There are things every woman should know when it comes to their breasts. From puberty, to pregnancy, to aging, breasts are constantly changing. But what makes your breasts “normal”?
Keep reading to find out the top 10 facts all girls should know about their “girls”…
- Breasts are not symmetric. In fact, it is very unusual for a woman to have breasts that are exactly the same size. Some women can have one breast that is a full cup size bigger than the other! As Dr. V always says, “breasts are sisters, not twins”!
- Breasts come in all shapes and sizes. Breast shapes vary from person to person, and depend on your genes. It is also normal for breasts to have some irregularities and lumps, especially if you are very thin. It is very important to inform your doctor if you notice a new lump or a lump that doesn’t come and go with your period, and it’s incredibly important to learn how to do a proper self breast exam.
- On average, breasts contain 3.5% of your body’s fat. Breasts are made up of lobes, ducts, fat, and fibrous tissue. The lobes branch out like a wheel around your nipple, and contain glands and alveoli that help in the production and storage of milk. The rest, and the majority, of the breast is composed of fat. As we age, the lobes and glands shrink and fat becomes the predominant tissue in your breasts. This is why breasts tend to feel firm when you’re young, and softer as you get older.
- Losing weight can make your breasts shrink. Since we learned above that breasts are composed mostly of fat, it is important to realize that if you lose weight (particularly fat), your breasts may shrink. There is no way to burn fat from a specific area, and not burn fat from your breasts. However, that being said, working out and toning your arms and chest can help tighten your muscles around the breasts helping them look perky.
- The darker area around the nipple (known as the areola) varies in size. The size of areola can be as small as a dime, to as large as the palm of your hand, and usually darkens with age. It is also normal for the areolae to darken and even enlarge when you are pregnant or nursing.
- Breastfeeding is possible after breast augmentation. Breast augmentation surgery does not affect your ability to breastfeed, but being pregnant can affect the position of your breast implants. When you’re breasts swell and stretch during pregnancy and nursing, the overall shape and size of your natural breast tissue may change, and this may change the way your breast implants look. If you are interested in breast augmentation surgery, but you are thinking about getting pregnant soon, it’s probably best to hold off on the operation until after your children. If you’re not planning on being pregnant within the next year or so, there’s no harm in having your surgery before getting pregnant. Check out some Before & After Photos here… click here.
- Breasts droop as the body ages. Unfortunately, this is true for every woman, even if they have never had kids. When you are younger, your breasts have a low ratio of fat to glandular tissue (which makes your breasts perky and firm), and Cooper’s ligaments help hold the breast shape together. As you age, milk producing glands begin to shrink and Cooper’s ligaments loose their strength, causing breasts to droop. If you find your girls hanging a bit too low for comfort, consider a breast lift (mastopexy) to restore a youthful, rounder, and perkier shape, and don’t forget about the importance of good support.
- Breasts swell and change during ‘that time of the month’. Breast pain and the appearance of lumps are common during your period. About 2/3 of all women experience something called Cyclic Mastalgia, which is breast pain beginning before your period and slowly fading away as your period starts. This is more common in younger women and is thought to be caused by hormonal changes. When you are pregnant, your breasts also enlarge in preparation for milk production and storage. Once you begin to nurse, your breasts can swell by more than 1 pound!
- Silicone breast implants do not cause breast cancer. The FDA approved the use of silicone implants after numerous studies showed that there was no direct link between the implants and cancer. However, there have been recent reports of a possible association between breast implants and a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (ALCL). These cases are extremely rare, only 34 cases reported worldwide out of 15 million women with breast implants. This means that you have a better chance of being bitten by a shark or struck by lightening than you do of having ALCL if you get breast implants. The possible association between ALCL and breast implants is still being researched, and as of this point in time, there is no proven direct link between the two.
- Nipple and breast stimulation does more than increase arousal. Stimulation triggers the body to release endorphins, creating an effect similar to a “runner’s high”. As your heart rate and blood pressure rise during sex, tiny blood vessels within the breast tissue become engorged. This causes your breasts to “blush” which is the reason plastic surgeons advise women to not have sex for at least 2 weeks after any breast surgery (you wouldn’t want any unnecessary bleeding from those tiny engorged blood vessels).
If you have any breast questions or concerns, or if you are interested in any kind of cosmetic breast surgery (breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lift), please don’t hesitate to contact me!
Shea Slaymaker, PA-C
Physician Assistant, Beauty Expert
Manhattan Aesthetic Surgery