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Why Did My Breasts Get Bigger After Menopause

Oestrogen And Fat Distribution At Menopause

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A change in hormone levels, mainly oestrogen, may influence body fat distribution.

Many women in perimenopause and early post menopause years gain fat mass as their oestrogen levels drop. Women of childbearing age tend to store fat in the lower body , while men and postmenopausal women store fat around the abdomen .

Animal studies have shown that a lack of oestrogen leads to unwanted abdominal fat, although the exact mechanisms are not yet understood.

Who Might Have Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia can occur at different times, including:

  • Birth: More than half of male newborns have enlarged breasts, or breast buds. This condition is due to the mothers estrogen levels. The enlarged breasts usually go away within a few weeks.
  • Puberty: More than half of teenage boys have some degree of breast enlargement. Fluctuating hormones, including drops in testosterone and surges in estrogen, cause breast tissue to grow. The condition goes away as hormone levels even out a process that takes about six months to two years to complete.
  • Adulthood: Enlarged breasts are more common in men over 50. With age, mens bodies produce less testosterone. They may also have more body fat, which stimulates estrogen production and breast tissue growth.

Breast Enlargement / Swelling

The second thing that can happen for some women, is that it goes the other way and their breasts start to get bigger and bigger. For some women, this is absolutely great. You know, they think, “At last, I’m getting the breasts that I’ve always wanted.” For other women, obviously, they can end up getting too big.

It will completely change your shape. You can end up getting a lot of discomfort. We tend to get a lot of shoulder and neck pain anyway, especially those of us that are working in offices or working at desks. And, if your breast tissue enlarges too much, that can put extra stress onto the back muscles too, and it can cause a huge amount of distress.

Again, this is going to affect the way we see ourselves and also how we feel about ourselves as well.

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What Happens To My Breasts After Menopause

When a woman enters menopause, one symptom she experiences is breast pain and there are several reasons for this. A woman may get menopausal breast pain as the result of hormonal changes in her body while other women experience it because of a minor infection that occurred in the breasts. Some menopausal women get breast pain because of benign cysts but other women may have the early signs of breast cancer and this is one reason why you should visit the doctor if you have consistent breast pain over a period of weeks.

The arrow on this mammogram points to a small cancerous lesion. A lesion is an area of abnormal tissue change

Why Do My Breasts Swell During Menopause?

One of the main reasons why your breasts swell during menopause is because your estrogen levels drop while your progesterone levels increase and this lack of balance causes swelling in the breasts. In addition, if you have too much estrogen in your system there is a chance that your breasts will be swollen.

Herbs You Can Use To Treat Menopausal Breast Problems

An herb that some naturopathic doctors recommend for menopause is black cohosh, and it treats other symptoms such as night sweats, vaginal dryness and hot flashes. Dong quai is an anti-inflammatory herb that works for menopausal breast problems and red clover is good for this purpose as well as reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

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What Our Patients Say

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As of March 2021, I have been a HerKare patient for 3 years. I have driven from the Austin to Ft. Worth and Southlake since March 2018. In fact, today I attempted to drive to Southlake to see the provider, Dania Khoncarly, because she is so amazing, but the roads were too dangerous with the current ice storm in Texas, so I visited the Mansfield location instead as it was closer for me. The patient care has been nothing short of amazing. In fact, I cant imagine my life without HerKare. I struggled with hormone deficiency since 2003 until March 2018. The treatment plan provided by HerKare has positively impacted my way of life socially, emotionally, and physically. One of my closest friends now drives from Copperas Cove to the Mansfield location. I have several friends in my age group mid to late 40s & early 50s who would benefit from HerKare. I understand with our nation experiencing COVID, now might not be the time to open a new location, however, your services could positively impact the well-being of so many women. When the time is right, please open more HerKare locations!

Patient since March 2018

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What Happens To The Breasts During Pregnancy And Milk Production

Many healthcare providers believe the breasts are not fully mature until a woman has given birth and made milk. Breast changes are one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. This is a result of the hormone progesterone. In addition, the dark areas of skin around the nipples begin to swell. This is followed by the rapid swelling of the breasts themselves. Most pregnant women feel soreness down the sides of the breasts, and nipple tingling or soreness. This is because of the growth of the milk duct system and the formation of many more lobules.

Other physical changes happen as well. These include the blood vessels in the breast becoming more visible and the areola getting larger and darker. All of these changes are in preparation for breastfeeding the baby after birth.

