Bosom. Bust. Boobies. The girls. Whatever you call them, breasts are interesting to those who have them and those who don’t. But how much do we really know about breasts and what makes them ‘normal’?
Here are seven surprising facts you might not know about your breast friends.
1. They’re not symmetrical
We all have asymmetrical features. Perhaps you’ve noticed one foot is smaller than the other, or your left eye appears bigger than your right. This is also true of breasts, with 44 per cent of women in one study saying one breast was smaller than the other. It was also found that, on average, the right breast tends to be larger than the left.
2. ‘Nipplegasams’ are real
Yes, the nipples are full of nerves, and during an MRI study, it was found that stimulating the nipple lights up the same part of the brain that is linked to the genitals. This is good news for about one per cent of women out there.
3. The breast is an organ
Breasts are often mistakenly described as appendages and sometimes muscles. But in fact, they’re organs, and as such, their primary function is to make milk. Milk production happens in small lobules inside the breast, and milk is carried through the nipple via a series of ducts. Obvious fact: since men don’t breastfeed, they do not have these lobules.
4. Breastfeeding doesn’t cause saggy breasts
Women are told many things about what causes breasts to sag, but nursing isn’t the problem. While some lifestyle factors can cause ‘the girls’ to head south, loss of firmness and elasticity is mostly about getting older. Smoking, wearing ill-fitting bras, having multiple pregnancies and changes in your weight can also contribute to sagging breasts.
5. Nipple leakage may signal a problem
Nipple discharge is only normal during late pregnancy, after giving birth and during breastfeeding. If you experience nipple leakage at any other time, you should see a doctor to get it checked out. A leak can be the result of a number of things, from thyroid and other hormonal problems to cancer.
6. Most women don’t wear the right bra size
Up to 85 per cent of women wear bras that don’t fit properly. Perhaps you were fitted many years ago and so you buy the same size every time. But your breasts change a lot over the years: weight changes, pregnancy and menopause affect not just the size but also the shape of your breasts. This influences the types of bras you need. An ill-fitting bra can lead to poor posture, neck and back pain, and even nerve problems in your arms and shoulders, so make sure to get fitted professionally every couple of years.
7. Most women are unhappy with their breasts
Despite having healthy, normal-looking breasts, most women feel unhappy about how their breasts look. This is, no doubt, due to a prevalent cultural outlook that emphasises a distorted idea of breast ‘perfection’. According to one study, less than one-third of women aged 18 to 65 say they are happy with the size and shape of their breasts. Short of getting plastic surgery, there’s not much you can do to change your breasts. But a good bra and better body image may be enough to feel good about your boobs.
Are your breasts normal? Why not take this WebMD quiz and find out how much you know?
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