Man boobs are every man's worst nightmare. And the condition that causes it may be occurring more frequently than previously thought, according to a new study.
Researchers from Andrology Australia and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute said that up to half of those afflicted by Klinefelter syndrome - a genetic condition caused by an extra X chromosome - do not know they have it, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
"[Sufferers] find it very difficult, especially in puberty when they might feel very self-conscious if they're having breast development or [have] smaller testicles in the changing rooms," said lead author Amy Herlihy.
She interviewed more than 200 men with the syndrome, some of whom had breast reduction surgery for gynaecomastia, colloquially known as 'man boobs'.
The research showed that while it was once thought one in every 650 Australian males was affected by the condition, an analysis of Victorian diagnoses suggested it could be as high as one in 450 with as many as 25,000 men affected, based on latest population estimates.
If treated, symptoms can greatly improve, but many men are diagnosed only when they start treatment for fertility problems.
The study is published in The Medical Journal of Australia.