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The Mental Health Burden Of Gynecomastia Sufferers

April 11, 2024
April 11, 2024

It has been well established of the known deep emotional scars carried by gyno patients. The struggle with self-consciousness can generate anxiety and stress.

The Mental Health Burden Of Gynecomastia Sufferers

Table of Contents

Gynecomastia is either caused by hormonal imbalances during puberty, andropause or idiopathically. External influences such as side effects of medicine, underlying diseases, anabolic steroid abuse, a stressful lifestyle or obesity may trigger the onset of the development of gynecomastia.

It has been well established of the known deep emotional scars carried by gynecomastia patients. Many of these affected young individuals, bear the painful memories of their younger years when they faced relentless teasing and mockery for their "man boobs" or the need to wear a bra. Such experiences cast a shadow over the lives of teenage boys with gynecomastia, a medical condition where they experience abnormal development of male breasts. 

The Mental Health Burden Of Gynecomastia Sufferers

Gynecomastia, a medical condition characterised by the overdevelopment of breast tissues in male patients, is a common concern among young boys. It can affect one or both breasts and is primarily caused by hormonal imbalance. This condition impacts around 70% of boys aged 12 to 16. In some cases, adolescent gynecomastia can lead to noticeable breast enlargement, potentially reaching C- or D-cup proportions. This can result in the appearance of oversized nipple-areola complexes, often referred to as "puffy nipples," which may look feminine. Occasionally, there may be nipple discharge and pain.

Having "man boobs" can generate anxiety and stress at any age. However, it is especially poignant for young boys as they navigate the challenges of puberty.

For many boys with gynecomastia, the thought of exposing their chests is overwhelming. They shy away from changing in front of their peers or avoid participating in outdoor activities requiring them to bear their chest. 

Addressing gynecomastia concerns early through open conversations and exploring potential solutions can provide these young individuals with significant relief and peace of mind. This proactive approach allows them to navigate puberty more confidently and enjoy a smoother transition into vibrant young adulthood.

More related gynecomastia blogposts:

The Mental Health Burden Of Adult Males With Gynecomastia 

The Mental Health Burden Of Gynecomastia Sufferers

Low self-esteem has a detrimental impact on one's mental health, leading to a myriad of issues like eating disorders, depression, anxiety, social phobia, and sometimes, substance abuse.

Some studies have shared that causes of low self-esteem include traumatic childhood, being around critical adults like parents, caregivers or teachers growing up, constantly being under constant stress (financial or relationship woes), abusive relationships and medical issues like mental illness or ongoing medical conditions, like gynecomastia.

A study investigating the mental health burden of Chinese males with gynecomastia aged between 16 and 55 [1] revealed:

  • 41.5% had probable depression
  • 0.2% were affected by anxiety
  • 80.3% reported being teased or experiencing discrimination because of their breasts
  • 46.2% were always hiding their breasts by layering clothing
  • 52.1% walked with their heads down
  • 22.4% resorted to wearing skin-tight garments or using adhesive tape or other similar methods

"Gynecomastia is a medical condition that causes male breast swelling, pain and also distress for affected individuals. It greatly affects one's self-esteem and mental well-being. Many patients I've treated have grappled with extremely low self-esteem. They resort to various methods such as dieting, working out, fat freezing and lower energy lasers to no avail. Gynecomastia surgery is the solution to successfully treat symptomatic gynecomastia," shares Dr Ivan Puah, who has been treating men with gynecomastia for over 15 years. 

Why is gynecomastia becoming so common?

The Mental Health Burden Of Gynecomastia Sufferers

Often, the common cause of gynecomastia is hormonal imbalance. However, stress can also cause male breast tissue to increase periodically, and this is known as stress-induced gynecomastia. 

In an Ipsos World Mental Health Day 2023 Report:

  • 55% of Singaporeans say they have felt stressed to the point where it has impacted their daily lives at least once in the past year.
  • 23% say that they felt immense stress on several occasions in the last 12 months, where they could not cope or deal with things
  • 39% say they had to take time off work due to stress in the last year, with 15% saying they had to do this on multiple occasions
  • 49% reported feeling depressed to the point that they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for weeks at a time
  • 20% say they have felt this way on multiple occasions in the past year

Stress is a 6-letter bad word, and it is the cause of many diseases and medical conditions. Learn to manage your stress or see a professional when you feel overwhelmed. 

Get your gynecomastia diagnosed today, and start living your best life!


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