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For most women, their breasts are the ultimate symbol of their beauty. Beautiful, firm breasts beget immediate attention from males while they are a source of jealousy for the females. However, to maintain them in healthy condition requires special care.
Every woman desires firm, rounded breasts. Those who are genetically endowed with them consider themselves lucky. However, like all other body parts, breasts also require some maintenance. Spending sometime on them will ensure that they remain in good shape and health. Here are a few tips about keeping your breasts in good health.

5. Do not shy away from breast feeding

Breast feeding has always been a controversial topic and most women shy away from it as they believe that it can lead to sagging of breast tissue. However, going by the results of several researches, including the one published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, breast feeding does not have any adverse effect on the elasticity of the breast tissue.

A woman breast feeding her child has breast elasticity comparable to a woman who has not breast fed her child. So, considering the importance of breast feeding on the child’s health and the fact that it does not cause sagging of the breast tissue, there is no reason why women should shy away from it. It is only multiple pregnancies that can lead to loss of elasticity of the breast tissue.

6. Avoid breast implants, if possible

There are two main reasons why experts advise women against breast implants. First and foremost, breast implants are associated with a number of side effects which include leakage from the implants and encapsulation. The woman’s immune system may rebel against the implant leading to many problems. These complications can affect the breast health and cause psychological problems for women undergoing implants.

Another important reason behind avoiding breast implants is that while the skin around the implant loses its elasticity as a part of normal ageing process, the implant doesn’t age. Therefore, the surrounding skin tends to hang on to the implant and it can look very odd. So you have to resort to a subsequent breast lift surgery or go for bigger implants to fill in this loose skin.

7. Avoid habits like smoking and drinking alcohol

Smoking is said to lead to a breakdown of elastin protein present in the skin. Loss of elastin from the skin supporting the breast tissue can lead to its sagging. Alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in the levels of circulating estrogen which increases the risk of breast cancer either directly or through its action on the estrogen receptors.

8. Monthly self-breast examination

Breast cancer is second only to skin melanoma among the cancers afflicting women. It is also the leading cause of death in women. According to the American Cancer Society, almost 93% women suffering from breast cancer can survive for more than five years after diagnosis, if their cancer is detected at an early stage. A monthly breast self- exam (BSE) is recommended for every woman above the age of 20 as it is believed to be a low cost cancer screening technique. While doing BSE, a woman should look out for changes on the skin of the breast, dimpling of the breast tissue, rash on the nipple, its retraction or presence of any abnormal discharge.

9. Annual examination of the breasts by a qualified doctor

Apart from self-examination, every woman should subject herself to annual examination of breasts by a doctor, nurse or a certified nurse midwife. They can check the breast tissue and the surrounding areas including the axillary lymph nodes for any sign of breast disease or tumor.

10. Annual mammography after the age of forty

Mammography is a low dose radiation technique meant to detect the presence of any abnormal growth of the breast tissue. It is a very sensitive method and can catch cancers at a very early stage, even before they can be palpated manually. This technique is especially important in women with dense breast tissue where detecting a tumor by palpation is not very easy.

Following these simple tips can ensure that your breasts remain in good health.

  • “The Effect of Breastfeeding on Breast Aesthetics”, by Brian Rinker, et al, published in the September 2008 issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, accessed on August 1, 2012.
  • “Epidemiology and Pathophysiology of Alcohol and Breast Cancer: Update 2012”, by Helmut K. Seitz, et al, published on March 29, 2012 in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, accessed on August 1, 2012.
  • “Bouncing breasts: a credible area of scientific research”, by Dr. Joanna Scurr, published in the September 2007 issue of The Sport and Exercise Scientist, accessed on August 1, 2012.
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  • “Lifetime Recreational Exercise Activity and Breast Cancer Risk Among Black Women and White Women”, by Leslie Bernstein, et al, published on 16 November, 2005 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, accessed on August 1, 2012.