One moob problem, but two types of condition. Which do you have? There can be confusion, since pseudogynecomastia can look very much like real gynecomastia, but it basically comes down to two types of tissue: fat and gland.
Pseudogynecomastia is the type of gynecomastia that is associated with obesity, and the term is used to distinguish it between, so-called ‘true gynecomastia’, which is a hormone-related condition and is not caused by being overweight.
The theory is that if you have man-breasts because of weight issues i.e. psuedogynecomastia; it is pure fat tissue that is the problem. With true gynecomastia – then it is pure gland tissue (due to hormonal imbalances) that is giving you grief.
In reality, things are not so clear-cut. Both pseudo and gyno male-breasts can be made up of gland, fat, and a combination of both, mixed in together. In fact, even a normal male chest will usually have a combination of fat and gland tissue (although in very small amounts) as well as muscle.
Both fat and gland tissue can be soft or hard, so it can be misleading to rely on the ‘firmness’ or ‘rubbery’ feel of your chest, as an indication of the genuine condition.
So what’s the difference then?
From a physical point of view, what really distinguishes between the two, are the proportions of the tissue present.
With pseudogynecomastia, most of the tissue accumulated in the chest, is fat. The good thing about that is that a significant amount of it can be burned off, over time, with a combination of exercise and a sensible diet. Although it’s impossible to spot-reduce fat in specific areas of the human body, losing weight overall will help to reduce chest fat.
With gynecomastia – the key characteristic of the condition is the presence of a significant amount of glandular tissue underneath the nipple areas of the chest. Being overweight, or relatively lean, will dictate the level of fat tissue attached to the gland tissue, but there will be gland tissue there – and this cannot be burned off with diet and exercise.
Increasing muscle mass in the chest area won’t affect glandular tissue either, and can highlight the problem by pushing fat and gland towards the surface.
The areola (nipple area) can also become enlarged as growth of connective tissues can occur beneath it and this is another physical characteristic that can identify gynecomastia.