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Man boobs and my decade of shame

Every finger in the gym pointed at my chest. I looked down at my tender lumps. “Titties! He’s got titties!” the new kid yelled.

Minutes before, all the real guys had been taking turns lifting up their shirts, comparing torsos. Then it came to me. I was a 13-year-old, half-Jewish nerd in the seventh grade at a Bronx prep school. And I had just learned there was something wrong with my body.

Clinical gynecomastia is the benign enlargement of breasts in males. Distinct from your average fat-borne "man boobs," the condition is marked by the development of glandular breast tissue. According to the New York-Presbyterian website, 65 percent of 14-year-old males have it and 90 percent of them will have natural regression by the end of puberty. The condition has been attributed to over-consumption of soy products, due to the estrogen. Recently, a prescription antipsychotic, Risperdal, has been causing gynecomastia in adolescent boys, resulting in a series of controversial lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson that have been in the news.

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