saggy boobs

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Saggy Boobs: Causes & Prevention

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Breasts come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Like the rest of your body, your breasts will age. They will become less perky and full and sag in time. Sagging breasts tend to be flatter on top and much heavier on the base.

Most girls will start to develop breasts around the age of 13. During puberty, hormones are released into the body. These hormones are responsible for gain in body fat percentage and the womanly curves women are known for.

A girl’s breasts will continue to grow for a number of years and will usually stop approximately 2 years after she has her first period.

It is not uncommon, however, for a woman’s breasts to continue to change in shape, size and form over time. Weight gain, weight loss, hormonal changes, pregnancy and breastfeeding are some of the many contributing factors for change.

Breasts are like the rest of the human body. They are unique and not absolutely symmetrical.

It is common for women to have mismatched breasts with one being larger than the other (just like your feet, eyebrows, ears, etc.). Should this be the case for you, it is advised to fit your bras to the bigger breast, to ensure comfort and avoid the bra cup cutting in. Then using a separate pad, insert it into the cup with the smaller breast. This will help to fill in the excess space and smooth out the bra cup.

saggy boobs

Reasons for Saggy Breasts

Throughout our lifetime our breasts will continue to change, both in size and in shape.

When we are younger our breasts are much fuller and perkier and as we age they start to sag and don’t resemble what we once had.

There are many reasons why we experience this change, some we have control over and others we do not.

The truth of the matter is that they will always sag.

If you would like to keep the sag to a minimum, take note of some of these factors.

1. Age

old age

As we age, our skin loses its elasticity. This is a natural aging process and it will be noticeable all over your body, not just your boobs.

Once a woman hits menopause, hormone levels change in her body. This change affects the volume and structure of the breast tissue and often leaves the breasts looking deflated.

2. Gravity

The force of gravity is working against our body from the day we are born.

Gravity pulls down on the breast tissue and our skin as a result. Over time, the ligaments holding our breasts up are stretched resulting in saggy boobs.

3. Genetics

generations

The size and shape of our breasts are largely determined by genetics. Genetics are passed down from generation to generation, with most women in the family having similar sized breasts.

  • Smaller breasts tend to hold their shape better as there is less weight & pressure on the ligaments.
  • Long narrow breasts tend to sag quickly, as the weight of the breasts pulls down.
  • Larger busted women will experience the most noticeable change. The sheer size and weight of the breasts will pull on the ligaments in a downward motion.

4. Bra Support

Wearing poorly fitted or the incorrect bra will contribute to the sagging process. A good supportive bra will hold the weight of your breasts, reducing the load on your ligaments.

If a bra is not fitting well, it will provide little aid, which means the ligaments are working hard all the time to hold the breast tissue up.

It is advised that you wear a good supportive bra no matter what bra size you are. This will help to reduce your risk of premature sagging.

5. Pregnancy

exercise during pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman will experience a sudden increase in breast volume, size, weight and shape. This is due to hormones levels in the body and the breasts preparing for milk production.

Changes will occur in the breast structure during pregnancy. It is important to note that with each pregnancy your size is likely to be different, as the breast structure and mass has been altered with each pregnancy and/or breastfeeding.

With the sudden increase and change in size, a woman will often be left with excess skin (saggy breasts).

Age is also a factor and older women will find that their skin tissue is less likely to return back to normal after pregnancy as their skin has less elasticity.

6. Weight Gain

Larger women tend to not only carry excess weight around their thighs, bum and stomach areas, but they also carry excess weight in their breasts. This excess weight adds strain on the breast tissue and ligaments causing the breasts to sag.

7. Weight Loss

Women who lose excess amounts of weight over a short period of time are likely to be left with excess skin on their bodies, including their breasts.

It is always recommended to lose weight slowly, giving the skin time to take hold. Eating a healthy diet filled with a variety of fresh food, combined with exercise, will help to minimise the effects of large amounts of loose skin left on the body.

8. Exercise

Women participating in sport should always wear a supportive sports bra. A good sports bra is designed for high impact exercise and should keep your breasts firmly in place to avoid any bounce.

