Alex was afraid to be intimate because of his breasts (Picture: Alex Moore/SWNS)A man who avoided dating because he was so self-conscious of his ‘man boobs’ has finally had surgery to remove them after 17 years.
30-year-old Alex Moore was 13 when he began to develop gynecomastia, a condition in which men develop breast tissue because of a hormone imbalance.
Alex has spent almost two decades concealing his ‘moobs’ in over-sized clothing and strapping them down with muscle vests while playing sports.
Uber driver Alex and gymnastics teacher said the condition has taken a huge psychological toll on him.
He has even avoided dating because his insecurities about his breasts made him anxious of being intimate with a partner.
After almost two decades of turmoil, Alex underwent breast reduction surgery on 23 April, which he said has greatly impacted on his happiness.
Alex, of Los Angeles, California, USA, said: ‘It just feels kind of like a new lease on life to be so cliché and it feels great. It really does.
‘I have to wear a compression garment and that has to continue for the next seven weeks now. You take it day by day and week by week.
Alex’s body before the surgery (Picture: Alex Moore/SWNS)‘I can already see a difference in the contours of my silhouette and reflection. Like when I look at shadows or just look in the mirror.
‘It’s really awesome but being the person I am, I’m trying to manage expectations to a certain degree and just kind of wait until the final reveal.’
Alex said the condition, which is often made light of in TV and film, has taken a huge psychological toll on his life.
He added: ‘The breast tissue I developed when I was a teenager drooped and hung like female breasts.
‘I felt like dating was not really an option for me with this condition.
‘When I was a teenager I was so uncomfortable with myself that the idea of approaching someone I had a crush on was just not something I considered.
‘In recent years, I was always thinking, “Do they notice them? Do they care?”
‘It was stressful. One of the biggest reasons I avoided dating was that I worried about being intimate with someone.
‘Even if they told me they were fine with it, it was still in my head and in the moment it made me so full of anxiety.’
Alex, who identifies as bisexual, says the gay dating scene is especially focused on physique, which can be intimidating.
‘The gay scene especially is focused on hyper masculinity and even when this is not the ideal, there is still a focus on having a lean body type,’ he explained.
‘I think the straight scene is more body positive but even still, I just avoided dating.
Alex’s body after the surgery (Picture: Alex Moore/SWNS)‘I have definitely been leading a more limited life because of this condition and I know I have missed out on experiences.
‘Psychologically this has been a negative experience.
‘Man boobs are made fun of in movies and on TV but many people don’t understand the mental pain. It’s not something that should be made light of.
‘For me, I always felt like it was the first thing everyone saw.
‘I am a social person who always made friends easily, but having this condition did have its challenges in that I had a lot of anxiety about it.
‘It might seem like a trivial thing, but it is a huge mental labor for those who are dealing with it. It was something I thought about constantly.
‘This was a part of my body that was not supposed to be there.’
Alex said he has concealed his breasts in large shirts and jackets ever since he was a young teen.
The driver, originally from Oklahoma, said he avoided the beach and pool for most of his life because he feared being topless in public.
Alex said: ‘Whenever I went swimming I wore shirts. I love the beach and the pool, but I just avoided being in those situations if I could.
‘I love volleyball but if I was playing I would wear a muscle shirt. If I went to a pool party I would never get into the water.
‘I was on a river trip in college and I just decided to go for it and take off my shirt but I was so uncomfortable the entire time.
Alex is happier and much more confident now (Picture: Alex Moore/SWNS)‘I ended up wearing the life jacket for the entire day. I also worried about whether or not someone would say something to me.
‘I remember when I used to dance in school, someone that was in the audience asked me what I had on my chest on stage.
‘They weren’t being nasty, they were just curious and I remember I was so embarrassed.
‘I never suffered any extreme bullying or anything like that, but people occasionally used the words man boobs, which was hard.’
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 300,378 men in the US underwent breast reduction surgeries in 2017.
Alex said the surgery has had a profound impact on his life.
He said: ‘It was exciting and surreal. This aspect of my life has been minimized.
More: Body image
‘This is something I have lived with and thought about for 17 years. This is my second chance.
‘It has changed the way I feel about myself. I set up the GoFundMe because my insurance was only going to cover the cost of the surgery partially.
‘I really appreciated the support because the last thing I wanted was more debt on top of my student loans but this was so important to me.’
While gynecomastia is typically caused by a hormonal imbalance between estrogen and testosterone, Alex said being overweight as a child was a contributing factor in his case.
Alex said: ‘At my heaviest in high school I was 240lbs and I was definitely overweight as a kid.
‘I think this problem could be prevented in childhood. If parents see their children gaining a little weight they should nip it in the bud.
‘I’ve been living with this since I was 13 and I turned 30 recently.
‘I’m excited to continue into this decade without this problem.’
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