A healthy lifestyle should be everyone’s first priority, but living in a healthy manner can be difficult at times. But, in order to achieve the best sense of wellness, a healthy diet and exercise plan is necessary.
For a woman, breast health is one of the primary concerns. Breast cancer is one of the most common killers in women.Even though breast cancer can occur in men, it is prevalent mostly with women. Therefore, women everywhere are educating themselves as to breast health and awareness.
There are many different strategies and practices for women to follow during all different stages of their lives.
First, it is important to understand the various changes your breasts experience throughout the different life stages.
The Normal Breast Changes
It is significant to note that our breasts are constantly changing and developing in size. This is mostly due to the fact that our breasts consist of mostly fatty tissue. Whenever we gain or lose weight, our breasts will be affected in shape or size.
Usually this change affects both breasts equally. However, it will become a red flag if only one breast has some unique changes.
- Ah, It Begins
Up until puberty, the breasts are not developed at all. At the onset of puberty, however, the breasts begin to enlarge.The areolae, or nipples, begin to grow once the breast growth has started. These breast changes all occur before menstruation ever begins.
During puberty, and during all bouts of menstruation, it is normal for the breasts to become swollen, tender and be rather lumpy.
- Upon The Arrival Of Your Little One
Once menstruation begins, there is not much variation in the changes to the breasts. Just before menstruation begins, many women feel sore and tender. They may also notice some slight swelling, but these symptoms don’t last long. Major, lasting changes don’t really happen until you become pregnant, though.
Many of the changes your breasts endure during pregnancy are similar to menstruation, such as tenderness and swelling. Nevertheless, other changes include the areolae enlarging even more and the breasts increasing by approximately one third of their respective size.
- Last But Not Least
Yes, the inevitable change that causes most women to tremble in fear or dread is menopause, or “the change of life.”
Menopause is the last life stage that women experience that affects breast health.
During menopause, the mammary glands within the breast become smaller. The breast tissue loses strength and elasticity, and the breasts themselves begin to sag as a result. The skin around the breasts might also become wrinkly as a result of the weakened ligaments.
The Not-So Normal Changes
Let’s discuss some abnormal changes, so that it is easy to differentiate them from the normal changes we have discussed above. If you notice any of these things, you need to see a doctor as soon as you can for diagnosis and treatment:
- Unusual Lumps
You can spot abnormal lumps usually near your breasts, particularly under the arm near the lymph nodes.
Most lumps are benign; however, it is still essential to point them out to your doctor. If you find a lump, feel the other breast around the same area for any lumps. The symmetry will most likely be an indicator of a normal nodule in the breasts.
- Irregular Firmness
You should note any noticeable thickness or firmness in or around your breasts or under your arms. Make sure to be able to describe when this firmness or thickness occurs, whether it is revolving around your menstruation cycles, or if it is consistent.
Also pay attention to the size and shape of your breasts. Any changes in size or shape that are particular to one breast will be a red flag to bring up to your doctor right away.
- Areolae Changes
As grotesque as it sounds, there might be fluid seeping from your nipples. If you are breastfeeding, then this might not seem abnormal.
However, anytime that the discharge is not breast milk, you should take note and make a doctor’s appointment as quickly as possible.
t is probable that you may notice a bloody discharge coming from one of your nipples. Also, some women notice that their nipples change in the direction they point. It is imperative that you not only pay attention to your breasts, but your nipples, as well.
- Any Skin Changes
Anytime the skin becomes itchy, flaky, red, dimpled or puckered, then this is highly abnormal and you should seek a professional opinion.
If you ever notice any of these changes, then you should seek attention from your medical professional as soon as possible. In addition to consulting your physician, here is our list of other things you can do to achieve optimal breast health.
6 Strategies For Breast Health At Every Stage In A Woman’s Life
1. Self-Breast Exams
You may perform self-breast exams as regularly as you prefer in the privacy of your own home.
This is one of the best ways to detect most early stages of cancer, and with this early detection comes a higher chance of treatment success.
Breast cancer is detected by self-breast exams in approximately 20 percent of all reported cases of breast cancer. Experts claim that while self-breast exams might make you uncomfortable, you should perform them at least once a month on a regular basis. Once you familiarize yourself with how your breasts are supposed to feel, you will be able to detect any abnormal changes easier.
The best time to examine yourself is after your menstrual cycle ends. During this time, your breasts are least likely to be swollen and tender. If you no longer have periods, then choose a day that is easy for you to remember. For example, always perform your self-breast exam on the first of the month.
2. Be Cautious Of Mammograms
As ironic as it might seem, many doctors are beginning to theorize that mammograms, when performed in excess, are actually harmful to a woman’s breasts.
The amount of ionizing radiation that are exposed to from mammograms actually increases a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer.
Of course, mammograms are a vital part of an aging woman’s regular exams, but sticking to the recommended age group and consistency is important. There are other ways to keep cancer at bay. A mammogram twice every year is not necessary.
3. Make Sure You Are Moving
Exercise, at any age, is a beneficial way to promote breast health, in addition to overall well-being. Women who are active drastically reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.
It is vital to note, however, that exercise alone is not enough to make this chance great. Instead, women should pair exercise with a healthy diet and positive life choices for optimal results.
Another reason why exercise is effective when looking to prevent breast cancer is because excessive weight gain allows for a high risk factor of cancer. Obesity correlates with cancer, especially breast cancer.
One of the best ways to ensure that you will include regular exercise in your daily routine is to find an activity that you enjoy doing. Perhaps you love swimming or hiking, or maybe just walking your dog is fun for you.
Stick to the activities that you love doing, and you will be more likely to become active. Forcing yourself to go to the gym or run many miles will only cause sore muscles and exhaustion.
4. Style Your Diet Plan
Exercise and diet paired together can make numerous positive changes to your overall well-being.
Antioxidants, fiber and phytonutrients have cancer-fighting abilities. Eliminating foods and drinks that add to your waistline will help you and your breasts become healthier.
The best way to include more beneficial nutrients into your diet is to make a conscious effort to eat more plants. No, leave the hibiscus in the corner alone and opt for the leafy greens. spinach, kale and other vegetables are excellent additions to your diet. Also, fish, olive oil and many fruits can help you reach a healthier lifestyle.
5. Also Catch Some ZzZzs
Diet and exercise alone will not do much if you are not receiving the adequate amount of sleep.
The average adult requires eight hours of sleep every single night. The theory that you can catch up on sleep is not true.
Those who work the night shift, those who don’t sleep much, or those who fall into another category that disturbs their natural circadian rhythm are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
6. Breastfeed Ahoy, Ladies
Many women assume that breastfeeding will ruin their breasts and cause them to sag. Well, the exact opposite is true. Breastfeeding is actually quite healthy for your boobs, and it can lower your chances of developing breast cancer.
Not only is breastfeeding healthy for your baby, but it is also healthy for you, as well. During lactation, the body experiences enormous hormonal changes. These changes reduce a woman’s exposure to estrogen, which has a tendency to promote cancerous cells.
In recent studies, women who breastfed longer than the recommended six months were at a much less risk of developing cancer as compared to those who kept the breastfeeding to a six month maximum. The studies also indicated that breastfeeding can also lessen the chances of other cancers as well, such as ovarian cancer.
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