Gynecomastia And Pseudo Gynecomastia 

Do you struggle with enlarged breasts? Are you doing all you can to manage your weight, and nothing is working? Do you wonder if it is gynecomastia or pseudo-gynecomastia? Are you trying to determine the difference and how to tell which condition you might have? 

This guide details all the information you will need about gynecomastia and pseudo-gynecomastia. You can learn what they are, what causes them, the symptoms, and potential treatment options. 

What Is Gynecomastia and Pseudo Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia and Pseudo Gynecomastia  

Gynecomastia is a condition that causes the swelling of breasts in males. It is typically a lump that grows under the nipples and feels firm, like fibrous, compared to normal, fatty tissue. 

Pseudo gynecomastia, often called “fake gynecomastia,” is the growth of excess fatty tissue. It is when the male breasts become enlarged due to unwanted fat. 

Key Differences Between Gynecomastia And Pseudo Gynecomastia 

Understanding how to distinguish between gynecomastia and pseudo-gynecomastia can help you determine your condition. The following table provides the primary differences:

GynecomastiaPseudo Gynecomastia
Caused by excess glandular tissueCaused by excess fatty adipose tissue
It can be painful and tenderThere is no pain or tenderness
Firm to the touchSoft to the touch
Caused by hormonal imbalancesCaused by obesity
Nipple discharge can occurNo nipple discharge

Causes Of Gynecomastia

Causes Of Gynecomastia 

The cause of gynecomastia is the first step to determining if you may have the condition once you notice any symptoms. Take note of the following reasons that could lead to gynecomastia. 

Hormonal Imbalances 

Hormonal imbalance is the leading cause of gynecomastia in male breasts. Men produce testosterone, which is vital to developing and maintaining their masculine physique and bodily functions. When testosterone levels are low or there is a deficiency, estrogen production remains intact. This leads to the growth and swelling of breast tissue in the chest area. 

Estrogen is primarily a female hormone; however, males also produce it in small doses. When estrogen levels are high due to medications, obesity, puberty, etc., it creates an imbalance with testosterone. Anytime testosterone is reduced or estrogen spikes, there will be a possibility of gynecomastia. 


Specific medications like antidepressants, chemotherapy, ulcer medication, antibiotics, and growth hormones can cause gynecomastia. These medications include estrogen-like properties, increasing estrogen in the body as a side-effect, resulting in an imbalance in hormones, leading to swelling of the breast tissue. 


Diseases like kidney failure, liver ailments, and their associated treatments can result in gynecomastia. The illnesses tend to disrupt endocrine functions, and medications can cause weakened immune systems and nutrition deficiencies. All these factors affect proper hormone production, resulting in conditions like gynecomastia

Causes Of Pseudo Gynecomastia

Causes Of Pseudo Gynecomastia 

Unlike gynecomastia with various causes, pseudo gynecomastia has its own straightforward cause. Excess fat growth in the human body, specifically in the male breast, does not occur without reason. The cause of pseudo gynecomastia is explained below: 

Excess Fat 

Excess fat in the body, specifically in the midbody region, builds up. Unless the body burns that fat, it will eventually need somewhere to go. This is when pseudo-gynecomastia occurs. The built-up fat manifests itself behind, around, and underneath the nipples in male breasts. 

The excess fat Is typically caused by obesity. A highly unhealthy lifestyle and lack of proper diet and exercise lead to obesity. Obesity causes fatty tissue to accumulate in the body, and when present in the chest area, it will present itself as breasts in the male body. 

Symptoms Of Gynecomastia 

One of the simplest ways to tell between gynecomastia and pseudo-gynecomastia is by noticing the symptoms. There are no symptoms of pseudo-gynecomastia other than enlarged, fatty tissue breasts. Gynecomastia shows various signs as described below: 

Swelling And Tenderness 

Swelling of the breast will feel firm (like a lump behind the nipples), and discomfort and tenderness will occur. You may even experience some pain. Pseudo gynecomastia feels soft and saggy and won’t be painful. 

Nipple Discharge  

Gynecomastia can cause nipple discharge in severe cases. Any fluid from the nipples with enlarged breasts could mean a case of gynecomastia. Pseudo gynecomastia will not cause nipple discharge or other skin and tissue discomfort and conditions. 

Enlarged Areola 

An enlarged areola is commonly associated with gynecomastia. It is the glandular tissue that swells in male breasts. That means it is firmer and requires the skin to stretch more as it grows. This often results in enlarged areolas.  

Diagnoses Of Gynecomastia And Pseudo Gynecomastia 

Whether you have gynecomastia or pseudo-gynecomastia, as a male with growing breasts, you want to get checked out for a diagnosis. That way, you know how to move forward with treatment. Here are ways in which you can get a diagnosis: 

Physical Examination 

A doctor or plastic surgeon can tell whether you have one of the conditions through a physical examination. You may do this yourself at home, but a professional can provide a more accurate diagnosis since they are medically trained to understand the conditions with associated symptoms. 

Blood Tests 

Blood tests are a good indication of what’s going on in your body. Your doctor may request to run blood tests to determine your condition, possible underlying health issues, and any associated risks. 

Imaging Tests 

Imaging tests like scans, x-rays, and MRIs can determine to pick up on conditions inside the body. Your doctor will likely book you for a scan to determine if there is a buildup of fat or glandular tissue in the breasts. They can quickly tell which condition you may have through imaging tests. 

Treatments Of Gynecomastia And Pseudo Gynecomastia  

Gynecomastia and pseudo gynecomastia can be treated through different methods such as: 


Medications can help reduce the symptoms of gynecomastia. Hormone therapy through anti-estrogens like Tamoxifen, aromatase inhibitors, androgens, and supplements can reduce estrogen and improve testosterone, balancing the hormones. Medications are unlikely to help pseudo-gynecomastia since the cause of it is excess fatty tissue. 


Surgery is a treatment that can help gynecomastia and pseudo-gynecomastia. Traditional surgery and liposuction are options to eliminate excess and unwanted fatty tissue, and skilled plastic surgeons provide these treatments. 

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can help to eliminate mind cases of gynecomastia. A healthy diet, exercise, supplements, and reduced stress will help to balance the male hormones and reduce symptoms of the condition. Lifestyle changes can help reduce fat in pseudo-gynecomastia patients if the situation is mild or starting up. Severe pseudo-gynecomastia cases can only be treated with surgery. 


The key difference between gynecomastia and pseudo-gynecomastia is that the former is an enlargement of the male breasts due to excess glandular tissue. Pain, discomfort, and discharge may be present. The latter is a buildup of fatty adipose tissue. It is soft tissue and is caused by obesity. 

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