A new study, published in the July issue of the medical journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, has revealed most teens with Gynaecomastia don’t need to undergo hormone lab tests. The tests are typically carried out to determine the cause, but scientists are now arguing the condition can be identified without endocrine testing.
Understanding the study
Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada analysed 197 teenage boys who presented with gynaecomastia. They had been treated at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital between the years of 1990 to 2015. The average age the boys developed the condition was 11.5 years, while they had their first visit to endocrinology at around 14.2 years.
During the study, the researchers looked at the yield of utility and diagnostic of regular endocrinology assessments. The majority of the patients had present risk factors of the condition, such as obesity and a family history of gynaecomastia. A secondary cause was detected in just 8% of patients such as medication, while just three of the boys had a medical cause for the condition.
The study found that in a staggering 99.4% of the cases, endocrinology testing didn’t provide any new information. This means that ultimately these hormone lab tests are pointless.
Most teen gynaecomastia cases resolve over time
Enlarged breasts are actually common in adolescents. They occur due to hormonal changes which temporarily cause the breasts to enlarge. However, in the majority of cases, it’s worth keeping in mind that it does resolve itself in time.
This means further tests aren’t usually required. Similarly, treatment isn’t usually necessary in the majority of teen cases.
When might teen gynaecomastia surgery be required?
There are some cases where male breast reduction surgery may be required to treat teenage gynaecomastia. Largely, if the problem has persisted for more than two years, or if the patient is older than 16, surgery could be recommended.
Patients who are concerned should seek advice from a gynecomastia specialist. They will be able to look at medical records, eliminating the need for hormonal tests. They will also be able to determine whether treatment is required, or whether the condition is likely to resolve by itself.