Gynecomastia is a medical condition that results from an imbalance of hormones, specifically oestrogen and testosterone. It leads to the growth of glandular tissue in male breasts, creating a more feminine appearance. The condition can affect one or both breasts, sometimes unevenly. Factors such as ageing, certain medications (like anti-androgens, AIDS medications, anabolic steroids, and antidepressants), alcohol, and certain health conditions (like hypogonadism, kidney failure, or liver disease) can contribute to gynecomastia.
On the other hand, the presence of excess fat in the chest area of males is typically linked to overall body fat and is not exclusive to the chest area. This is often a result of weight gain, lack of exercise, or poor diet, and it doesn’t involve the actual enlargement of breast glands. Unlike gynecomastia, this condition, commonly referred to as pseudogynecomastia or lipomastia, can often be improved through a regimen of diet and exercise.
The distinction between gynecomastia and excess chest fat is crucial, as it determines the most effective treatment. While diet and exercise can reduce the appearance of excess chest fat, gynecomastia, depending on its severity, may require medical or surgical intervention. Medications are sometimes prescribed to adjust the hormone imbalance, or in more severe cases, surgical procedures such as gynecomastia surgery, also known as male breast reduction may be considered.
Therefore, if you’re experiencing enlargement of the chest area, it’s important to consult with a specialist plastic surgeon at Centre for Surgery to understand the nature of your condition and the most suitable treatment options for you.
RELATED: Gynecomastia Surgery FAQs – Q&As about Male Breast Reduction
Identifying the precise cause of gynecomastia is key to instituting the correct treatment to remove excessive breast tissue using male breast reduction surgery. Here we discuss the key differences between gynecomastia and chest fat and outline the optimum treatments for both conditions.
What is Gyno?
Gynecomastia London is a condition where excessive glandular tissue develops beneath the nipples. Gynecomastia can affect one or both sides and may appear symmetrical or asymmetrical between both sides. The reduction in circulating levels of testosterone with an increase in oestrogen is thought to be the most common underlying cause of the condition. However, there are several causes that may be responsible.
The most common clinical features of gynaecomastia affecting men include:
- Excessive glandular tissue leading to a swollen chest
- Hard lumps felt beneath the skin
- A feeling of tenderness when the chest is touched
- Pain which may affect certain activities
- Increased body mass index (BMI)
What Causes Gyno?
Gynecomastia most commonly develops from an underlying imbalance in hormones or may be caused by recreational drug use or certain medicines. The most common causes of gynecomastia affecting men in the UK include:
An underlying hormonal imbalance is most commonly responsible for the development of gynecomastia. Abnormalities in the levels of certain hormones, including testosterone or oestrogen, can occur at any point in life.
Gynecomastia may first present itself when a baby boy is born, and this is most commonly due to excessive levels of circulating oestrogen which pass from the mother. This type of gynecomastia affecting babies often settles down by itself after three or four months after birth but may, on occasion, take longer to resolve.
Gynecomastia next affects boys in their teenage years, often just before undergoing puberty. Gynecomastia is very common during puberty, and this type of gynecomastia also settles down within six months to a year without any treatment.
Gynecomastia in adult men may still develop, and this is most often due to a hormonal imbalance. In rare cases, there may be a hormone-secreting tumour affecting the pituitary gland or the adrenal gland resulting in gynecomastia. Cancer of the liver or testes may also result in an overproduction of oestrogen, with a deficiency of oestrogen leading to gynecomastia.
As young men approach puberty, excess breast tissue may begin to form under the effects of substantial hormonal changes. This is often the time when the body is undergoing rapid growth and development. Excess breast tissue caused by puberty is, in the vast majority of cases, entirely harmless and does not require surgical treatment.
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.
Several medical conditions can result in gynecomastia, including cancer of the pituitary gland, adrenal glands or testis. Certain types of lung cancer, as well as hyperactive thyroid, are recognised causes.
Chronic medical conditions such as liver cirrhosis caused by excessive alcohol intake or cancer of the liver may also cause gynecomastia resulting in the development of excess breast tissue.
Recreational substance abuse
Many men may take anabolic steroids to promote muscle gain and augment the effects of weightlifting. Anabolic steroid use is strongly associated with the formation of ‘man boobs’. Excessive alcohol intake along with cannabis use are recognised causes of the condition.
How is Gynecomastia Different from Chest Fat?
Gynecomastia and chest fat, while they may appear similar, are distinct conditions with different origins and treatment pathways.
Gynecomastia stems from a hormonal imbalance leading to the growth of breast gland tissue. This condition may affect one or both breasts, sometimes unevenly, and can occur in males at any stage of life. It’s not typically linked to overall body weight, and physical exercises or weight loss regimens usually have little to no impact on reducing it. Treatment for gynecomastia often involves addressing the root cause, which could be hormonal or linked to certain medications or health conditions. In more severe cases, surgical intervention might be necessary to remove the excess glandular tissue.
