There used to be a lot of detailed instructions about how women should examine their breasts, but research has shown that the most important thing is to just be familiar with how your breasts usually look and feel so that you notice any changes!
We now recommend breast awareness which simply means looking at your breasts in the mirror and feeling them all over (from collarbone to below the bra line & into the armpit).
Things to look out for include:
Lumps, hard knots or thickening
Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
Change in the size or shape of the breast
Dimpling or puckering of the skin
Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
Having any of these symptoms doesn’t mean there’s definitely something seriously wrong. Some changes can be hormonal or due to mild infections, but always a good idea to have a GP take a look for peace of mind!
@mak_trouble891 It’s great to do it throughout the month so you get used to the normal changes that happen in your cycle, but a few days after your period is when your breasts will be least swollen and maybe easier to feel deeply without discomfort.
@mak_trouble891 breasts usually finish developing in late teens, but they will continue to change throughout a lifetime! Breast size and shape is effected by hormone changes (e.g. in pregnancy or at menopause) as well as weight loss/gain and changes in muscle tone.
@Nurse_Nettie – why did mine grow (in cup size) quite exponentially when I gained weight (unhealthy size 8 to comfortable 12 over a couple of years)… but when I lost a crap load of weight after first being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes they only shrank a teeny little bit (like not even a whole cup size)?
@MsBlueStreak I can’t tell you exactly why you didn’t lose the same amount of weight you’d gained in your boobs. Sounds like more than just weight gain & loss was at play. Our bodies are complex and not always completely symmetrical in the way they look or behave!
@mak_trouble891 There are lots of reason a person can get pain in their breasts: injury, infection, hormone surge before your period or in pregnancy — even a bad-fitting bra! For more info about breast pain, check out this info from Family Planning Australia!