The Unexpected Side Effect Menopause Can Have On Your Breasts

You might have noticed that some of your favorite women over 50 in Hollywood look more voluptuous. This might have more to do with regular hormone changes than plastic surgery since menopause can wreak havoc on your body as estrogen starts to wind down. You might experience weight gain, mood swings, and hot flashes, to name just a few symptoms. It can even cause some noticeable changes in your breasts.

Menopause begins 12 months after your last period, but the changes leading up to it can take between 7 to 14 years during a phase called perimenopause, according to the National Institute on Aging. For every woman, the changes that come with menopause are unique, but breast changes are a common part of this transition. It's essential to be aware of the changes your body will make during menopause. Find out about the normal changes to breasts during this period and when it's time to be concerned.

Menopause affects the size and shape of breasts

You might think by the time you hit your mid-50s or early 60s, you've mastered the art of knowing your bra size; however, menopause will have you guessing. One of the unexpected changes to come with the mood swings and weight fluctuations of menopause is the changing of your breasts. Therefore, you might find that you need to upgrade or downgrade your cup size. The reason you might need to head to the store for a new bra has to do with weight gain and weight redistribution.

Jennifer Wider, MD explained to Health, "During perimenopause and menopause, there are hormonal fluctuations and eventually a drop in hormones that may cause weight gain. As a result, some of the weight gain can occur in the breasts, resulting in enlarged breasts." In addition to weight gain, hormones and genetics also play a part in your breasts changing cup sizes.

When you go through menopause, your body knows that babies are a thing of the past. So, you don't need those milk ducts anymore; therefore, the tissue for supplying children with nourishment gets replaced with fat, leading to breast size changes. In addition to getting larger or smaller, your breasts might lose their shape and start to droop due to a loss of elasticity. However, this is far from the only change you'll notice in your breasts with menopause.

Other changes to the breasts

Having to adjust a cup size or two is annoying enough, but it's not the only new development your breasts will endure during "the change." Your breasts can undergo a few other changes, like pain sensations, lumps, and itching, that are all related to the loss of estrogen. However, since breast cancer risk also increases, some of these changes can be more scary. 

While you might have experienced breast pain around your period prior to menopause, this pain becomes erratic as your cycle becomes less regular until eventually, it stops altogether. This means you can get heavy, tight, and even burning sensations in your breasts. It's also common to notice lumps, according to GlycanAge. Cysts that grow and change with your irregular cycle can become more common and panic-inducing. Therefore, it's important to see your doctor for irregularities and get regular breast cancer screenings. Some women might also notice changes within the nipples as well, according to Health.

While menopause affects your body through hormone changes, it also causes changes in your breasts as well. It's common to adjust your cup size and have your breasts start to sag, as well as develop irregular aches and pains. Most of the time, these are normal, benign conditions, but it's important to always check with your doctor to be sure.