They can be big, small, asymmetrical or droopy. It’s no secret that breasts come in different sizes. But there must have been times when you wondered if your breasts are normal and healthy. There are ways to find out if you have healthy breasts. All you need to look for are the signs of healthy breasts. Once you know them, you can be stress-free. However, if you notice something unusual, it’s best to check with a doctor.
Breasts, which are supported and attached to your chest wall, are made up of milk producing glands. They are mostly made up of fat and breast tissue, which is a complex networking of ducts, lobes and lobules. Estrogen, progesterone and prolactin are the three major hormones that affect your breasts.
To know all about healthy breasts, HealthShots consulted Dr Rijaphin R, Senior consultant obstetrics and gynaecology, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Old Mahaballipuram road, Chennai.
Signs of healthy breasts
Changes in your breast tissue during pregnancy, lactation, menstrual cycle as well as menopause are all normal. Dr Rijaphin says that normal breast tissue generally feels nodular or lumpy and varies in consistency from a woman to woman.
Here are some signs of healthy breasts
• Appearance matters here, so the look and feel of your breasts should be the same
• Skin over your breasts should be clean and smooth
• Your breasts should have the same temperature as the rest of your body
• There should not be any nipple discharge (exception is when you are lactating)
• You should not feel any pain when you touch your breasts
When to be concerned?
If there are ways to figure out healthy breasts, there are also some signs of unhealthy breasts.
1. Sudden appearance of lump
Most breast lumps are not cancerous, yet the most common sign of breast cancer is a lump or thickening in breasts. It has been often noticed that cancerous lumps are actually painless (difference between benign and cancerous lumps).
2. Discharge from nipples
Most of the time, nipple discharge is not serious, but any discharge should be evaluated. Colour and consistory of discharge will help in diagnosis.
3. Retraction or indentation of nipples
Nipple retraction from inversion which is congenital is present since birth and does not usually signal an underlying disease. While a retracted nipple looks flat as well as broad, an inverted nipple can be easily pulled out.
4. Changes in size of breasts
If you feel that your breasts’ size is no longer the same or contour of your breast has changed then you should go to a doctor.
Breasts turning red or your skin looking like an orange peel are also signs of unhealthy breasts.
These signs are important, as unhealthy breasts could mean you have breast cancer. But fear not, as the expert says that this disease is generally discovered early. There are good treatment options, so there is a better chance of cure. Screening and diagnosis is the key to identify breast cancer in its early and treatable stages. So, be it mammogram or self breast examination, you should go for it after you hit your 20s.