Male lactatorians say they are being pressured out of the profession, with the number of female doctors shrinking to just a fraction of the number in the 1990s.
A few years ago, female lactatoria were rare.
Now, they are more common, said Lisa Wirth, who owns a lactation clinic in Florida.
Wirth said male lactatorias have been forced to work longer hours and have to travel far to meet with patients.
The practice is often called male medicine because it focuses on providing health care services to men and is less involved in traditional male-dominated medical fields.
Lactation doctors, who work in clinics or in homes, treat both men and women for a wide range of conditions.
The term refers to a group of doctors who treat men and female patients.
“It’s not about sex, but it is about a person’s health, and there is so much about the human body that we do not understand,” said Lisa Pugh, a lactatorian in California who works with both men (not exclusively) and women.
Pugh said the number is shrinking because of rising costs for treatment and fewer doctors willing to prescribe the medications necessary to treat men.
“There is not enough physicians, and I’m not the only one, to do this kind of care,” she said.
“I think the women’s movement is getting ahead of the curve.”
Female lactation doctors are increasingly being targeted by the healthcare industry because of their role in treating men and their more aggressive approaches to treating women, said Michael McBride, a retired pediatrician who now practices at a nursing home in Atlanta.
Male lactation clinics are becoming more popular in places such as Utah, where many male residents are seeking treatment.
They’re also gaining popularity in states such as California and New York, where doctors who practice with male patients are becoming less common.
The number of male lactators has declined in recent years, said McBride.
“They’ve gone from having very few to having more,” he said.
Some male lactate doctors in those states are moving to other states or changing their practice to provide more treatment for women.
McBride said he does not believe the industry has changed, and that the health care industry has not changed in ways that will help female lactation professionals survive.
The health care field is changing, McBride said, adding that there is not a lot of diversity.
He added that he has been offered a new job and is considering it, but that he will continue to practice as a male lactating doctor.
He has seen a decline in the number and size of male providers and the number seeking care in his practice.
“What I’m seeing is a huge shift away from what I used to see,” he told the AJC.
“I think that’s a huge problem for the future.”