Chest fat, on the other hand, is an accumulation of adipose tissue, or fat, in the chest area. This condition, sometimes referred to as pseudogynecomastia, is typically associated with being overweight or obese. The fat deposition isn’t limited to the chest area and is part of overall body fat. Unlike gynecomastia, chest fat can be addressed effectively through diet and exercise. By adhering to a balanced, healthy diet and regular exercise routine, it is possible to reduce fat stores in the chest area.
While gynecomastia and chest fat may present similarly, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis to determine the most effective treatment plan. For this reason, individuals dealing with these conditions should seek professional medical advice at Centre for Surgery. Our surgeons can provide a thorough examination and guide you towards the best course of action based on your unique circumstances.
Do I have gynecomastia or chest fat?
Gynecomastia is characterised by the enlargement of glandular breast tissue in males, resulting in a more feminine appearance. It can be caused by hormonal imbalances, certain medications, or underlying health conditions. Gynecomastia often feels firm or rubbery, may be tender or painful, and can have a distinct shape resembling a woman’s breasts.
Chest fat, on the other hand, refers to excess adipose tissue or fat in the chest area. It is commonly associated with overall weight gain and can result in the appearance of enlarged breasts. Chest fat typically feels soft to the touch, similar to fat in other parts of the body, and may not have a well-defined shape.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your chest, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a plastic surgeon. They will evaluate your specific condition and provide an accurate diagnosis, allowing for an appropriate treatment plan tailored to your needs.
How can I tell the difference between gynecomastia and chest fat?
Assessing symptoms is crucial in distinguishing between gynecomastia and chest fat. While the two conditions may appear similar, there are distinct differences to look out for:
- Typically, gynecomastia could cause discomfort ranging from mild to significant, manifesting as pain or tenderness in the chest area.
- The texture of the chest in cases of gynecomastia tends to be firm, perhaps feeling rubbery or hard beneath the skin. A discernible lump might also be present.
- The shape of the chest in gynecomastia is often rounded and proportionate, somewhat resembling female breasts. In instances with smaller tissue amounts, the nipple-areolar complex might project more prominently than the rest of the chest.
- Weight loss might not result in a notable reduction in the size of the chest, even after shedding a considerable amount of weight. In some instances, weight loss might make the glandular tissue more apparent as surrounding fat diminishes.
- Chest fat, on the other hand, is far less likely to induce pain or tenderness.
- The texture of the chest in the case of chest fat is soft to the touch, similar to fat in other parts of the body.
- Unlike gynecomastia, chest fat may not have a distinct shape, often appearing saggy or droopy.
- Weight loss should lead to at least some reduction in the size of the pectoral region if chest fat is present. As part of overall body fat, chest fat responds to diet and exercise in the same way as fat elsewhere in the body.
How to Lose Chest Fat Naturally
Losing chest fat, often referred to as ‘man boobs’, primarily requires a holistic approach focusing on overall weight reduction, as spot reduction (losing fat from one specific area) is not possible. This involves adopting a healthier lifestyle, a balanced diet and regular exercise. Below are some strategies that can aid in achieving this:
- Engage in Regular Cardiovascular Exercise: Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to burn fat throughout the body, including the chest. This could include activities such as running, swimming, cycling, or any other form of physical activity that gets your heart rate up.
- Maintain a Healthy and Balanced Diet: Incorporating whole, unprocessed foods into your diet and reducing the intake of added sugars and unhealthy fats can help to lose overall body fat, which in turn would include fat in the chest area. This could involve eating lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, while avoiding processed foods, sugary snacks and beverages, and deep-fried foods.
- Strength Training: While you can’t specifically target chest fat, you can enhance the muscles underneath through strength training exercises. Exercises such as push-ups, dumbbell bench press, and chest flies can tone and strengthen the chest muscles, improving the overall appearance of the chest.
- Ensure Sufficient Sleep: Adequate rest is crucial for overall health and weight management. Insufficient sleep can disrupt your body’s hormones and metabolism, leading to weight gain, which could include the chest area.
- Maintain Consistency: It’s important to understand that losing fat, whether from the chest or anywhere else, is a gradual process that requires patience and consistency. Stick with your healthy eating habits and exercise regimen, and over time, you’ll likely see an improvement.
By implementing these strategies, you can promote overall fat loss, including from your chest.
Gynecomastia Treatment Options – chest fat vs gynecomastia
Addressing gynecomastia can sometimes be as simple as making lifestyle changes or waiting for the condition to resolve itself naturally. However, surgical intervention is typically required in most cases. Depending on the patient’s individual needs, this surgery can be performed under either intravenous sedation or general anaesthesia. Two common procedures employed for this purpose include breast liposuction and excision surgery.
