Boobs Getting Bigger? Might be Menopause
Whether you view your bigger melons as a pleasant surprise or are frustrated with your cup running so freaking far over, don't you wonder what's going on? We sure did. Here's the bottom, er, top line.
Reasons for an increase in breast size
Rest assured boob growth with age is normal. According to Victoria Karlinsky-Bellini, MD, FACS, a New York-based cosmetic surgeon, it is often the result of fluctuating hormones as you go through perimenopause and menopause. “For many women, the drop in hormones can trigger weight gain,” she explains. “There is an accumulation of fat cells, and part of that accumulation happens in the breast.”
As your hormones continue to rise, fall, and generally become as temperamental as you often feel, you’ll notice even more changes in your breasts, especially considering that gravity has already sort of taken its toll on the twins. “Women who breast fed often find that the breast tissue shrinks, the skin gets stretched out with milk, and as the breast goes down, everything involutes,” explains Andrew Cohen, MD, FACS, a California-based plastic and reconstructive surgeon. (Picture a rock in a sock.) Whether or not you breastfed, you may notice a larger space between the breasts, or the area around the areola may get bigger or smaller, plus, the breast tissue itself becomes less elastic.”
What to do about sagging breasts
It’s a lot to take in, right? While you may (or may not) be tempted to immediately book an appointment for a lift, Dr. Karlinsky-Bellini advises holding off until hormonal fluctuations have leveled off — after all, the size changes may not have finished just yet. While it can’t exactly do all the heavy lifting, we like Alchimie Forever Firming Gel for Neck and Bust ($49; alchimie-forever.com) for the purposes of hydrating, and therefore obscuring, any stretch marks you might have incurred. Dr. Cohen also recommends sleeping with a bra on — you may be sleeping, but gravity never does — and wearing an even more supportive bra during the day if your chest feels uncomfortably heavy during this sudden growth spurt (go to thirdlove.com for the best options in our opinion).
To help with weight fluctuations overall, “Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, get 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, don’t smoke, drink a lot of water, and make sure your hormone levels are okay,” says Dr. Cohen. And while size and shape changes are entirely normal, Dr. Cohen notes that changes in the thickness in breast skin, a pulled nipple, nipple discharge, pain, a lump, puckering of the skin, or one breast looking significantly different than the other could be a sign that something other than regular hormonal fluctuations is happening. In those cases, see your doctor immediately.
As the saying goes, this too shall pass, and once it does, you’re in the clear to make any changes you see fit. “Once you feel relief from the symptoms and you’re fully menopausal, then you can consider a lift or reduction if you’re not happy with your size,” says Dr. Karlinsky-Bellini. “That can be done with liposuction, or more invasively by reducing the actual glandular tissue and tightening the skin envelope around it. Procedures like radiofrequency may be able to help with the laxity of the skin, but if it’s a difference in size that’s bothering you, you’ll likely need a lift or reduction.”