We have met with hundreds of teens suffering from gynecomastia in New York over our thirty years in practice, and there’s no doubt that the condition can cause a youngster great emotional pain. At this formative time of life, no guy needs more things his peers can tease him about, more reasons to be shy with girls or additional challenges to his self-esteem.
One of the remarkable tragedies about many cases, however, has to do with variety of ways parents are out of the loop. In talking with moms and dads during the years, here are some things we have discovered.
Some Parents Haven’t Heard of Gynecomastia
Even though most moms and dads eventually realize their son’s breasts have swelled, they may chalk up the change to puberty and not investigate further. Many people do not know that this is a condition with a medical name – gynecomastia – and it can persist well beyond the onset of puberty. Parents may even hear their son’s doctor say the enlarged breasts will go away when they have been present for years!
Gynecomastia.org is a great resource for finding out more about all aspects of man boobs. Read this story from one family that contributed their experiences to the site. It shows just how much they had to learn.
Adults Often Do Not Understand the Pain
Another heartbreaking aspect of teen gynecomastia is that it’s very common for parents to be unaware of what their son is going through. Adolescence is an age in which parents and teens aren’t usually very open with each other, after all!
Parents need to be proactive with their boys, even if gynecomastia is a difficult subject for everyone. It’s a good idea to look for behaviors such as wearing multiple shirts at all times and reluctance to stand up or sit up straight. Teens may also avoid swimming, working out and dating, and some withdraw from most of their normal activities. These and other indications of discomfort should be taken seriously, even if a guy says nothing about his troubles.
Many People Don’t Know About Gynecomastia Specialists
We have also discovered that people, adults included, don’t automatically realize that successful male breast reduction surgery requires specialized knowledge and experience that general surgeons typically don’t have, and few plastic surgeons have in abundance. We’ve performed many revision surgeries over the years for guys who have gone to an inexperienced surgeon and ended up with lumps, bumps and valleys.
One mom took her son to a plastic surgeon who was inexperienced in minimal scar surgery. After seeing where the many incisions would be placed, the mother commented that it looked like her son would be having open-heart surgery. To their credit, the mother-son pair decided to keep on looking for a gynecomastia specialist.
What Parents Can Do
Parents can begin by doing research online. Gynecomastia.org is a good place to start – there are more stories than those we have referenced here. As they learn to tune in further to signs and signals of gynecomastia-related challenges, moms and dads must tackle the topic head on with their son. Even if the first conversation is difficult – and short – chances are the subject will come up again and it will get easier to talk.
In some cases, it may be advantageous for one or both parents to consult a plastic surgeon experienced in male breast reduction before they bring their son to an appointment. If we can help – online, by phone or in person – please contact us.
Reach out to Dr. Jacobs today to schedule your consultation!