News and Cues for Dudes with Moobs
We write about adolescent man boobs often for a few reasons. For one thing, our New York teen gynecomastia patients suffer horribly during these formative years, and we want to help. We know that if their condition has been stable for two years or more, it will not go away on its own. We see plenty of guys later in life who have endured the pain for a long time and it’s just not necessary. Male breast reduction surgery is a reasonable solution, and for many, the sooner the better.
Another reason we write about teens: they must get their parents involved in decision making and gynecomastia can be an ultra-difficult subject to broach. We know this because we have worked with New York teens with gynecomastia for decades. Talking about body changes is not a welcome thought.
We came upon a couple of recommendations we haven’t discussed much from another board certified plastic surgeon who works with teens. We think they’re worth passing along to you, and we have some suggestions to add.
1) Choose just one parent.
It can be less intimidating to sit down with one parent rather than with both, and often a young man will find it easier to talk with one or the other. Our colleague suggested keeping the message simple—perhaps say that you’re suffering from a benign, common medical condition and it’s really bothering you. If you simply cannot get the words out, find an article you can print out and ask your parent to read it. Then, perhaps they will take the reins and move the conversation forward.
You might want to give this blog post a read. It offers several articles you might start with. We particularly like the two that discuss the psychological impact of man boobs on teens: one from Science Daily and one featured on the National Institutes of Health pubmed.gov site.
2) Give some forethought to the financial side of things.
One obstacle some teens face when discussing gynecomastia with their parents is the cost of surgery. Some families do not have extra money, and some adults may need convincing that the problem is worthwhile spending money on. Our colleague mentioned that you might offer to get a job to help out. If you anticipate that the cost of surgery might be a big problem, we would suggest saving money up before you talk with your mom or dad. That way you can show you’re serious and you’re willing to do all you can to contribute.
We’ve brought up some additional points with teens over the years we think are important. After coming clean about your condition and perhaps helping your parents get educated, the next logical step is to ask them to accompany you to a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. Find one you can visit who is known for significant experience in working with young men. Assure your parents that a well-trained, reputable plastic surgeon will not try to “sell” anyone. Further education is the aim of a personal consultation, and decisions rest with the family.
There are two more blog posts from our archives that may help you get ready for a conversation with your parents. One is a straightforward encouraging piece outlining the reasons to overcome your reluctance to talk with your mom or dad. The other article, one with a semi cheeky tone, draws from comments a guy made on gynecomastia.org with the aim of getting others to “man up.” The post goes on to explore “what’s the worst that can happen?” We hope you’ll take a look.
There’s no patient more filled with joy than a teen whose moobs are a thing of the past. We have seen this so often in our practice in New York; when teen gynecomastia is gone for good, young men tell us their lives are forever changed for the better.
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