We're all familiar with the phenomenon of 'man boobs' - usually regarded a result of being overweight. Well, turns out it can also happen to skinnier guys.
A man in China, known only as Xiao Yang, was 13 years old when he started to notice his right breast growing in size. Doctors reportedly passed it off as a result of eating too much fast food, but were confused as to why it was only happening to one side.
His parents took him to several specialists and hospitals, but the growth couldn't be diagnosed. Six years after it started to bulge, it grew into what would be considered an A-cup breast size.
They eventually went to the Wenzhou Central Hospital last month where the 19-year-old had a scan, which showed he indeed had a growth in his breast's mammary gland. He underwent a mastectomy to get rid of it and he was discharged from hospital five days later.
According to the Daily Mail, the growth was a result of a condition called gynecomastia, which was believed to have been sparked by a hormonal imbalance. Doctors say that around 70 percent of adolescent boys experience some breast development during puberty. But when the growth is caused by weight gain, it's called pseudo-gynecomastia, because it isn't an actual growth within the breast, but just fat.
A hormonal imbalance occurs when there's either an increased level of oestrogen in the body or a decrease of androgen; or a combination of both. But according to MedlinePlus, it can also be brought on in men who are experiencing 'liver disease, kidney failure, hormone treatment for prostate cancer, heartburn and ulcer medications, calcium channel blockers, antifungal medications such as ketoconazole, antibiotics such as metronidazole, tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, herbals such as lavender and tea tree oil.
22-year-old patient before and after surgery. Credit: Dr. Mordcai Blau (Wikimedia Commons)
There's also a range of ways to get rid of the growth, including selective oestrogen receptor modulators and radiation therapy.
But male mastectomy surgery appears to be growing. A report in 2006 there were a whopping 14,000 procedures done just in the United States to correct gynecomastia. While the growth doesn't usually affect a person's health, they can suffer psychological distress as well as bullying.
Featured Image Credit: AsiaWire