What Your Boobs Are Telling You About Your Health
October 12, 2017|María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards
As essential parts of our body, breasts can also talk to us about our overall health. So pay attention to them. Every change or sensation might be a sign of something else.
Have you ever wondered if there's a purpose for boobs besides breastfeeding and pleasure? Now, I’m not saying that’s not relevant or anything of the sort, what I mean is that if there’s something more these wonderful parts of our body are capable of? Somehow I’ve always had the impression that although they’re an important part of our anatomy that receives an extreme amount of attention, they’re sometimes neglected them from anything that’s not related to their evolutionary and pleasure function.
I was looking up on the Internet to what were the most frequently asked questions about boobs, and the results are quite interesting. For instance, those doubts and questions made by men were mostly focused on their appearance and sensations. Contrary to that women’s most common questions had to do with health and more specifically, breast cancer. Somehow, although the huge amount of information we’re having on the subject is helping us to be more cautious it’s also created some sort of paranoia whenever something looks or feels different. For example, in one website there was this woman who was terribly concerned because a little hair appeared on the edge of her nipple and she just assumed it was cancer.
I do think it’s amazing to be concerned about our health and that constant threat that this terrible disease represents. So going back to my initial question, yes there’s something else breasts work for, and that’s to check out our health. Our body is a complex system that’s all connected, and in a way, our boobs can really tell us a lot of things about our overall health, not only if there’s a tumor or not. So, if you want to know what your boobs might be trying to tell you to take a look at these common signs:
If they’re growing
I know you won’t want to hear this, but if your boobs start growing all of a sudden it’s most likely that you’re gaining weight. Since our boobs mainly consist of fat cells and glandular tissue, they grow easily when we’re accumulating fats. Now, it could also mean you’re about to start your period or a hormonal imbalance produced by pregnancy or birth control pills. If you can’t find the reason why this is happening, go pay a visit to your doctor.
If you notice that your breasts are getting smaller, it could be due to an important weight loss. It could also be related to your period. Once your period is done, your boobs get smaller. Now, if the reduction in size is considerable and none of the other reasons fit with your case, there’s a slight possibility you’re presenting an imbalance with your thyroid gland. In that case, you should really check the situation with your doctor to discard any disorder.
This can be related to so many things that are kind of dull that you shouldn’t really worry about. Maybe your bra isn’t clean enough or, believe it or not, it could be the wrong size, so it doesn't really hold your boobs. It could also be sweat that irritates your underboob, or you may have an allergy to the soaps you use to wash your clothes, your body lotion, or even food. Now, if it’s an allergic reaction to your clothes, you should double check that they're well cleaned and change the products you’re using. Remember that the skin on the breast area is way more delicate and that’s why it’s presenting the irritation, but that doesn’t mean the rest of your skin should get itchy as well.
Change of shape
This is probably one of the most asked subjects when it comes to breast cancer symptoms. We’re genetically programmed to have a determined shape of boobs, but this doesn’t mean that their shape can’t change with the passing of time. Also, remember our body isn't really symmetrical. For instance, when we’re in our period, one boob could get bigger than the other, even in a more perceptible way. However, if the difference is really noticeable, it could be a sign of a tumor, not precisely malignant, but still worth to pay a visit to the doctor.
Lumps and bumps
Again, this is probably the first sign to rush to the hospital, but there are many reasons why lumps are formed in our breast tissue. Remember your boobs are mainly made of fat and glands, so little lumps can be formed due to hormonal changes or even our diet. According to Lauren Streicher (clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University), menstrual cycles can increase the hormone charge, causing small cysts that are filled with fluid, which is completely normal. Still, if you don’t feel comfortable and you’re worried, don’t think about it twice and pay a visit to the gynecologist.
Like the first and second points, stretch marks are the visible way our skin tells us there’s a weight loss or gain. So basically when the skin stretches, these marks appear. Now, this is common when we put ourselves into weird yo-yo effect diets that make us lose and gain weight in a short period of time, but it could also be telling you to take a closer look at your diet or your hormonal balance.
People get really freaked out about this. There are hairy boobs and, if you’re kind of young, these might be just starting to appear. If that’s not the case, there might be two other reasons. The first one is that you’ve been exposed to an excess of testosterone through a determined cream or gel. Some pills also have this as a side effect, especially those with a high amount of testosterone and hormones. Now, the other reason could be that polycystic ovarian syndrome, a disorder that increases the production of testosterone provoking hair growth. Among the symptoms this disorder has it involves cysts in the ovaries (pain involved due to this), irregular periods (also quite painful ones), acne burst, and even infertility. So, if you have some of these, you know what you have to do.
Unless you’re breastfeeding, this might be quite unsettling. However, it might not be anything serious. Our breasts are filled with glands that, evolutionarily speaking, are prepared to produce milk. Now, it’s common for some women to discharge some fluid similar to milk, and this is just a sign that, due to the hormones of your body, your glands are just doing their job. It can also happen due to physical stimulation. It can be kind of uncomfortable and there are some meds that can help you. It could also be a side effect of some drugs like antidepressants or other psychotropic meds that increase your production of prolactin, the substance in charge of milk production. Besides, there are women who actually have some blood discharges. The sight can be quite disquieting and shocking, and generally this is a sign of papilloma (a noncancerous tumor). In this case, you should go directly to your doctor to diagnose it.
We all agree that boobs are amazing, but as essential parts of our body, they can also talk to us about our overall health. So pay attention to them. Every change or sensation might be a sign of something else.
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Illustrations by @kat.rasi