Breast Health for Women
Love Those Boobs!
We live in a society that is obsessed with boobs. The ideal woman seems to have two perfectly matched, erect, bouncy, and, at least, C cup breasts. And, no way do they have stretch marks. Women who don't live up to these expectations (which happens to be most women) might feel like something is wrong with them.
The truth is that every woman has a unique set of breasts; and, each one of those breasts is unique. Our breasts are diverse in shape and size. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having boobs that are different sizes, have stretch marks, or don't stick firmly out.
It does happen that a woman will have a size discrepancy that is striking—which can cause some psychological pain. Other women have such large breasts that it causes back pain and discomfort. These can lead to healthy decisions for breast surgery. However, many women choose to have surgery because they want to live up to this ideal image of how women should look.
- Dream Symbols - Breasts - Dreams
This article offers some great ideas about the symbolism of breasts in ancient times. It also discusses how to interpret the symbol of breasts in your dreams.
Why Do Breasts Exist?
Many women think their breasts exist for the pleasure and benefit of someone else. Have you ever heard someone tell a woman not to breast feed because it will “ruin her breasts”? Symbolically, breasts represent nurturing. The act of nurturing is about giving and taking; yet, when women find that their breasts aren’t bringing them any pleasure, but only there for the pleasure of others, women miss out on a powerful relationship they can have with their bodies. While it is perfectly normal and acceptable for women to allow others to take pleasure in their breasts, it is even more important for women to find pleasure in their own breasts.
Women tend to be givers. But, when women give all the time without taking the time to care for themselves, they begin to feel stressed. Research has associated women who suffer from stress (whether it is from job loss, divorce, or bereavement) with an increased risk for breast cancer.
So, why do breasts exist? They exist for the pleasure and benefit of the women they belong to. Offering them to others for pleasure can also bring pleasure to the women they belong to.
- Breast Anatomy
Interested in learning more about breast anatomy? Ehealthmd.com offers information, pictures, and answers to common questions.
Anatomy of Breasts
Breasts are glandular organs that are sensitive to hormonal changes in the body. They undergo cyclical changes that synchronize with a woman’s menstrual cycle. The female breast is designed to provide nourishment to babies. A woman’s breasts also provide sexual pleasure for the woman. In fact, breasts are connected with the female genital system.
Breasts and nipples come in all sizes as shapes. And, most women have one breast that is slightly smaller than the other—that’s right, it’s totally normal.
How to Do a Partner Self Breast Exam
- How to Do a Breast Self-Exam
The key to successful prevention is early treatment. By giving yourself a breast exam each month, you will notice if there are any changes in your breasts.
Self exams are very important for every woman to perform on a regular basis because you need to learn how your breasts feel. If you are familiar with your breasts, it will be easier to recognize when something changes.
The best time to do a self-exam is right after your menstrual period ends. If you feel uncomfortable doing a self-exam, ask your doctor to talk you through it at your next appointment. You will feel more confident about doing it if you have had some professional guidance.
Self-exams are a must do for every woman, but don’t let them give you a false sense of security. You still need to visit your doctor regularly for optimum health.
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Learn more about fibrocystic breast disease, which is a very common, noncancerous (benign) breast condition.
- Nipple discharge: Rarely a sign of serious disease - MayoClinic.com
Learn more about nipple discharge — possible causes of bloody, clear and other types of nipple discharge.
Benign Breast Symptoms
If you notice a lump, cyst, or nipple discharge, you need to consult with your doctor. Remember that finding something like this does not mean you have breast cancer. Many lumps and cysts are benign. A lot of women go to their doctor because of pain in their breasts. Cyclic mastalgia is breast pain that comes and goes with the menstrual cycle. It is often caused by hormonal fluctuations, excessive caffeine intake, or stress. Cyclic mastalgia is not a risk factor for breast cancer.
Breasts are sensitive to hormonal changes, but women are encouraged to tell their doctors about any lumps they find.
Fibrocystic Breast Disease
In the 1970s and 1980s, there were studies that suggested women with fibrocystic breast disease were two to three times more at risk for breast cancer. However, the National Cancer Association Consensus Committee discovered in 1985 that this is not true. In fact, most of what is called fibrocystic breast disease is actually the normal changes in breast anatomy—it is not associated with breast cancer.
Breasts are composed of fat and tissue. The ratio of tissue to fat changes, so some areas of the breast will seem more dense than others. Most women experience fibrocystic changes in their breasts. Bear in mind that it isn’t really classified a disease, and many doctors now refer to it as fibrocystic breast changes.
It might sound odd, but nipple discharge is not necessarily something to worry about. Nipple discharge mostly occurs after nipple stimulation, and it isn’t dangerous. As a gland, your breast can naturally produce fluid. The kind of discharge can vary depending on the situation. You should be sure to note down the details—thick or watery; the color; whether it happens on its own, or when you squeeze it; etc.—so your doctor can have all of the information.
Remember that nipple discharge is rarely a sign of serious illness, but don’t hesitate to have anything checked out by your doctor.
Breast cysts are fluid-filled lumps. Cysts can’t be identified by an exam alone. Your doctor will perform a procedure called FNA, where the fluid is drawn out with a thin needle. If the fluid looks bloody, your doctor may choose to have the fluid further analyzed. If blood is not present, the fluid is discarded. The lump caused by the cyst will most likely disappear on its own after the liquid has been aspirated. If the lump returns, be sure to contact your doctor.
Cysts will come and go with your periods, often resolving on their own.
Bra Size Chart
What You Can Do to Help Relieve Breast Pain
There are definitely things you can do help alleviate breast pain. Don’t feel as though you have to do all of the suggestions listed below—the last thing you want is to add any stress to your life. Do what feels right. Above all, include your doctor in any decision you make.
Caffeine can cause overstimulation of breast tissue for some women. Eliminating, or even cutting back, can help relieve some of your breast pain symptoms. However, this varies from woman to woman, so do a trial run (for one menstrual cycle) to see if it affects you.
Eliminate Dairy Products
Like the elimination of caffeine, do a trial run for this (but not at the same time as the caffeine trial) to see if it works for you. If you find that it hasn’t helped after a month, go ahead and reintroduce dairy into your diet.
Breast tissue is sensitive to high-fat, high-carb diets, which raise estrogen levels. High estrogen levels stimulate breast tissue, causing breast pain for some women. Soluble fiber from vegetable sources can help your body get rid of excess estrogen. Making changes to your diet, adding cruciferous vegetables, like kale, cabbage, and broccoli, and soy foods, like tofu, miso, and tempeh, can reduce breast pain, tenderness, and swelling.
There is debate about the effectiveness of supplements. Again, be sure to try it out, see if it helps, and consult your doctor.
Evening Primrose oil and gamma linolenic acid may help breast tenderness by stemming the inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids, like fish oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil, and sesame oil, should help with breast pain.
Make sure your bras fit properly. A bra that is too tight, not providing enough support, or an underwire that cuts off circulation can create a lot of breast pain. Go get fitted!
Castor Oil Packs
Applying castor oil packs to the breasts a few times a week for one hour can reduce or eliminate breast pain. After the first two or three months, maintain this treatment by using the pack once a week.
Know Your Breasts
Monthly self-exams will keep you familiar with your boobs. Keep a calendar, noting differences or changes you experience. Be sure to track your menstrual cycle as well so you can recognize any patterns.
A Message to Women
Love yourself. Love your breasts. And, respect your body. You deserve it. There are things that are out of our control, but we can make the best out of the things we can control. So, don’t forget to nourish yourself. You may be a giver, but remember to give to yourself too. Breast health is important, but so is your psychological health.