Difference Between Chest Fat and Gynecomastia (With Table)

An enlargement of the pectoral region in males is more normal than we might think. It affects almost 40-60% of the male population. It has several different causes, the most common of which is fat buildup above the pectoral muscles or the enlargement of breast tissues in men during puberty.

Chest Fat vs Gynecomastia

The difference between chest fat and gynecomastia is that chest fat is caused by the excess fat formation in the pectoral area whereas gynecomastia is a condition wherein there is a hormonal imbalance in adolescents going through puberty, which causes the breast tissues to develop more than what is usual in men. 

Men, after puberty, can naturally develop fat on their chest due to lack of exercise or because of following a high-calorific and unhealthy diet which causes excess fats to be stored in the adipose tissues of the chest.

When this extra fat isn’t burnt through physical exertion, it builds up and appears as external protrusions. 

Gynecomastia however is a clinical condition recognized by doctors. It is caused by the overdevelopment of breast tissues during puberty or early youth years.

The primary reason for this condition is not known, but in most cases, it occurs due to an estrogen level disbalance in men. When it is produced in excess, it may lead to gynecomastia also colloquially knows as “man boobs”.

Comparison Table Between Chest Fat and Gynecomastia

Parameters of comparisonChest fatGynecomastia
CauseFat builds up over the pectoral muscle, giving it a breast-like appearance.Overdevelopment of breast tissues in men due to various reasons.
Reason of occurrenceAbsence of movement or exercise, unhealthy or high calorific diet, or sometimes even genetic. Happens because of a hormonal imbalance or a side/after effect of medication.
RiskIt is unhealthy to have excess fat in one’s body and hence a risk to one’s health.Benign condition that doesn’t pose any threat to health.
CurabilityCan be cured through exercise and cutting down calories in one’s diet.Can’t be cured essentially, but the appearance can be flattened and made to look less prominent
SymptomsSoft fat formation on the chest which doesn’t cause discomfort or painA lump or fatty tissue may form under the nipples, usually sore and uncomfortable. 

What is Chest Fat?

Every human body has its own form of fat distribution. When excess fat deposits over the chest region of males, it starts forming a protruding breast-like structure. This may simply be genetic or caused by consuming excess calories which led to fat formation and distribution above the pectoral muscles of males. 

Not exercising and giving your body excessive rest may also cause fats to build up in one’s body. Following a calorie deficit diet, which is a controlled diet that cuts down upon carbohydrates and fats, can help get rid of the fat. Exercising and integrating full-body workouts like cardio can also aid in controlling fat formation. 

Fat forms when there is an imbalance between the calories we intake and the ones we expend or “burn”. This is why it is extremely important to control our diet and to exercise regularly.

When we consume lesser calories than what we lose while physical movement is when the fat in our body starts being used up for energy. This makes us lose fats successfully and makes us healthier and less prone to diseases.

Chest fat is extremely common and hence there is no need to worry about it. If a healthy diet and a consistent fitness routine are followed, it can easily be reduced. 

What is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a clinical condition wherein the individual facing it has enlarged and overdeveloped breast tissues. It is not uncommon and affects up to 65% of the male adult population and more than 70% of males going through puberty. It is also present in newborn babies and can even develop in rarer cases amongst grown men. 

It is a non-cancerous disease and hence is quite harmless. The causes, however not well known, can be boiled down to either hormonal imbalance, or side effects of certain medications or diseases. 

A myth surrounding this condition is that it is somehow related to breast cancer which it is not. However, it is always safe to run tests and assure safety, even though males’ chances of breast cancer are negligible. It may cause discomfort in the chest along with a lumpy formation. If faced, checking in with a doctor is advised. 

It is not entirely curable, but attempts can be made to reduce the protrusion and make it seem flatter by focusing on working on the chest via exercise. This would get rid of any chest fat formation and reduce the size of the breast.

Hormonal treatment and in rare cases, surgery, can also be performed. In the end, it is quite normal and can be left untouched unless it causes discomfort. 

Main Difference Between Chest Fat and Gynecomastia

While these two may sound and look similar in nature, they are actually quite different from each other. 

  1. Primarily, the composition of what causes these “man-boobs” to occur is different. In the case of chest fat, it is excess stored fats in the adipose tissues built up in the chest, and in gynecomastia, it is tissues that are overdeveloped due to hormones. 
  2. Estrogen imbalance and medical side effects may cause gynecomastia, however, a stationary and unhealthy life can lead to chest fat.
  3. Both don’t pose any threat to health, but gynecomastia can sometimes cause discomfort to the person affected. 
  4. Chest fat can be cured if the individual follows a healthy lifestyle, whereas gynecomastia is often untreatable unless medical intervention is taken. 
  5. The appearance of the two may vary a bit too, as the fat collection and the developed breast tissue don’t form the same shape over the pectoral region. 

Conclusion

Chest fat and gynecomastia often confused as the same and used interchangeably in certain contexts are actually quite varied. The appearance, howsoever similar, has its differences as well. It is important to know what one is affected with for a focused and correct cure.

One must not worry too much if such conditions affect them, and rather look for treatment and learn to be confident in their own bodies. Because it is only caused in males, it is advisable for men to avoid conditions like chest fat beforehand by following a nutritious diet and doing plenty of exercises.

Because one cannot avoid gynecomastia, it is important to not let it affect the person’s worth and image of themselves and instead find the confidence to overcome it by treatment or whichsoever route they are taking to get rid of their “man boobs”.

In conclusion, chest fat and gynecomastia are common physical occurrences that make the chest of males appear as developed breasts. Whereas it is quite different in nature, cause, and style of treatment and should be handled differently to avoid wrong methods of cure. 

References

  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMcp070677
  2. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0168932
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