Gynecomastia and psychological functioning: A review of the literature.
Gynecomastia is defined as excess glandular growth of breast tissue in males. It is a noticeable physical difference that commonly affects males in adolescence and old age. While often transient in nature, gynecomastia persists indefinitely in 10% of cases. Much of the literature on gynecomastia has focused on etiology and management. Little research has been done regarding the impact of gynecomastia on one's mental health and quality of life; however, some studies have suggested various psychosocial and psychological consequences related to gynecomastia. These consequences include but are not limited to depression, anxiety, disordered eating, body dissatisfaction, and reduced self-esteem. The aims of this paper are to review the current gynecomastia literature, bring awareness to an understudied but troubled population, and discuss directions for future work, including offering extant models of body image to guide researchers.
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