GP reveals what your boobs are trying to tell you

On a day-to-day basis, you might not think about your breasts too often.

But if you’ve discovered something unusual, it’s important to know whether or not you should be worried.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways your breasts might cause you concern…

Nipple pain

Your nipples can be sore for a number of reasons.

Firstly, if you’re wearing tight, constrictive bras or clothes, friction can cause pain or sensitivity.

Infections, like thrush, can also cause pain. This can occur when you’re breastfeeding. Your nipples may be bright pink and the areola (surrounding area) might be dry or flaky.

Nipple thrush can be treated with anti-fungal tablets and creams.

Your nipples might also become sensitive due to hormonal changes throughout the month, or when you’re pregnant.

Nipple changes and discharge

If your nipples used to point outwards but now one of them has started pointing inwards (called an inverted nipple), or one of them now appears flat, that can be a sign that there’s something worrying going on.

A ‘pinch test’ can help you determine whether your nipples are flat or inverted.

Simply pinch the skin around the areola and squeeze.

A normal nipple should ‘pop out’ after pinching, while a flat nipple doesn’t move and an inverted nipple can go further in.

If your nipple is flat or inverted, see your doctor as it can be a sign of a worrying cause such as cancer.

It’s also important to see your doctor if you notice any bleeding or discharge from your nipples.

Skin changes

If you notice your skin has started puckering or dimpling, even if it seems to be in a small area or not that noticeable, see your GP.

While they might seem harmless, skin changes like these can be a sign of breast cancer.

Pesky hairs

It’s common to sprout hairs around the areola (the skin around the nipple). While these hairs might not be desirable, they’re nothing to worry about.

However, having excessive hair growth may be a sign you could have a further condition such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Other symptoms of PCOS include gaining weight, acne and fertility problems.

Breast discolouration

If you’ve been in a car crash and you were wearing your seatbelt, you might develop bruising in your breasts.

However, if you haven’t had any trauma lately and have noticed your breasts being discoloured, take note.

Though rare, discolouration of your breasts can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer.

In this condition, a part of your breast may look red, pink or purple (like it’s bruised). Any unexplained discolouration of the breasts therefore warrants a trip to your GP.

Lumps

Ladies, now’s the time to get into the habit of regularly checking your breasts. That way, you can get used to how your breasts normally feel and can tell if you discover a new lump.

It’s a good idea to check your breasts around the same time every month (because your boobs can change due to hormones).

When you examine your breasts, make sure you look at them in a mirror to check for changes, before feeling them.

Remember to examine all the areas included in a crop top. That includes all the way up to your collarbone. It’s also important to feel your underarms to check for any enlarged lymph nodes.

If you discover any kind of lump, see your GP. If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about whether you need any further tests down the track.

The truth is, most breast lumps aren’t cancer – but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Breast size changes

If you’re currently breastfeeding and one breast becomes larger, hotter and painful, you may have an infection such as mastitis. Your doctor can provide advice and treatment if needed.

However, if you’re not breastfeeding and one of your breasts suddenly change size, becoming perhaps harder and thicker than the other breast, or simply larger in general, see your doctor.

The bottom line

When it comes to your breasts, the best thing you can do is start to learn what’s normal for you.

Check your breasts regularly – observing how they look and how they feel – and learn to pick up any changes.

Then, if you notice any changes, remember it’s always best to see your doctor.

While we’re on the topic, your boobs stretch up to 15cms with age. This is how to stop it. Plus, a study reveals that women with this bra size are the most happy.

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