How do I know if I have Gynecomastia or Fat in my Chest (Pseudogynecomastia)?

Amaris B.

Archive Date:

April 21, 2020

Gynecomastia is sometimes confused with pseudogynecomastia. Learn about the differences between gynecomastia vs. typical fat chest today.

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Blog last updated on:

January 4, 2023

How do I know if I have Gynecomastia or Pseudogynecomastia?

Gynecomastia affects 40 to 60% of adolescent males, making it a relatively common condition. Despite being so, it is not an openly discussed issue for the most part due to its "embarrassing nature" – a stigma that often overshadows its truth and, at times, urgent medical condition. An individual should not feel discouraged from seeking help, as it can be a much-needed relief.

Gynecomastia is brought on by hormonal imbalance. The causes vary, including genetics and the side effects of taking steroids for bodybuilding and medications for medical conditions. The latter includes medicines for heart, stomach and even mental issues. One interesting fact to note and remember is that it is not a condition associated only with an obese person. Any male with predispositions, such as genetics and medicine consumption habit/need, is susceptible to the condition.

How do you know if you have gynecomastia?

Pain or tenderness, which may increase over time and swelling are just two possible telltale signs of gynecomastia. To the touch, it feels like a rubbery lump under the nipple affecting one or both. Indicative appearance includes a resemblance to that of a woman's breasts.

Often, gynecomastia is confused with the expected presence of fat tissue, particularly among overweight young men. Hence, an accurate diagnosis and conclusion are best left in the hands of a qualified doctor.

How do you know if it's fat in the chest (pseudogynecomastia)?

An individual may conclude that given the possible telltale signs, they are suffering from gynecomastia. It could be a wrong assumption. They could, in reality, be experiencing what is known as pseudogynecomastia. Men, in general, tend to accumulate fat in the chest and abdomen regions.

When this fat accumulates in excess around the chest area, it renders a puffy and swollen appearance, which is called pseudogynecomastia. Dr. Ivan Puah, our Medical Director who has treated many gynecomastia patients, observed that "most men who came in with complaints of pseudogynecomastia were shown to have true gynecomastia after medical assessment." This reiterates the essential need to seek qualified assessment and help. That fat in the chest also has enlarged breasts glands.

Does Pseudogynecomastia go away?

Pseudogynecomastia is breasts enlargement caused by the accumulation of fat in the chest. In theory, the male breasts fat tissues can be improved with exercise and weight loss. However, in many patients, male breasts fat can be rather resistant to weight fluctuation, so losing weight may not lead to significant improvement.

Possible Gynecomastia Symptoms

The main gynecomastia symptoms include the enlargement of the glandular tissue in the breasts and tenderness experienced around the breast and the nipple. Possible gynecomastia symptoms include nipple discharge in one or both breasts.

In true gynecomastia, glandular tissue may develop in one or both breasts. This tissue may be located directly behind the nipple. To check for gynecomastia symptoms, gently feel your breast with your fingertips. Should you suffer from true gynecomastia, you should feel a soft, rubbery lump in one or both breasts.

There are a variety of reasons that contribute to gynecomastia. Ageing, side effects of medication, hormonal imbalance and a dip in testosterone level are common culprits for the condition. While gynecomastia symptoms are common during puberty due to hormonal changes, if they do not go away when one reaches adulthood, surgical intervention would be the answer to counter the condition.

Can VASER Lipo  get rid of fat in the chest (pseudogynecomastia) successfully?

VASER Lipo, a tissue-selective fat reduction procedure, is the treatment choice for those suffering from pseudogynecomastia (excess fat in the chest). Small incisions are made on the area to be treated and infiltrated with anaesthetic fluid during the process. Subsequently, Dr Ivan Puah utilises the VASER probe that transmits ultrasonic sound wave energy to the targeted fat tissues to emulsify the stubborn fat. Once the fat cells are liquefied, they are removed via suction cannulas specially made for this procedure. 

As VASER Lipo is tissue-selective, it only targets fat tissues, preserving the health of nerves, blood vessels and other important connective tissues. Therefore, post-treatment recovery is easy with minimal downtime because only the fat tissues are targeted and removed. Bruising and swelling are minimised with this procedure. As VASER Lipo is a form of liposuction (albeit an improved form of liposuction), it can only be performed by doctors trained and accredited by the Ministry of Health (MOH) Singapore.

As a proven clinical treatment for pseudogynecomastia, many men have benefited from its results as VASER Lipo permanently remove fat in the chest and can enable the liposuction doctor to sculpt the chest into a masculine appearance. While this is certainly good news for those afflicted with the condition, bear in mind to practice thorough research when seeking help.

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