When Does Breast Development Begin

Breasts begin to form while the unborn baby is still growing in the mothers uterus. This starts with a thickening in the chest area called the mammary ridge or milk line. By the time a baby girl is born, nipples and the beginnings of the milk-duct system have formed.

Breast changes continue to happen over a womans life. The first thing to develop are lobes, or small subdivisions of breast tissue. Mammary glands develop next and consist of 15 to 24 lobes. Mammary glands are influenced by hormones activated in puberty. Shrinkage of the milk ducts is the final major change that happens in the breast tissue. The mammary glands slowly start to shrink. This often starts around age 35.

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Should You See A Doctor

Changes to the size and shape of your breasts cannot technically be fixed through a doctor unless you undergo surgical procedures.

Tenderness and pain in the breast tissue can be handled with over-the-counter medications and other at-home care remedies. At least that is, most of the time.

Some of the following instances are when to worry about breast pain.

If you start to experience lumps in the breasts, seeing a doctor is a good idea. You dont know if those lumps are cysts or something much worse, so getting answers early on will only benefit you in the long run.

Other scenarios where you should book an appointment with your doctor may include lumpy, firm, or thick areas. Where are most of these breast cancer lumps found? In the breast tissue or underneath the arm.

If you experience nipple discharge, or a sunken nipple, medical supervision is recommended.

Shrinking or swelling of breast on only one side should be medically checked out, too. If the problem of one breast larger after menopause starts to occur, lumps may be starting to form.

Be aware that reduced estrogen levels may also cause skin and connective tissue to become dehydrated, inadvertently losing elasticity.

Other than that, common breast changes that occur in almost all of us will include stretch marks, downward pointing nipples, wider space between the breasts, and minor lumpiness.

Your Breasts Become Extra Sensitive

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As you work your way through perimenopause, there’s a good chance that your menstrual cycle will become shorter and shortermeaning that you’ll be getting your period more frequently. And as each period nears, PMS might hit in a big way. “It can lead to more breast tenderness and swelling,” says Dr. Gupta. “You might feel like you’re going through a type of puberty again.”

While you can’t stop your hormonal clock, you might be able to ease painful breasts by minimizing external sources of estrogen. Dr. Gupta suggests cutting out soy-based foods , since they contain natural plant estrogens, and limiting your consumption of red meat, which may also raise your levels.

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When Should You Call Your Doctor About Breast Changes

Breast changes can also occur for reasons other than the menstrual cycle. It may be useful to learn to self-examine your breasts for any abnormal changes and be aware of what is normal for your breasts.

See your doctor if the breast symptoms are not cyclic and do not subside with menstruation, or if you are 40 or older and have never had a mammogram.

You should see your doctor if you have:

  • Severe symptoms that make it difficult to sleep and simple home remedies such as diet and exercise do not help
  • New, unusual, changing lumps in your breasts or under the arms
  • Lumps on only one breast
  • Discharge from the nipples, particularly if it is brown or bloody
  • Nipple becoming pointed or turning inward
  • Itching, redness, dimpling, or puckering of the breast skin

What To Do About Sagging Breasts

Its a lot to take in, right? While you may 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 cant exactly do all the heavy lifting, we like Alchimie Forever Firming Gel for Neck and Bust 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 .

To help with weight fluctuations overall, Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, get 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, dont 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.

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They Pack More Lumps And Bumps

Again, blame your hormones. “Fibrocystic changes are common in your 40s,” says Dr. Gupta. You might notice that your breasts feel lumpier, which is generally nothing to worry about as long as the changes are similar in both breasts. It’s also normal for your breasts to feel progressively bumpier as your period approaches. When in doubtor if you suddenly find a lump that wasn’t there last month or that doesn’t diminish after your period startsask your doc to check it out.

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Aging Changes In The Breast

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Breast changes

As you age, the tissue and structure of your breasts begin to change. This is due to differences in your reproductive hormone levels caused by the natural process of aging. As a result of these changes, your breasts begin to lose their firmness and fullness.

Also with age comes an increased risk of developing growths in the breasts, such as fibroids, cysts, and cancer. Keep in mind that women of any age can develop these conditions. Give yourself regular breast self-exams to check for any growths.

Heres what you need to know about aging changes in the breasts.

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Hrt And Breast Development Warnings

Is important to keep in mind that HRT should not be used for the sole purpose of enlarging breast size.

The treatment has been linked to serious side effects, like a higher risk of breast cancer, which may last for over a decade after its discontinuation.5 As such, its use is generally recommended for severe menopause symptoms or to lower the risk of complications, like osteoporosis.

