Getting the best bra in terms of support and comfort can be a challenge for women. This can be especially true when their breast size changes as they go through different phases of their lives and may experience weight fluctuations as well. Among the phases that can alter breast size are perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. One or both breasts may get bigger or smaller.
Why breast size changes occur during menopause
Breast size changes often begin during perimenopause. This is also the time women may notice their breasts are more tender, achy, swollen, and/or lumpy than they were previously.
Low estrogen can result in a lesser amount of fat and tissue in the breasts, which may leave them smaller and less firm and full. At the same time, milk production begins to phase out, and the glandular tissue in the breasts shrinks. However, approximately one-fifth of women had an increase in breast size associated with menopause, according to a study from the Netherlands. The main reason for the increase was believed to be weight gain. This compares with less than 2 percent of women who needed to get a smaller bra after menopause because their breasts had gotten smaller.
How to manage breast size changes naturally
Here are a few tips for managing breast size changes naturally.
- Get the right bra. A well-fitting bra can ease breast discomfort and make you feel better emotionally as well.
- Tone with weights. It’s time to grab the hand-held weights and work the muscles supporting your breasts. Exercise won’t change breast size but it will tone the underlying muscles.
Isometric exercises. Don’t like to lift weights? Then try isometric exercises. Here are two easy ones.
- Stand or sit and raise your arms to breast height. Press your palms together and push them against each other. Hold for a count of five, then release for a count of three. Repeat this cycle 12 times
- Stand 2 to 3 feet from a wall. Place your palms on the wall shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows and move closer to the wall. Inhale. Exhale and return to the starting position. Repeat this cycle 10 times. Take a 10-second break and repeat the cycle again.
when to see a health provider
Most breast size changes that occur around the menopausal years are normal and harmless. However, if you experience any unusual breast changes, such as a lump or firmness in your breast or under your arm, nipple discharge, a sunken or inverted nipple, dimpling or puckering of the breast tissue, or unexplained swelling of the breast, contact your physician as soon as possible.
Breast size changes during perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause are common and typically present no health concern. If you have any questions about breast changes, consult your healthcare provider.