Gynecomastia vs Chest fat

Having  an abnormal size of breast is one of the most embarrassing conditions that men can experience.  When it occurs, men do not always know if they have excess fat deposits on their chest or having a glandular condition called gynecomastia. There are a few signs that can help differentiate between gynecomastia vs chest fat and there are ways to eliminate both. In this article, gynecomastia vs chest fat will be explored for better understanding of them. 

What Is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a condition that has also been referred to as “man boobs” and is characterized by excess tissue on a man’s chest that gives him the appearance of having breasts. It is a condition that often causes men to feel self-conscious about taking off their shirts at the pool, beach, or even in front of their significant other.

Gynecomastia vs Chest fat
Normal breast vs enlarged breast

There are different factors that can contribute to the occurrence of gynecomastia and they are not related to being overweight. If a man has the appearance of breasts due to his weight, this condition is called pseudogynecomastia or fatty gynecomastia.

Gynecomastia Causes

A lot of things can trigger the hormone imbalance that causes male breast growth, and many times the exact cause isn’t known. In addition to body changes such as puberty and aging, some things that can cause gynecomastia are:

Hormonal Imbalance 

Testosterone is the dominant hormone in men, while oestrogen is the dominant female hormone. Men produce low levels of oestrogen as testosterone suppresses this hormone. Thus, gynecomastia can develop if men produce too little testosterone or too much oestrogen. Such hormonal imbalances can occur for many reasons:


Not only does obesity cause chest fat, but it can also cause gynecomastia. Fat cells produce oestrogen, which means the more body fat you have, the higher your oestrogen levels are. As a result, oestrogen causes the breast tissue to develop.


Hormone levels are known to fluctuate as we reach puberty. As a result, it’s common for teenage boys to develop gynecomastia as their bodies change. In this case, the gynecomastia will likely resolve itself once you reach your 20s and hormone levels stabilise.

Old Age

Gynecomastia is more prevalent in older men due to the hormonal imbalances accompanying the natural ageing process. As men reach their 50s and 60s, their bodies begin to produce less testosterone. Additionally, men typically accumulate more body fat with age, resulting in more oestrogen.

Certain medications

Men may be taking several medications, which may result in gynecomastia. These medicines may increase oestrogen levels. There are also types of medications that may prevent the formation of testosterone. Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) work to inhibit the effects of oestrogen in men. If a medicine is taken that blocks the formation of testosterone or DHT, then the effects of oestrogen will be more obvious, resulting in gynecomastia.

Examples of medicines that may result in gynecomastia:

  • Epilepsy medications
  • Antianxiety and antidepressant medications
  • Drugs used for the treatment of cardiovascular disease
  • Drugs used to treat peptic ulcers
  • Certain types of chemotherapy drugs, including alkylating agents such as cisplatin, work to prevent cancer cells from growing but may also disrupt cellular DNA.

Many men may also take over-the-counter substances, such as herbal preparations and essential oil products that may cause gynecomastia, including lavender oil.

Gynecomastia and its signs and symptoms

Gynecomastia is not normally a serious problem. Symptoms include swelling and tenderness in the breast gland tissue of one or both breasts. It may start as a lump or fatty tissue around a person’s nipples. In most cases, the lumps will develop unevenly.

If there is unusual and persistent swelling, pain, nipple discharge, or a combination of these, it is important for people to consult a physician.

Gynecomastia Prevention

There are steps you can take to lower your chances of having gynecomastia. They include things such as:

  • Don’t use illicit or recreational drugs, such as anabolic steroids, androgens, amphetamines, marijuana, or heroin.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, or drink moderately.
  • Go over your medicine list with your doctor. If any of your medications can cause gynecomastia, ask if there are alternatives.

What is Chest Fat?

Chest fat, also known as pseudo-gynecomastia, are the pockets of fat that accumulate in the chest, often giving men the appearance of ‘man boobs’. We all carry fat in different parts of our body, with many men accumulating fat in their chest and upper body. It can result in a distorted body shape, with the upper body being heavier than the lower body. Therefore, most men are uncomfortable with the appearance of chest fat and wish to get rid of it.

What Causes Chest Fat?

Chest fat usually results from having too much body fat. Our genetics influences the amount and distribution of body fat. However, a sedentary lifestyle with an unhealthy diet and infrequent exercise will contribute to expanding the fat cells in the area, thus making the chest fat appear more prominent.

How to reduce chest fat?

In most cases, people can reduce chest fat with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Given below is some diet and nutrition advice by our experts to reduce chest fat:

  • Eat balancing meals to include protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthful fats
  • Include plenty of vegetables, fish, fruits, and lean meats in your diet
  • Avoid highly processed foods, sugary foods, and drinks

The type of exercises to target chest fat can take many different forms, ranging from HIIT to strength training. Some good exercises are as follows:

  • Push-ups and Cardio
  • Chest press and chest fly
  • Dumbbell pullover
  • Dips

Gynecomastia vs Chest fat

Chest fat is very common for men who are overweight. Chances of fat accumulation on the chest are high if you are obese and have a high body-fat percentage. If the other body parts have an excess of fat accumulation, it is obvious that the same would be found on the chest area.

Fat accumulation on the chest is easily noticeable and is particularly obvious. If a person is of slim built or has a good body muscle percentage, then chances of pseudogynecomastia or chest fat are very low.

Gynecomastia is common during puberty. Young boys go through frequent hormonal imbalance during this time which can lead to the development of male breasts. In the old age, when testosterone levels are low, people can have gynecomastia. Other causes of gynecomastia are

  • Medication
  • Recreational drugs
  • Steroids
  • Genetic disorders

Gynecomastia vs Chest fat Treatments

Surgeons treat gynecomastia with gynecomastia surgery, also known as male breast reduction. Whereas they remove chest fat using liposuction. However, it’s common for men to have both gynecomastia and excess fat tissue, in which case surgeons will combine both procedures to resolve both issues.

Gynecomastia Surgery

Gynecomastia surgery usually takes 1-3 hours to perform, and you will be under sedation or general anaesthesia. The exact treatment plan, including the placement of incisions, varies for each patient. Typically, the surgeon creates an incision around the nipples to extract the excess breast tissue, after which they will suture the incisions.


Liposuction surgery on the chest usually takes 1 hour under sedation or general anaesthesia. To perform the procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions in the chest through which they insert a suction cannula to extract the excess fat cells. Afterwards, they close the incisions with sutures.

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