Every woman has an intimate relationship with her breasts. You know how sore they feel during your period, how they look in your favorite t-shirt and how sweat pools under them in your sports bra. You may think you already know everything there is to know about “the girls” in general — but we promise there are a lot more essential boob facts out there, especially as it relates to your health and appearance.
Left breasts are usually larger than the right
Have you ever wondered why are my boobs so uneven? Well, no two boobs are alike, so it’s time to get comfy with the concept of asymmetry. While nipples and areolas are more consistent for each person, the left breast is usually larger (or higher, or rounder) than the right.
Bodies in general are never perfectly symmetrical, so it’s nothing to stress about. Some boobs are high on the chest while others sit low, and some nipples are flat while others are protruding. There’s not a right size or shape to have! And according to Healthline, breast asymmetry actually affects more than half of all women.
You’re probably wearing the wrong bra size
Your breasts change a lot throughout your life — just think about how size, shape, and natural lift shift as you age. However you probably don’t get fitted often to make sure that your bras are evolving every time your boobs do.
If the highlight of your day is taking your bra off and freeing your boobs from a painful cage of underwire and tight straps, you’re most likely wearing the wrong bra size. “The band on your back should rest at the bottom of your shoulder blades, and all of your breast tissue should fit in the cup with no spillage,” says bra expert Julia Mastalski. “If the straps dig into your shoulders, that’s a sign you’re relying on the straps too much for support when you should be relying on the band.” The good news is that a proper bra fitting can help you address issues like these!
There’s a lot more to your boobs than you might think
Contrary to popular opinion, boobs aren’t just lumps of fat dangling out from your chest. In addition to fatty tissue, they also consist of glandular tissue, connective tissue, duct lobular units, and ligaments (ew, but in an impressive way).
As a child, your boobs are just small patches of immature breast tissue. Once puberty hits, breasts grow and develop into that fancy system of lobules and ducts, fully functional for producing milk. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, breasts aren’t actually considered “mature” until pregnancy or lactation occurs.
However, at a certain age boobs do turn mostly to fat because breast tissue decreases and lobules shrink in size.
Breast lumps usually aren’t cancer
If you’ve ever felt a lump or thick spot in your breast, it’s normal to immediately think the worst.
However according to the American Cancer Society, the most common types of lumps are fibrosis, cysts, and other non-cancerous or benign breast tumors. If you have a lump that’s particularly swollen and painful, it could be a breast abscess or collection of pus caused by an infection. Additionally, random breast pain is often a result of hormonal fluctuations and tends to be worse right before your period.
Definitely mention any abnormalities to your doctor, just in case, but try not to lose your cool until you have more information.
A bunch of things can make your boobs look larger
Ever wake up one morning and suddenly have to fasten your bra on the loosest hook? Well pregnancy, periods, breast-feeding, menopause, birth control pills, and even sex can cause your breasts to swell or feel sore.
While fluctuating breasts might be irritating conceptually, they can actually tell you a bunch about what’s happening inside your bod. When your breasts swell, they signal that you might be about to get your period, that you’re aroused, or that you’ve gained weight. If your cup ~runneth over~, just think of your boobs as an owner’s manual to the rest of your body.
So boobs are pretty amazing, right? Gotta love something both soft and functional — and we didn’t even get around to talking about how incredible nipple orgasms can be. Even so, when it comes to breast health, it’s so important to know what’s normal and what’s not. And when it comes to appearance, just remember that all types of boobs are beautiful in their own way.
A version of this story was published August 2020.
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