Bounce and movement will put strain on the ligaments holding up the breasts. Over extended periods of time this type of trauma will result in sagging of the breasts, not to mention pain and discomfort while exercising.

Please remember that bounce occurs at all hours of the day: running to catch the bus, throwing your child in the air, doing a happy dance or scrubbing a pot or pan…

9. Smoking

Smoking is an unhealthy habit that not only affects your lungs, but also affects the largest living organ on your body, your skin.

Smoking dries out your skin and affects your skin’s ability to rebound. As a result, smokers are more likely to have saggy boobs.

10. Sun

Long periods of sun exposure will affect your skin’s elasticity. The sun is drying and breaks down collagen, resulting in weakened skin.

Always cover up and wear sunscreen to minimise sun damage.

11. Surgery

Any type of breast surgery is going to affect the make up of the breast and the breast tissue.

Women who choose to have cosmetic surgery to increase size or lift their breasts should understand that in time they would need to have surgery again.

Surgery as a result of illness is always going to affect the mass and structure of the breast.

Just how much is dependent on how much tissue is removed as to how much the breast is affected.

How to Prevent Saggy Breasts

Saggy boobs are a part of the aging process. There is no natural way to avoid them. We can however, be more aware and adopt a few helpful tips into our lifestyle to help prevent saggy boobs.

1. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

The key message is adopting a healthy lifestyle. Combine exercise, healthy eating, work play balance, body awareness and quality bras, and avoid anything in excess to put you in good stead.

2. Exercise

exercise

A woman’s breasts will fluctuate with weight. Maintaining a healthy BMI will help to reduce your risk of carrying excess fat on your body.

  • Exercise such as swimming, tennis, yoga and/or Pilates, all use a lot of upper body strength. Keeping the upper body moving and active will help to strengthen muscles and keep them lean.
  • Joining a gym is a great lifestyle choice.
  • Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is always motivating. Combining exercises such as push-ups and bench presses will help to strengthen and tone your breasts. The breasts sit on top of the pectoral muscle. When the pectoral muscle is targeted and isolated in exercise it also benefits the breasts and the skin surrounding the area.

3. Eat Healthily

Eating a healthy, fresh diet that combines a range of different foods from the food pyramid will not only keep you looking fabulous, but will give you plenty of energy too.

healthy food
  • Vegetable (plenty of green leafy varieties)
  • Fruit (a wide range of colours)
  • Carbohydrates (low GI)
  • Fat (healthy fats such as avocado and nuts)
  • Protein (lean meats)

It has been suggested that eating lots of antioxidant rich foods (fruit and vegetables) may help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and leave you with a much more supple looking skin.

Avoid crash diets as large amounts of sudden weight loss can leave you with excess skin and are not necessarily healthy for you. Starving your body can leave you feeling tired and irritable.

orange
via Charles Deluvio (Unsplash)

4. Stay Hydrated

Our body is made up of a large percentage of water. Drink water regularly throughout the day to help preserve the skins elasticity.

Water can help to keep your skin strong and firm, resulting in less wrinkling and sag.

5. Avoid Toxins

Avoid smoking as studies have proven that women who smoke are more likely to have

Avoid excess consumption of sugary drinks. Sugar dehydrates your body and if consumed in large quantities can affect your overall health.

Avoid excess alcohol as it also dehydrates your body. Intoxication; not only does this add excess toxins to your body, but when intoxicated you tend to make bad choices that are more unhealthy.

6. Good Posture

Standing straight and resisting the urge to stoop forward not only improves your overall appearance, but helps to reduce strain on your breasts.

Leaning forward puts pressure on your breast ligaments and aids gravity in pulling your breasts in a downward motion.

Remember to stand straight with shoulders back when you are both standing and sitting at all times.

Learning to Love Your Saggy Boobs

pineapple
via Caju Gomes (Unsplash)

Just like wrinkles, grey hair, aching joints and a retirement plan; sagging breasts are a natural part of life and if you embrace them (literally), you will end up being happier and more content with yourself and your life.

There is no natural miracle cure for saggy boobs. It is the way nature intended it to be.

Life is a journey. Live it and worry less about the imperfections of your body. They will only hold you back from doing the things you want to do.
Invest in beautiful bras that hold and support you in place.

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