How To Identify If You Have Gynecomastia Or Chest Fat: 5 Ways To Know The Difference

by Mark Williams on June 18, 2018

How To Identify If You Have Gynecomastia Or Chest Fat: 5 Ways To Know The Difference
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You’ve noticed your chest swelling up and they’re starting to resemble those of women. But how do you know if you have gynecomastia or just chest fat?

If you want proper treatment administered you’ve got to know what you’re dealing with. While the symptoms are the same – swelling chest – they are not the same.

How to know if you have gynecomastia

There are a ton of articles online about gynecomastia and various treatments, but few are helpful since they don’t bother to distinguish between pseudogynecomastia and gynecomastia.

Unless you know the difference between the two you won’t know what approach to take and it could make your condition worse.

If you want to know whether that is fat or gynecomastia, follow steps described below.

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Ways To Check If you Have Gynecomastia

If you know that you have gynecomastia, there are steps you can take to deal with it. But first, you have to make certain what kind of man boobs you have.

1. Notice Hormonal Changes

Are you experiencing hormonal changes? More than 65% of 14-year-old males experience a buildup of tissue during puberty, so swelling of the chest is normal and will return back to normal in a year or two.

Changes in hormone levels are natural, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept the results.

If you’re no longer in your teens and have man boobs, it could be due to your being overweight or obese.

As your body accumulates fat, it is stored in various areas including your chest.

Another possible cause is medications, drugs or steroids you take.

If you’re in your late 30s and experience mood swings, loss of libido, general weakness and it is accompanied by an increasingly fatty chest, it could be due to changes in your hormones.

If you’re still not sure if it is gynecomastia or fat, consult your doctor.

2. Do a Self-examination

On the surface, it might seem like chest fat and gynecomastia are the same, but there are subtle differences that you can determine by self-examination.

If they are fatty deposits, they will look like breasts and feel soft when you touch them. Due to the excess skin formation, it has a saggy look.

Gynecomastia, on the other hand, have a stronger resemblance to a woman’s breasts, and they are also firmer. It isn’t as saggy as pseudogynecomastia, so that is another way to tell the difference.

Does it sound like the kind of self-test that women do to check if they have breast cancer?  Yes, it is, and it is effective for men too. While it may feel a bit awkward standing in front a mirror feeling your breasts, it is proven.

3. Search for Lumps

Do self examination to identify gynecomastia

Feel your chest area and feel a lump. If it is gynecomastia, you will feel a small lump below the nipple area. If left untreated this increases in size.

If there is a lump you should see a doctor immediately. It could be gynecomastia, but it may also be breast cancer. Yes, breast cancer can occur in men though it’s rare.

This part of the self-test might be scary, but it is very rare for men to get breast cancer. Chances are that lump is just gynecomastia, and it is better if you know anyway.

Be careful when looking for the lumps and check both breasts thoroughly.

4. Feel for Any Tender Spots

As you continue your self-examination, run your hand slowly along your chest and feel for any sensitive spots.

Regular fat doesn’t feel any different, but gynecomastia feels tender and/or sensitive.

The tenderness/soreness is usually felt near the nipples. Set up an appointment with your doctor right away if you feel anything out of the ordinary.

Tell your physician or medical provider if you feel pain since it could be symptomatic of other conditions.

5. Examine Your Nipples

To find out if you’ve got chest fat or gynecomastia, you have to examine your nipples. If they are puffy and erect, those are signs of gynecomastia.

You may also be able to feel the swollen area or the nipples themselves could be swollen. You just need to stand in front of a mirror and look for the signs.

If you notice these then it’s more likely you’ve got gynecomastia. See your doctor if you’re convinced that this is gynecomastia.  Do not buy any treatment, medications or supplements until your doctor has verified your findings.

What is Gynecomastia?

How gynecomastia looks like

It is a male breast condition that leads to breast tissue enlargement. The tissue is palpable or firm, extending from the nipples out.

