomastia Acceptance” for friends and family members, to help them understand what it is like to live with gynecomastia and how they can provide support but also a place where they can ask questions with others in the same situation. There is no cost to participate in any of the forums.
How to Approach This Topic?
It is difficult to talk about gynecomastia with someone who is suffering and probably trying to hide their male breasts. He probably is embarrassed and even feels shame. You need to handle discussions delicately and perhaps let him know you discovered this website that offers tons of information, support, and a “safe place” to ask questions of gynecomastia surgeons and other forum members with the same issues.
"The Talk" - Key Messages to Deliver
If you can sit down and have a discussion with your loved one, some points you might want to mention are:
- It's a common condition
- In most adult cases, it is unlikely to go away by itself
- It needs to be diagnosed by a gynecomastia specialist in a private consultation. If the male breasts are mostly made up of fat, it is referred to as “pseudogynecomastia.” There are a few ways to reduce the appearance of pseudogynecomastia, including non-surgical options such as diet and exercise. If the chest contains hard breast tissue, gynecomastia surgery is needed to restore a masculine look.
- There are compression garments that can lessen the appearance of gynecomastia as a temporary solution.
- Stress that he is not alone, that he has support from you, his family, and his friends. Suggest that he joins our online forums which allow him to anonymously post questions, photos, get advice from other members of the community, and ask questions of member gynecomastia surgeons.
Does Your Son Suffer from Gynecomastia?
About 60% of teenage boys develop gynecomastia as they go through puberty. However, for about 95% of boys, the gynecomastia will resolve on its own. If his male breasts remain after 2 years, it most likely is permanent and only can be corrected by surgery. The teenage years are a very sensitive time for young men, and if it appears his gynecomastia is permanent, surgery should be considered. Young men do very well with surgery as their skin is very elastic and tends to snap back. In this same section of “Living with Gynecomastia,” there is a section on patients’ stories, click here to read what a mother tells about her experience with her son's gynecomastia.
Young men can be especially sensitive to discussing their gynecomastia with their parents, perhaps you could direct him to this website where he can find support with his peers and ask questions directly to Board Certified Plastic Surgeons who specialize in gynecomastia.
Ideally, encourage your son to visit his pediatrician who will evaluate his breasts. Firm and fibrous breast tissue will not go away with age or exercise. If his breasts are severely enlarged, it is unlikely they will return to a normal shape without surgery. Since his pediatrician has known him since an early age, he/she can help determine what the best course of action is which should include seeing a gynecomastia surgeon for further evaluation. In some cases, the surgeon may recommend surgery on young men as early as 12 years old. Your son needs to feel part of the decision making with you and his surgeon.
Does Your Significant Other Suffer from Gynecomastia?
When it comes to your significant other, determine if his male breasts are a source of embarrassment or shame for him, or you!
- If your man is not bothered by his “man boobs” but you are, you need to tread lightly Identify how strongly you feel about it and prepare a way to delicately discuss it without evoking denial, or humiliation. If you have never talked to him about this before, it may cause problems in your relationship, and possibly have a negative impact on your sex life and even damage his self-confidence. It is imperative that he feels you love him and accept him, but if his gynecomastia bothers you or him, seek professional help.
- If both of you are troubled by his gynecomastia, in addition to the key messages above, you may want to explain how his condition limits your relationship. You might want to talk about things you would be able to do together that he now avoids, such as beach and pool parties.