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Gynecomastia vs Chest fat: What is the difference

Gynecomastia or enlarged male breasts can be a disturbing and troubling condition in itself. When a man does not feel comfortable with his chest, it can lower his self-esteem and confidence. At the first glimpse, it may be hard to distinguish between gynecomastia vs chest fat. Read on as we delve into how you can tell the two conditions apart and ways to get rid of either of them.

Table of Contents

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  1. What is Gynecomastia?
  2. How Does Obesity Cause Gynecomastia?
  3. Difference Between Gynecomastia & Fat
  4. Treatment For Gynecomastia
  5. How to Get Rid of Chest Fat

Take Away

What is gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a condition that is characterized by an increase in breast glandular and fatty tissue in men.  It is essentially a non cancerous breast enlargement in men. 

A clear distinction between gynecomastia vs chest fat is essential to understand the best ways to treat and get rid of them. Your doctor will perform tests including the gynecomastia pinch test to tell the difference between the two. In gynaecomastia, the doctor is able to feel the gland between his fingers. Sometimes, gynaecomastia is predominantly fatty and gland may not be felt. Nipple and areola size are enlarged in gynaecomastia, whether glandular or fatty. But in increased chest fat nipple and areola size is normal.

The causes of gynecomastia include:

  1. An imbalance of the testosterone and estrogen hormones which may occur as part of normal development or due to certain disease states or intake of medicines.
  2. It is  normal for adolescent males to develop gynaecomastia. In most, it resolves but in 30% of males it may persist. This is not indicative of any hormonal imbalance and it is a normal physiological condition. 
  3. Certain conditions may cause gynecomastia such as –
  • Tumors of the adrenal gland
  • Disorders of the liver 
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Alcoholism
  • Testicular cancer
  • Prostate disorders
  1. Certain medications also may contribute to gynecomastia 
  • Drugs used to treat depression and anxiety
  • Antibacterial and antifungal medications
  • Medications for heartburn and peptic ulcer
  • Drug abuse 
  • The intake of steroids that build muscle

The difference among gynecomastia vs chest fat can be tricky and is best made by a plastic surgeon.


There are three types of gynecomastia depending on the duration of the condition are 

  1. Florid
  2. Fibrous
  3. Intermediate

Florid gynecomastia:

  •  It is usually seen in men with an early stage of the condition – about four months
  • There is an increase in the amount of tissue
  • An increased blood supply to the area is observed on examination

Fibrous gynecomastia:

  • When present for over a year, the type progresses to fibrous
  • The area shows fibrotic changes and has lesser ducts

Intermediate gynecomastia:

  • This type presents with features of both the types
  • It may be more challenging to treat

 A clear demarcation between gynecomastia vs chest fat will be made by your doctor who will then proceed with ways to tackle it.

Based on its intensity, gynecomastia may be graded into :

Grade I – There is a small enlargement but there is no excess skin over the chest

Grade 2a- The enlargement is small to moderate but there is no excess skin over the chest

Grade 2b- Moderate enlargement of the breast with excess skin over the chest

Grade 3- Marked Enlargement of the chest with excess skin over the chest.

Knowing the difference between gynecomastia vs chest fat is primary to go about treating them and getting rid of either.

Symptoms of Gynecomastia

The symptoms of gynecomastia include:

  1. Pain
  2. Enlarged breast tissue
  3. Tenderness in one or both the breasts
  4. Sensitive nipples when they rub against the clothes
  5. The breasts feel firm and /or rubbery in consistency
  6. Enlarged nipple and areola. 
  7. Puffiness around nipple

Distinguishing between chest fat vs gynecomastia can be done only by your surgeon who will decide on the best course of treatment .

Also Read: What Is Teenage Gynecomastia And How TO Get Rid Of It?

How does obesity cause Gynecomastia?