Gynecomastia affects both breasts and is a condition associated with male glandular tissue growth and has a symmetrical occurrence.

Causes Of This Condition

Gynecomastia is caused by hormonal imbalance. Males afflicted with this condition have an excess secretion of estrogen due to a reduction in androgenic hormone production or excess estrogen production.

Estrogen is responsible for the development of breast tissues and allows the breast ducts to branch and enlarge. This hormone is also responsible for breast tissue vascularity.

When a man has gynecomastia, there is too much estrogen and not enough testosterone, and the result is man boobs.

Hormonal imbalance has many possible causes. Aside from gynecomastia, it could also be due to kidney ailments, tumors, hyperthyroidism, liver disease, and medications.

Steroids are another common cause of hormonal imbalance as it limits the amount of testosterone your body generates.

How Common is Gynecomastia?

Anyone who searches Google for how do you know if you have gynecomastia or something similar will find a lot of confusing information because some people think it is normal.

Gynecomastia is not normal, but it is common in three stages: infancy, puberty and among overweight men.

During the pregnancy stage, the placenta turns hormones to estrogenic substances, and as they enter the baby, the breast tissues get larger.

Gynecomastia also occurs during puberty when the male body undergoes changes as the male secondary characteristics develop.  This change usually happens between 10 to 14 years of age.

The last common occurrence is among the elderly, from 50 to 80 years old. During this period the accumulated fat turns into estrogen and leads to enlargement of the breast in males.

Gynecomastia Treatment

Now that you know what gynecomastia looks like it is easier to seek and find treatment. The first step is to consult your doctor to rule out other possible causes.

Even if you are certain the symptoms are similar to gynecomastia, it is better to be safe and rule out other possible causes.

Once it has been determined that it is gynecomastia you can go over the various treatment options.

An ideal option is to take supplements that inhibit estrogen and stimulate testosterone production. By taking this in the prescribed manner you’ll be able to bring your hormone levels back to normal.

If your hormonal imbalance was due to steroids, go on a Post Cycle Therapy. Your PCT plan depends entirely on what kind of steroid you took so plan accordingly.

The time it takes for your breasts to normalize will depend on the severity of your condition.

What is Pseudogynecomastia / Chest Fat?

How pseudogynecomastia or chest fat looks like

In the chest fat vs gynecomastia debate, the two are often mistaken for each other but as this guide has shown, they are not the same.

Pseudogynecomastia or lipomastia is a frequently seen condition among males and occurs due to the fatty deposits in your chest.

Unlike gynecomastia, pseudogynecomastia does not cause soreness, numbness or pain. In fact, you won’t feel any discomfort, and that is how it should be.

After all, these are just fats that have been deposited in your chest the same way fat is distributed in your belly and other body parts.

Because there is no pain or discomfort, few men find the need to go to their doctors and seek treatment. While the condition can be embarrassing, there is no serious complication that will arise from this.


Pseudogynecomastia occurs because there is too much adipose tissue. When you’re overweight the aromatase enzyme converts a higher amount of estrogen than normal, and this is what leads to the swelling of the tissues.

Difference from Gynecomastia

Aside from what has already been stated above, pseudogynecomastia does not produce palpable mass. There is usually no need to do any hormonal examination unless the patient asks for it or is experiencing other symptoms.


There is no need for medical treatment for pseudogynecomastia. There is no hormonal imbalance that needs to be checked.

The best way to deal with this is to go on a diet and lose weight. By working out you’ll lose unwanted pounds and fat, not just on your chest but the rest of your body.

Conclusion – What Options You Have

If you look up how do you know if you have gynecomastia online, you’re going to find a lot of information but many can confuse you instead of helping you.

Many also don’t take into account the difference between gynecomastia and chest fat which could have repercussions for the treatment.

I hope that after reading this article you know the difference so you can take the right action to get rid of this issue.

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