Difference Between Gynecomastia and Chest fat

Breast enlargement in men tops the chart of men’s least-welcome bodily characteristics. It’s an obvious trigger for psychological issues, such as low self-esteem, which can translate into poor general health, social functioning and mental well-being. According to a study, 3 out 10 suffer from this condition during their lifetime. So it is essential to differentiate between the causes of this fat enlargement which include Gynecomastia and Pseudogynecomastia. While Gynecomastia is a medical condition for breast enlargement in man, Pseudogynecomastia is just a chest fat in man which looks like man boobs or moobs.

Let’s first talk about Gynecomastia. It is a disease which is defined as the excessive growth of breast issue that characteristically presents with an elastic or a firm palpable tissue, which extends symmetrically outward from the nipple area. Under microscopic analysis, this is a benign condition with enlargement of male glandular breast tissue. It occurs symmetrically in both breasts.

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Gynecomastia is often caused by a hormonal imbalance in males, wherein there is a supremacy of estrogen secretion as a result of excessive estrogen production or a lower level of androgenic hormone synthesis. Estrogen is an important hormone that motivates the proliferation of the breast tissue. Moreover, it causes development within the breast ducts, causing it to grow and branch diffusely. Estrogen also increases the vascularity of breast tissue. This imbalance in hormones can be caused by a lot of factors such as the use of estrogenic medications, puberty, kidney disease, liver disease, hyperthyroidism, tumors that produce estrogen and prolactin. Sometimes it can also be caused by an elevated activity of aromatase, the enzyme important for estrogen synthesis.

Now if we talk about Pseudogynecomastia it is the increased chest mass which happens due to deposition of fat in the area surrounding the nipples. The underlying matter is collected fat in the chest area which is soft and always painless. There is a soft lump under the entire breast part. It especially occurs in overweight or obese men. And if it is not severe, it might be reduced through diet and exercise.

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In Gynecomastia the underlying matter is firm and irregular tissue which sometimes even can be painful to touch. In this disease, hard lump of tissue occurs under the nipple which can also extend outside the borders of the areola depending upon how much fat there is. While Pseudogynecomastia is not threatening and can be cured with proper diet and exercise, Gynecomastia can only be reduced surgically. Sometimes it may be hard to differentiate if it is mixed gland and fat causing the swelling, therefore visibility depends on the grade.

So, now the question is, how can you tell the difference between true gynecomastia breast swelling and Pseudogynecomastia, and does it matter? Firstly, in many males, their man boobs or moobs will be caused by a combination of both true breast tissue and fat – but usually one is more salient than the other. It can be very difficult to tell the difference between the two of them, and often a doctor will do some tests or a scan to tell the difference.

True gynecomastia is a lot more common at certain stages of life – especially in teenagers during puberty or in older men when testosterone levels naturally decrease. Gynecomastia can also be caused due to other conditions, medications or recreational drugs. If these are present, true gynecomastia becomes more likely to happen rather than Pseudogynecomastia.

To treat gynecomastia medications and supplements that elaborate estrogen synthesis should be stopped. Patients are then asked to follow up from 6 months to a year. If there are no changes in the occurrence of symptoms, medications such as estrogen receptor blockers will be offered. But there are some patients, who find the symptoms psychologically upsetting, to that surgical removal of the enlarged breast tissue may be offered.

Unlike gynecomastia, in pseudogynecomastia treatment is not usually indicated for patients with extra fat tissue on the chest. But in this case, they are generally advised to adopt a change in lifestyle which promotes weight loss in order to improve overall health and to lower the risk factors for developing cardiovascular diseases.

So, between these two conditions, gynecomastia is handled as a disease and mechanism that causes hormonal imbalance is usually addressed. while pseudogynecomastia can be resolved through an effective weight loss regimen.