The Common Symptoms of Gynecomastia

fat man boob

Story at-a-glance -

  • Obviously, the most common sign is enlargement in the breast area. The formal definition of this condition is having breast tissue that’s greater than 0.5 centimeter (cm) in diameter
  • The symmetry of the breasts may also be different in individuals. In most cases, gynecomastia is bilateral — meaning both breasts are enlarged

Gynecomastia is a condition that is physically visible and, for some men, can be difficult to hide. Obviously, the most common sign is enlargement in the breast area. The formal definition of this condition is having breast tissue that's greater than 0.5 centimeter (cm) in diameter.1

However, not all instances of breast enlargement may be true gynecomastia. Here's how to properly determine if your condition is gynecomastia or something else.

Gynecomastia Is Not the Same as Having Fatty Breasts

One common misconception about gynecomastia is that people who are obese or who have fat deposits in their chest area have it. But gynecomastia does not refer to enlargement of fatty tissues in the breast — rather, that is a condition called pseudogynecomastia or lipomastia. With gynecomastia, it is the glandular tissue that increases in size.2 Hence, exercising or losing weight may not work to get rid of gynecomastia, as it won't reduce the amount of breast tissue.3

The first sign of gynecomastia is having a lump of fatty tissue under the nipple, or nipples if the condition presents on both sides.4 Other telltale symptoms of gynecomastia can include tenderness and breast sensitivity. It may also cause the areola, or the darkened skin around the nipple, to grow in diameter.5 However, this condition does not commonly cause severe pain.

The symmetry of the breasts may also be different in individuals. In most cases, gynecomastia is bilateral — meaning both breasts are enlarged. However, it may also be unilateral, with only one breast tissue being enlarged, while the other is normal in size.

What Sets Gynecomastia Apart From Male Breast Cancer?

Because the first sign of gynecomastia in most males is having a lump of tender or sore fatty tissue under the nipple, many men often become alarmed and immediately fear that they have breast cancer. However, having "man boobs" is not necessarily a sign of breast cancer, although most doctors would conduct certain tests to rule out this condition.

Furthermore, breast cancer may have other telltale signs. With breast cancer, in most cases, only one side of the breast is affected, and the lumping is not necessarily centered around the nipple. It also feels hard or firm, and may occur with skin dimpling, nipple discharge and retraction of the nipple. The underarm lymph nodes may also become enlarged.6

If These Symptoms Appear, Consult a Doctor Immediately

Because gynecomastia can be a source of embarrassment and may cause men to lose their confidence, it is highly recommended to consult a physician to properly diagnose this condition. You may be asked to undergo several tests for better diagnosis. Although it generally goes away, there are efficient strategies to ease gynecomastia quicker.

However, take note that there are some symptoms that you should be wary of. Consult your physician if you experience unusual and persistent swelling, pain, tenderness and nipple discharge, or a combination of these symptoms. Chances are your condition may warrant further examination to rule out other illnesses.

MORE ABOUT GYNECOMASTIA

Gynecomastia: Introduction

What Is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia Symptoms

Gynecomastia Causes

Gynecomastia Types

Gynecomastia Treatment

Gynecomastia Surgery

Gynecomastia Diet

Gynecomastia Prevention

Gynecomastia FAQ



< Previous

What Is Gynecomastia?

Next >

Gynecomastia Causes

Click Here and be the first to comment on this article
Post your comment