Gynecomastia: Male Breast Pain

Amaris B.

Updated on

July 31, 2021

Men are concerned about the way they look and according to research, even more so than women. Anxiety caused by perceived flaws of their physical appearance is a real issue and men do talk about it at times, among themselves.

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Men are concerned about the way they look and according to research, even more so than women. Anxiety caused by perceived flaws of their physical appearance is a real issue and men do talk about it at times, among themselves.

Survey Revealed That Men Have High Levels Of Anxiety About Their Bodies

According to Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, from the University of the West of England who conducted the survey, "These findings tell us that men are concerned about body image, just like women. We knew that 'body talk' affected women and young people and now we know that it affects men too.” The survey was conducted among 394 British men.

Among the findings:

  • 80.7% talked about their own or others' appearance referring to weight, lack of hair or other appearance
  • 23% mentioned that perceived flawed appearance had deterred them from going to the gym
  • 63% thought their arms or chests were not muscular enough
  • 29% thought about their appearance at least five times a day
  • 18% were on a high-protein diet to increase muscle mass, and 16% on a calorie-controlled diet to slim down
  • 30% have heard someone refer to their "beer belly", 19% have been described as "chubby" and 19% have overheard talk about their "man boobs (moobs)"

It was also revealed that as a result of the anxiety, men have resorted to compulsive exercise, strict diets and even laxatives, among others, in the hope of addressing their appearance issues.

Suffer in silence

While there are men who talk about their insecurities when it comes to their appearance, most don’t. As such, they seek help privately if at all, as most resort to keeping quiet out of embarrassment. A condition like gynecomastia can cause actual pain but because of the stigma i.e. it being an embarrassing issue, most men live with the pain, at times excruciatingly.

Gynecomastia: Male breast pain from Enlarged Male Breasts/Man Boobs

Likely causes of gynecomastia are hormonal imbalance, genetics and in some, due to the use of anabolic steroids.  Gynecomastia may occur as a side effect of prolonged use of certain medications due to other medical conditions. Contributing factors such as age and massive weight loss can also be related to abnormal male breasts development, however, the most frequent cause of gynecomastia is actually idiopathic.    

Pubertal gynecomastia, when it does not regress spontaneously, can result in enlargement with fibrosis of the glandular breast tissues causing an unfavourable appearance, which may lead to significant social and psychological impairment.  

The most used classification is based on the tissue components involved in gynecomastia:

  1. True Gynecomastia - When only glandular tissue is the cause of male breast enlargement
  2. Pseudogynecomastia - When it is due to only fat deposits without involvement of glandular tissues
  3. Mixed Gynecomastia - When both fat and glandular tissues are the cause of enlarged male breasts enlargement

It results in an overgrowth of breast tissue and a more feminine-like breast appearance. As much as it is physically embarrassing for a person, it is also a cause of real physical pain.

In men, the excess glandular tissue in the breast is an indication of hormonal imbalance. Glandular tissue tends to be more firm and fibrous, unlike fat tissue. Additionally, glandular tissue does not respond to diet change or exercise.

Gynecomastia can occur on one or both breasts. Self-checks like checking for soft rubbery lumps are usually one of the first precautionary measures an individual can take. One should also look out for tenderness and soreness to the touch. If these are present, it is best to seek qualified medical help for a more accurate assessment and intervention.

Breast enlargements that only involve fat deposits without glandular tissue proliferation are classified as pseudogynecomastia, which is also clinically known as lipomastia.

Individuals who suffer from pseudogynecomastia can embark on a weight-loss and exercise program as a first line treatment.   When the diet and exercise plan do not work, a procedure like liposuction is the next course of solution to permanently remove the excess fat accumulation.

For those who are suffering from true gynecomastia or mixed gynecomastia, the best available and clinically proven treatment is Gynecomastia Surgery, which can help to effectively address the issue.

Dr. Ivan Puah, Medical Director Amaris B. Clinic, is accredited by the Ministry Of Health Singapore to perform liposuction in Singapore, which is a requirement here. He has more than 20 years of clinical practice of which 14 years were spent in the field of aesthetic medicine. Dr. Puah’s personalised and meticulous approach have been helping many patients address their concerns and his professional, and warm disposition have helped ease many worries.

Dr. Ivan Puah is also a VASER practitioner and obtained his VASER Lipo Body Sculpting training in the USA and Argentina. He also received training in syringe liposculpture, fat grafting and thread lift by renowned French plastic surgeon, Dr. Pierre Francois Fournier. He further honed his gynecomastia surgery ability and skill under the mentorship of Dr. Miguel Delgrado from San Francisco.