Breast liposuction is aimed at removing stubborn fat tissue that doesn’t respond to diet and exercise. A surgeon will use a hollow stainless steel tube, known as a cannula, to carry out this process. The cannula is inserted through minor incisions in the skin, and the excess fat is suctioned out. This method proves particularly effective in treating gynecomastia by eliminating the accumulation of unwanted breast tissue in men.
In cases where excess glandular tissue or skin is causing an unwanted feminine breast-like appearance, a specialist surgeon may propose an excision surgery. This procedure involves removing superfluous glandular tissues and skin around the breast through a peri-areolar incision, i.e., an incision made around the nipple-areola complex. After gland removal, the nipple-areola complex may be repositioned, giving the chest a more masculine and well-defined look. Excision surgery offers the advantage of removing additional glandular tissues and skin that wouldn’t typically respond sufficiently to liposuction alone.
Remember, the treatment for gynecomastia is highly personalised. Each individual is different, and the surgeon would choose the best surgical approach after careful evaluation of your condition, aesthetic goals and overall health.
FAQs – gyno vs chest fat
Can I get rid of gynaecomastia by losing weight?
In men with true gynecomastia or glandular enlargement due to an underlying hormonal imbalance or recreational substance use, fat reduction with diet and exercise will not treat the problem effectively. True gynecomastia with excess glandular tissue can only be improved using a surgical excision technique with male breast reduction surgery.
RELATED: How to get rid of gynecomastia without surgery?
Does gynecomastia always affect both breasts?
Gynaecomastia can also affect only one side, although most men commonly develop the condition in both breasts.
Is gynecomastia common?
Gynecomastia is a prevalent condition in men, with up to one in seven of all men in the UK developing symptoms at some point; however, in most cases, excess male breast tissue is temporary and resolves without treatment.
The condition is more likely to be temporary in younger men. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can improve the appearance of gynecomastia in men in their 20s and 30s. In cases where there is no improvement, male breast reduction surgery can be considered the most effective treatment option.
RELATED: How common is gynecomastia?
Are Male Breast Reduction Results Permanent?
Male breast reduction results are typically long-lasting for the majority of patients, but there are circumstances where a second surgery might be needed to address complications or to fine-tune results. Adherence to a healthy lifestyle is crucial after the procedure. Factors such as considerable weight gain, steroid use, or certain medical conditions can potentially lead to a resurgence of gynecomastia. Moreover, substances that interfere with testosterone levels could also impact the outcomes.
Can Male Breasts Reduce without Surgery?
While surgical interventions like male breast tissue removal and liposuction are often required for those with hormonal imbalances or a genetic predisposition that leads to enlarged breasts, individuals struggling with obesity may be able to reduce or even eradicate the appearance of ‘man boobs’ through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise. There are cases, however, where a combined approach of both glandular tissue removal and liposuction might be necessary to achieve the desired result.
Why choose Centre for Surgery for Gynecomastia Treatment?
At Centre for Surgery, we pride ourselves on being a leading provider of gynecomastia treatment. Here’s why you should consider choosing us:
- Expertise and Specialisation: We have a team of highly skilled and experienced surgeons who specialise in gynecomastia treatment. They have extensive knowledge and expertise in performing male breast reduction procedures, ensuring that you receive the highest quality of care.
- Comprehensive Consultations: We believe in the importance of personalised care. Our consultations are thorough and tailored to your specific needs. During these consultations, our surgeons will evaluate your condition, discuss your goals and expectations, and provide detailed information about the treatment options available to you. They will answer all your questions, ensuring that you are well-informed and comfortable with your decision.
- Advanced Surgical Techniques: We utilise the latest advancements in surgical techniques to deliver optimal results. Our surgeons are trained in the most up-to-date and minimally invasive approaches for gynecomastia treatment, ensuring a safe and effective procedure.
- State-of-the-Art Facilities: Our clinic is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and adheres to the highest standards of safety and hygiene. We prioritise patient safety and comfort, providing a supportive and welcoming environment for your treatment.
- Personalised Treatment Plans: We understand that each patient is unique, and we approach gynecomastia treatment with an individualised treatment plan. Our surgeons will assess your specific condition and tailor the procedure to address your concerns and achieve natural-looking results.
- Exceptional Patient Care: Our dedicated team is committed to providing exceptional patient care throughout your treatment journey. From the initial consultation to post-operative care, we will be there to support you, answer your questions, and ensure a smooth and comfortable experience.
- Positive Patient Reviews: We take pride in the positive feedback we receive from our patients. Many individuals have had successful gynecomastia treatments at Centre for Surgery, and their testimonials speak to the quality of our services and the satisfaction of our patients.
When choosing Centre for Surgery for gynecomastia treatment, you can trust that you will be in the hands of experienced surgeons, receive personalized care, and achieve natural-looking results. Speak to one of our patient coordinators today at 020 7993 4849 or fill out the contact form below.