When hormonal levels of testosterone and estrogen surge during puberty, low testosterone or high estrogen (the female hormone) can bring on female-like breast tissue. This is the primary cause of gynecomastia. In over 90 percent of cases, gynecomastia experienced as a result of puberty will resolve on its own. However, scientific studies show that if breast gland development has not resolved within two years, then it is not likely to resolve at all.
Every day is a struggle for the man that lives with gynecomastia. Each day typically starts with the unwelcome sight of his chest in the shower, often creating a destructive effect on ego and self-esteem. Men have learned to pick their clothing carefully so they are able to conceal their chests as best they can. Usually, they will opt for several layers of clothing, such as shirts with pockets, bulky sweaters, jackets, and dark colors to help conceal enlarged breasts. Most avoid lightweight fabrics and T-shirts, as they are too revealing.
The locker room at school poses a challenge with sports, swimming, showers, and any other type of shirtless activity, usually causing young men with gynecomastia to try to avoid such situations entirely.
For men working in a climate-controlled environment dictating a shirt, tie, and jacket, going to work is not a problem. However, there are many men who have jobs outdoors doing physical labor, which can be miserable if the weather is hot. Gynecomastia sufferers will subject themselves to extreme physical discomfort in order to avoid the psychological torture caused by teasing and insensitive comments from their peers and co-workers.
Once the day is over, a man will often consider it to be a good day if there were no comments about his chest. After the workweek ends, then the men get to deal with family outings, swimming pools, barbecues, dates, sports, and the beach. The gynecomastia sufferer must make special efforts to conceal his chest from others. Many times, it is easier to avoid the events altogether.
Feelings of shame, embarrassment, guilt, and inadequacy torment men with gynecomastia, and for most, it is an ever-present burden.