Most women have an intimate relationship with their breasts. However, many women are not aware of the changes the breasts go through as time passes. Maintaining healthy breasts starts with understanding the anatomy and their transformation of them. This will help you identify what is normal and when to see a professional if you have any problems. Doing so can also help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
The breasts are made up of fatty, fibrous, and glandular tissue that is within the chest wall. The fatty tissues give the breasts their size and shape, the fibrous tissue gives support and structure, and the glandular tissue is the part that produces and carries milk.
Although every women’s breasts are different, they are all made of the same parts. While both males and females both have nipples and breasts, only females have a tissue called lobes, located around the nipple. This is the part of the breasts that produce milk. Each lobe has one central duct which the milk exits from. An average female's breast weighs anywhere between 7-10 ounces and has about 12-20 lobes.
The same hormones, estrogen, and progesterone, that trigger your menstrual cycle, cause your breasts to change in size, shape and feel throughout the month. These hormones are also responsible for the tender and swollen breasts you may experience before your cycle starts. Additionally, women who may be approaching menopause or are in their late 40s and early 50s, often experience a change in their hormones that causes their breasts to appear smaller and less full.
Now, that we understand a bit more about breast makeup and how the size and shape fluctuate over the years, let’s discuss how to maintain healthy breasts. These tips and tricks can be done at any age and are great habits to start early on.
Practice Breast Awareness While you may look to touch your breast every day while you are showering or putting on your clothes for the day, it is important to perform monthly breast self-exams. This will help you become familiar with the feel of your breasts so it is easier to notice any differences. Here is a technique to try, that can be performed in front of a mirror… Look at your breasts with your arms at your sides and then raise your arms high over your head. Look for any changes in the shape and skin, any swelling, or changes in the nipples. Then rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Check for any changes, particularly on one side.
Breast Exams Depending if you have insurance or not, getting a yearly check-up is easier than ever. This usually includes a clinical breast exam, that helps your healthcare provider search for any abnormalities. In addition, if you are over the age of 40, annual mammograms are highly recommended. This helps to make sure you are not developing breast cancer.
Skin-Care Developing a healthy clean skincare routine is suggested by many breast health organizations. They advise a daily use of a rich moisturizer on the breast area and sunscreen on any areas exposed to the sun. Recommendations also include moisturizing soaps instead of drying soaps.
Healthy Habits The American Cancer Society’s guidelines on preventing cancer consist of nutrition and fitness. Focusing on whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats will do wonders for your overall health. In addition to maintaining a consistent exercise regime.
Wear the Right Bra When the breasts are not supported properly, the connective tissue will overstretch and encourage sagging. Choosing the right bra can help avoid this from happening. Women’s health specialists recommend searching for a bra that shapes your breasts and keeps them pressed against your chest wall. It is also important to note your breasts may change in size over time, so be sure to get measured from time to time.
All of these things can contribute to maintaining healthy breasts and well-being. I recommend being consistent with these habits to reduce your risk of breast cancer.