How can I make my breasts look balanced?

Dear Dr Mitchell,

My breasts are different in size and shape. Is this normal? They have always been a bit off, but got worse after I had my baby a year ago. One is very full, and the other looks like a fried egg. I stopped breastfeeding months ago, and yes, the baby favoured the smaller side. What can I do, apart from surgery, to get more symmetrical breasts? Can a birth control method like the pill help?

The change in size of your breasts after pregnancy and breastfeeding is a common complaint. The fatty tissue and other supporting connective tissue may shift and the breast may not return to the pre-breastfeeding size or shape. In some women the breasts may stay large and in others the breast may shrink.

One breast can also be bigger than the other after breastfeeding. This asymmetry is present throughout the human body and is perfectly normal. Most women will naturally have more milk ducts and alveoli in one breast than in the other. The left breast usually has more functioning milk ducts than the right one does and tends to be bigger in size.

You can do exercises to increase the smaller breast. Resistance training and other exercises to build the layers of muscles of the chest wall pectoralis major and minor, which support the fatty tissue in the breasts, can be done. This will create a muscular lift for the smaller side.

You can do chest exercises with a single dumb-bell that is very light, lying on a flat bench; you should use a two-to-five-pound dumb-bell. You should be on your back on the bench, put your feet flat on the bench with your knees bent, and draw your lower abdominal muscles in towards the spine to protect the lower back throughout the exercise. If the left breast is smaller, hold the dumb-bell in your left hand. Put the right palm on the centre of the sternum, bring your left arm to the left side while bending it at the elbow to form a 90-degree angle. Keep the left wrist straight and the dumbbell parallel to the floor. Extend the arm to almost straight before the flexing elbow and lowering the arm down. Do three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.

There are other exercises that you can do to build the chest wall muscles of the smaller breast. You should consult your doctor before doing the exercises.

You can do surgery to remove some of the fatty tissues in the larger breast or you can actually increase the size of the smaller breast by doing a fat graft. This uses your own natural fatty tissues from another area of the body and transfers it into the breasts.

You can also camouflage uneven breasts by wearing loose and comfortable clothing. Scarves are also a great way to look fabulous and cover up uneven breasts with little or no effort. Wearing a padded cup bra that is fitted to the larger size breast will also help to even out the difference in the size of the breasts.

It is important to ensure that both breasts have no abnormal lumps or thickening by doing regular self-examinations and also having your doctor examine the breasts. Any abnormality should be further investigated by a mammogram with a breast ultrasound and breast MRI.

Consult your doctor who will advise your further.

Dr Sharmaine Mitchell is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Send questions via e-mail to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com; write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5 or fax to 876-968-2025. All responses are published. Dr Mitchell cannot provide personal responses.

DISCLAIMER:

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to medical advice or treatment from your own doctor.

Dr Sharmaine Mitchell

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login

HOUSE RULES

  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy