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What is gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is enlargement of the gland tissue of the male breast. During infancy, puberty, and in middle-aged to older men, gynecomastia can be common. Gynecomastia must be distinguished from pseudogynecomastia or lipomastia, which refers to the presence of fat deposits in the breast area of obese men. True gynecomastia results from growth of the glandular, or breast tissue, which is present in very small amounts in men. The condition is the most common reason for medical evaluation of the male breast.

Return to Gynecomastia (Enlarged Male Breasts Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Danchise, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 02

I was diagnosed with de Quervain's tenosynovitis last year October and went for occupational therapy for 3 months but no help at all. In January this year I decided to try acupuncture and went through 10 sessions of acupuncture. Now, I can write, open cans, and do other simple chores. It's not complete recovery but at least it's so much better now.

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Comment from: Macready, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: February 23

I'm a 35 year old male. I have had weight issues all my life. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 3 and a half years ago. I was well overweight and going through depression. I changed my diet and my life around and lost over 30 kilos. But I cannot, for the life of me, lose my man breasts. The stories I can tell you! The psychological scarring that it has left on me from since I was a little boy. I hate/loathe summer due to the fact that now I'm skinny, I still can't wear tight tops. I'm convinced people are staring at my chest. I hate myself and what my body looks like. I have tried every type of exercise to get rid of my man breasts and, no matter what, they're always there. Swimming without a top on at primary school was horrifying. Playing local sports where we have tops on/tops off game and I'd get into the tops off team was, well, let us just say I would make up pathetic excuses to stop playing. I've lived my whole life like this. I'm embarrassed to see a doctor to find treatment as it means I may need surgery and, well what do I tell my family and my wife's family! My 3 young kids ask me why my breasts are so big. I'm just so mentally ruined from this.

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Comment from: deVO54, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 09

I developed obvious breast at the early onset of puberty and have suffered from gynecomastia for over 45 years. It has always been a source of extreme embarrassment, even at home with my family. Needless to say, any time I had to disrobe in front of others, after gym class at the health club, even at the doctor's office and for medical procedures, this was a very humiliating experience. I have never appeared in public, even at the beach without a shirt of some kind and have even worn a shirt while having sex on many occasions just to hide my chest. I know I have always been reluctant to allow anyone to even hug me for fear they could feel the breast under my clothes. This includes family and friends and I have avoided intimacy with someone specifically because of the breasts. I have hard lumps and at times they are quite painful. I was always very thin for most of my life and managed to hide my 'deformity' even while working as a professional model by wearing a constriction bandage or undershirt. But after a severe injury in 2002, I was inactive for several years. I gained a lot of weight and the size of my breasts can no longer be concealed. I have always wanted to have them surgically reduced to a more masculine appearance, but was even too embarrassed to discuss my issue with a doctor. This malady runs in my family. My father was several effected and my younger brother to a lesser degree than myself but he was always in such extremely great physical condition all his life he too managed to conceal his problem very well. I managed to avoid a lot of the teasing and bullying I saw other young boys and men enduring simply by avoiding those situations where I might be required to take off my shirt. I was never active in sports, only took one year of physical education in high school, the minimum allowed to graduate and even then found many ways to avoid actually participating in games that required a shirts versus skins situation. I played shirts or not at all! And I never took a public shower making up a religious objection to public displays of nudity. I came up with that all on my own and actually got away with it. I am on this site as part of my research to actually try get something done to improve the look of my chest. After 6 decades of being so body conscious I don't know that I'll ever be able to go topless even around my home. I don't take my shirt off except in the absolute privacy of my bath or bedroom, but I just want to finally feel better about myself.

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