Jugs, sweater stretchers, airbags, tits, hooters, lung protectors, bongos, knockers, melons, gazongas, frost detectors, honkers, fun bags, boobs, bazookas, boobies… BREASTS!
Young women often worry about their breasts. Are they the ‘right’ size? Are they the ‘right’ shape?
Breasts grow over several years and then change throughout life due to hormones caused by menstrual cycle, pregnancy, contraception, breastfeeding, and ageing.
Breast development is the first sign of puberty in girls, starting anywhere between 8 and 13 and a half years. They begin as breast buds (firm, sometimes slightly tender, lumps under the nipple). As they grow, the nipples and areolae (dark circles around the nipples) get deeper in colour, pink or brown depending on your skin type. Mid-way through puberty, the nipples and areolae are relatively large compared to breasts, making them more pointy.
Breast tissue is made up of milk glands, fat, and connective tissue that holds it all together. Developing breasts can feel sensitive but should not be painful.
Breasts, like hands, feet, or ears, are never exactly the same size! Fully grown breasts can be asymmetrical (uneven) by one cup size! Your breast size depends on your genes as well as your weight.
At first, many girls like to wear crop tops or trainer bras. But there are no rules about when you need a bra, and medically it’s fine never to wear one! Girls often find it helpful to talk to their mother or an older female relative or friend they trust, about buying a bra.
Because of the importance of breast cancer (usually in older women), it’s helpful to learn to check your breasts for lumps when you’re young. Start by looking in the mirror for skin or other changes, then feel each breast separately under the pads of your fingers, going around in a circle and up into your armpit. If you do this regularly you’ll learn what’s normal for your breasts and what’s not. If you do feel a lump or are unsure, get it checked by a doctor.
If you’re worried about your breasts or want to know more you can ring 1800 451 624 between 9:00am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday to talk with a sexual health nurse. It’s confidential and free if you call from a landline.