Often gynecomastia is common in obese men. This is because:

  • An increase in the body weight increases the estrogen levels 
  • The increased estrogen level stimulates the growth of the breast tissue
  • A gynecomastia pinch test will make it clear to reach at a diagnosis
  • Obesity causes an increase in the amount of  subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin)
  • This also causes an enlargement of the breast tissue
  • The two conditions look similar and may be difficult to differentiate.


Difference between Gynecomastia and fat

Making a distinction between gynecomastia vs chest fat is important to treat them at the right time and achieve the look that you have always wanted.


When a difference between gynecomastia vs chest fat is established, it becomes easy to deal with and choose the right treatment modality.

Treatment of Gynecomastia

After confirming the cause of the enlargement, gynecomastia is treatable with the following interventions :

  1. Medications
  2. Surgery


The medications used to treat gynecomastia are:

  • Often disease states such as endocrine disorders and hormonal imbalances need hormonal supplementation to correct the disorder. This may or may not reverse gynaecomastia. But it is essential to correct these disorders if present, before gynaecomastia surgery.
  • Withdrawal or decreasing the dose of certain medications can also reverse the changes as gynaecomastia might be a side effect of these medications.
  • Treatment of disease states also corrects gynaecomastia which may be a sign of these disease states.
  • There are no medications specifically for gynaecomastia and none should be taken without prescription by a doctor. Treating conditions associated with gynaecomastia, if present, can treat gynaecomastia. But, there are no medications specifically for gynaecomastia.
  • If no cause for gynaecomastia is present, then it is physiological I.e. normal development induced. In this case, to improve the look of the chest only surgery is indicated.

Gynecomastia surgery 

  • In men with persistent gynecomastia, breast reduction surgery is the best option
  • This surgery helps the client to achieve a flatter and firmer chest contour
  • The distinction and diagnosis of gyncomastia vs chest fat will be made prior to intervention
  • The procedure is performed only after establishing the cause of gynecomastia
  • Today gynecomastia surgery is effectively performed in a minimally invasive manner
  • The results of gynecomastia are improved and enhanced when combined with healthy lifestyle changes following the procedure

On an average, gynecomastia surgery cost in Delhi ranges from Rs 70000 to about Rs 95000 depending on the location, type and extent of correction required.

How to get rid of chest fat

Eat wisely

  • Try to include a lot of vegetables and fruits
  • Limit processed foods
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Include whole grains and millets 
  • One of the most important ways to get rid of chest fat is to eat wisely

Keep an exercise routine

  • Stick to a fitness schedule at least 4 to 5 times a week
  • Exercise helps you the lose the extra fat
  • Testosterone levels improve with exercise and help to correct the hormonal imbalance 
  • Some form of cardio such as running, jogging etc will boost your benefits
  • The use of free weights and exercise such as push ups will help to tone your chest

Also Read: Exercise For Gynecomastia

  Reduce the intake of alcohol

  • Alcohol has a lot of calories that may contribute to fat accumulation
  • Excessive alcohol intake leads to weight gain
  • Overall weight gain may lead to increased fat levels and eventually promote chest fat
  • Intake of alcohol lowers your testosterone levels and paves way for fat accumulation


At Handa cosmetic plastic surgery clinic we are a highly trained team and we work out a customised plan that will take care of your body concerns. With over 100 beds and the best in technology, we provide superior quality of care to all our patients. Schedule an appointment to know how we can help you achieve the body you always wanted.


Dr Arjun Handa

Renowned board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Arjun Handa is well-known for his proficiency in cosmetic operations, reconstructive breast surgery, and body contouring. He received his training at the esteemed Army Hospital Research and Referral, where he gained a wealth of knowledge in plastic surgery. Dr. Arjun Handa is dedicated to imparting his expertise and developing the next generation of plastic surgeons, and he is an honoured fellow of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. His practise embodies the fundamental principles of professionalism and ethics, which are derived from the 40-year medical tradition of his distinguished family. Breast reductions, augmentations, and body contouring are among Dr. Arjun Handa's specialties.

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