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By: Irvin Jackson | Published: May 30th, 2013
A new study highlights the psychological impact of gynecomastia, which is a medical condition involving the development of breasts among boys.
In a report published last month in the medical journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, researchers found that even mild breast growth among boys can have serious adverse effects on them.
Gynecomastia can occur as a result of an abnormal condition associated with disease or metabolic disorders, as well as a result of side effects of certain medications.
In recent years, a number of product liability lawsuits have been filed on behalf of boys and young men who allege that they experienced gynecomastia side effects from Risperdal, a popular antipsychotic medication that has been marketed for use by children for bi-polar disorders, autism, irritability, aggression and behavior disorders.
The Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits allege that the drug maker, Johnson & Johnson, failed to adequately warn consumers or the medical community about the risk of breast growth problems.
As a result of the significant negative impact gynecomastia can have on the psychosocial well-being of boys, specifically regarding social functioning, mental health and self-esteem, researchers in this latest study recommend that health care providers should be aware of the problems associated with gynecomastia and consider early treatments, regardless of the severity of the condition. In many cases, surgical removal of the breasts is the only treatment option for gynecomastia.
In the study, researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital looked at 47 boys between the ages of 12 and 21 with gynecomastia and 92 without. They found that adolescents with gynecomastia have reported embarrassment, humiliation, rejection and teasing as a result of their breast development. Case reports included indications that boys had increased feelings of loneliness, restlessness and tension. Physical limiations, bodily pain and disordered eating thoughts were also prevalent among boys with gynecomastia.