Moreover, studies have shown that HRT doubles breast density, which is a risk factor for breast cancer.6 Natural aging of the breast tissue that results in complete involution of the milk glands actually cuts the breast cancer risk by half.7

Are Hrt And Breast Growth Linked

Estrogen replacement therapy is the most common type of HRT. These treatments help to balance hormone levels by providing the body with exogenous, or man-made, hormones and relieving symptoms of an imbalance.

Though one could assume that supplying lost estrogen in the body should stimulate menopause breast growth, it is not always the case.

Only some menopausal women report increases in their cup size while on HRT, and while breast enlargement is sometimes listed as a side effect on HRT – alongside breast tenderness, mood swings, or bloating -, whether these effects can be solely attributed to the regimen is unclear.3

In fact, some data studies have disproven the HRT breast growth link, suggesting that the use of HRT is only moderately, not significantly, associated with breast size increases in menopausal women.2

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What Is The Outlook For People Who Have Gynecomastia

Male breast enlargement often goes away over time or with medication changes. Some men become self-conscious about their appearance, which may lead to depression and anxiety. But these problems should improve once gynecomastia is treated.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

If youre uncomfortable about your breast size, dont be embarrassed to talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider can pinpoint the cause of the condition. If a medication or disease is to blame, medication changes and disease treatments may help. Swollen breast tissue often shrinks over time. If youre feeling anxious about how you look, talking to a mental health professional may help.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/08/2021.

References

Breast Changes During Menopause

Why do women gain belly fat in menopause???

By the time a person with a uterus and ovaries reaches their late 40s to early 50s, perimenopause has likely started. Perimenopause is the transitional phase leading up to menopause, the time when monthly periods have stopped for 12 months. During perimenopause, a person often starts noticing some changes in their breasts.

During perimenopause, breast changes often occur cyclically due to fluctuating hormonal levels. These breast symptoms start when the monthly cycle begins and then subside a few days later. When menopause occurs, hormonal levels continue to decrease, causing more changes in the breasts. These changes include:

  • A lower density of breast tissue
  • Increased fat tissue in the breasts
  • Shrinking and sagging breasts
  • Breast or nipple itching

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How Low Estrogen Affects Your Breasts During Menopause

Low estrogen during menopause can cause many changes in your life. It may even affect the appearance of your breasts.

Hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness low estrogen during menopause can cause a lot of uncomfortable changes. Most of us know about these common symptoms of menopause. However, low estrogen may also cause our breasts to change as well. Learn about some common breast changes during menopause and how your hormone doctor may be able to help.

My Cups Runneth Over: What Menopause Has Done To My Boobs

Robbie Caploe always enjoyed being well-endowed….but what’s going on with her girls since she hit menopause is a whole other thing. Here, she gets the issue off her chest.

My breasts are choking me.

They didnt used to. Back in the day, they were luscious, round 34Ds, enough to make me feel womanly. They were good toppers, regardless of occasion: a T-shirt, a dress, a nightie. As a teenager, I used to do a routine for my mother that consisted of me in a full slip with one strap sliding off while I pretended to be a cheated-on wife from a 70s Bertolucci movie: Carlo, dont leave me, Id cry, tossing my head. My mother would giggle, while my brother walked by and rolled his eyes. But trust me, the breasts made it all work.

Every time I lie downmy favorite position in which to readI suddenly have two pushy DDs sliding into my neck.

Thats why its come as such a shock that as I careened into my fifties , the expansion of my breasts has been a stealthy development, akin to Facebooks constant algorithm changes.

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Video: Breast Cancer Screening

This video explains what happens during a mammogram and the benefits of mamography and ultrasound.

It’s your choice whether to have breast screening, but bear in mind that most experts believe it’s beneficial in picking up breast cancer early.

If you’re 71 or over, you’ll stop receiving screening invitations through the post, but you can still carry on with screening if you want to.

Contact your local breast screening unit to arrange an appointment.

Read more about breast cancer screening.

Why Are My Breasts Getting Bigger After Menopause

How To Make Your BOOBS LOOK BIGGER

It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about menopause symptoms, but changes to your breasts are really common. They can happen throughout perimenopause, and even after menopause itself.

Some women find that their breasts get smaller, but if youre one of the many women asking why are my breasts getting bigger after menopause?, we have some answers right here.

In this article

  • Why do womens breasts get bigger with age?
  • Do your breasts get bigger when you go through menopause?
  • Sore breasts during menopause
  • How can I reduce my breast size after menopause?
  • Why are my breasts getting bigger after menopause? The final word

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